I CAN still remember the first time I tasted Cream o’ Galloway ice-cream. It was love at first slurp, so when we found ourselves in the south west of Scotland there was one place on top of my visiting wish list; the farm where this creamy cold nectar is produced.
Of course the family who run Finlay’s Farm know that it takes more than a huge vat of churning milk to entice people to visit, so they have come up with all sorts of activities to keep children of all ages entertained, as well as a cafe selling soups, burgers, a selection of cheesy delights and, of course, ice-cream.
We arrived with a bit of time to spare before our stomachs started rumbling so all four of us clambered into go karts and hurtled around the tracks. Well, the other three hurtled while I managed to crash into a fence and then had to ignominiously shove my kart up a hill at the same time as being overtaken by a five-year-old.
Legs exhausted it was then time to try the adventure trail which had wobbly bridges, scrambling nets and a 50ft tower with incredible views out to sea and the Isle of Man.
In the Burger Barn there was a soft play area for children under six, called Smugglers’ Warren. If there hadn’t been so many youngsters crawling around I’m sure my two would have tried to sneak in.
There are various other things to do including visiting lambs and taking a daily farm and creamery tour. We opted for the ice-cream tasting session just after lunch. About 15 of us sat in a room while the very jolly Wendy explained in detail how the ice-cream was made and the very exacting business of coming up with new flavours. Apparently, she claimed, it took many tasting sessions to get the right single malt to be used in the Cranachan flavour. The flavours are, as far as possible, fairtrade and organic and many are inspired by pudding favourites. We were given nine different samples of ice-cream to taste, which included Sticky Toffee, Strawberry and Cream as well as Gingerbread. In addition we also had a sample of the newly introduced Red Berry sorbet.
With around 70,000 visitors a year, the folk at Cream o’ Galloway are certainly doing something right. It seems a mix of activity, agricultural education and big scoops of ice-cream could be the equation for a perfect family day out.
Cream o’ Galloway is near Gatehouse of Fleet, off the A75. An all day ticket with unlimited access to activities (except bike hire) is £10 per head, for more information, see www.creamogalloway.co.uk