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Balcary Bay

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Balcary Bay is situated in Dumfries and Galloway southwest Scotland, 64 miles east of Stranraer, 23 miles southwest of Dumfries, 9 miles south of Dalbeattie, 2 miles off the main A711 road at the village of Auchencairn.

The bay is in the Auchencairn Country Estate with a 20 room Mansion, and Balcary Tower at the headland, both private.

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Also in the estate, by the bay, is the Balacary Bay Country House Hotel, mainly used by hotel guests and visitors to the restaurant or conservatory cocktail bar. The road is private past the hotel out towards the mansoin and tower.

Area History

1200s - Hestan Island was owned by Dundrennan Abbey with the monks using the area for trapping fish. The Abbey is situted about 6 miles southwest.

The island can be reached via a cuasway at low tide.

1342 - Edward Balliol, King of Scotland for a short period, built a manor house on the island with the ruins still visible.

1625 - a shipping firm had a house built overlooking Balcary Bay, with this house later being converted to the Balcary Bay Country Hotel.

1750s - smuggling in the area became popular to avoid paying taxes on imported goods, with caves on Hestan Island used by smugglers.

1700s late or early 1800s - Auchencairn Mansion House was built to replace an earlier house in this estate.

1840s - copper mines were opened on Hestan Island.

1850 - a lighthouse was built on Hestan Island with a cottage for the lighthouse keeper.

1860 - the three-storey Balcary Tower was built for the French mistress of Colonel Johnstone when he was laird of Auchencairn House.

1900s late - the lighthouse was automated, nobody has lived on the island since, the lighthouse cottage remains.

2011 - Balcary Tower was put up for sale for around £850,000.

2013 - Auchencairn Mansion House was put up for sale for around £1.3 million.

Today - Balcary Country House Hotel serves as a hotel and restaurant.

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