Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
Dumfries and Galloway have had a turbulent and romantic past,
leading to their lasting memorial in literature. Annie Laurie, Walter Scott's
Redgauntlet, Buchan's 39 Steps all follow through this countryside.
On the Solway Firth the tide comes in faster than a galloping
horse (or faster than your car on the soft sand!), but the smugglers and pirates
of old are now long gone. Inland the wild desolate Glenkins is a land of jagged
hills, lochs and waterfalls.
Ruined castles and churches stand in memorial to both the turbulent
and the peaceful past. Today the land is peaceful and tranquil, with the native
Galloway cattle to be seen in the fields
There are regular car ferries leaving Stranraer for Northern
- Mull of Galloway
- The southern tip of Scotland. On a clear day you can see
Ireland and the isle of Man from this 210 foot high headland. There is a lighthouse
here, with steps down to a foghorn on the side of the cliff
- 16 miles south of Newton Stewart, Whithorn is one of the
oldest Christian centres in Britain. Founded by St Ninian, his shrine was
a place of pilgrimage. Robert Bruce, James IV and Mary Queen of Scotts all
made pilgrimages here, until they were make illegal in 1581. There are a host
of exhibits ranging from the 5th century Latinus Stone, early Christian graves,
a Viking house, the ruins of the 12th century Whithorn Abbey.
- Bruce's Stone
- In the hills twelve miles north east of Newton Stewart, a
boulder was placed here in 1929 to mark the spot that Robert Bruce defeated
a larger English army by rolling giant rocks down on them in the Battle of
Glentrool in 1327.
- Sandyhills/Rockcliffe/Kippford Coast Walk
- The National Trust for Scotland own the Jubilee Path that
wends between these villages on the Solway coast south west of Dumfries. Sandyhill
and Rockcliffe are small Victorian bathing resorts, Kippford an old smuggling
village. There are wonderful views out to sea, and the path passes Mark of
Mote, a 100 foot high granite outcrop, with a Dark Age settlement on top.
- Caerlaverock Castle
- The ruins of the 13th century castle look out over the salt
marshes eight miles south of Dumfries. The castle was often besieged during
the border wars, but it took gunpowder and the Civil War to reduce it to ruins
in 1640. The salt marshes around it are the winter home of the entire Spitzbergen
population of Barnacle Geese, as well as many other birds
- Gretna Green
- Associated with instant marriages for those wanting to avoid
the delays that occurred in the English system. Greta Green was the first
village on the road north from England. The village blacksmith performed the
ceremony. An Act of Parliament in 1940 put an end to these easy marriages.