Art Holiday Travel and Vacation information for Dumfriesshire
"DUMFRIESSHIRE, maritime Co., on S. border of Scotland; adjoins the cos. of Lanark, Peebles, and Selkirk on the N., and on the S. is washed by the Solway Firth; extends about 53 miles NW. and SE. between Ayrshire and Cumberland, and about 32 miles NE. and SW. between Roxburghshire and Kirkcudbrightshire; coast-line, about 20 miles; area, 680,217 ac., pop. 76,140, or 72 persons to each sq. mile. The surface in general is bare and hilly. The dales of the Nith, Annan, and Esk, however, are rich in beauty, and contain fine holms for pasture and some good arable land. The rivers are numerous, and yield splendid salmon and trout fishing. The coast and S. region is low and sandy; much of it is covered with morass, and lochs are numerous around Lockerbie ; but there is also much excellent corn-growing land. The Lowther or Lead Hills along the N. boundary are upwards of 2000 ft. in height, and abound in lead ore. These and the other hills round the borders are mostly smooth in outline, and afford excellent pasturage. Red sandstone is a prevailing rock, and limestone. coal, and lead, are worked."[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]
Tucked away in the South West corner of Scotland, between the Border with England and the Irish Sea, Dumfries and Galloway is easy to miss on your way North to Edinburgh and the Highlands. Yet here is all Scotland in miniature. Rolling, heather clad hills. Castles that bear witness to our bloody and romantic history. Pipers and dancers. Ancient traditions like the Riding of the Marches. And dozens of things to see and visit. You'll find friendly villages nestling by the sea or tucked away in the folds of the hills. In summer, every one is abloom with flowers and a warm welcome.
The great thing about the place is the pace. We have exactly one traffic light on the 130 kilometres of the main East-West road across Dumfries and Galloway. Things here tend to move at a slow relaxed rhythm.
Not that there aren't lot of things to do. We have 31 golf courses in spectacular settings. Five major fishing rivers with salmon and sea-trout and dozens of lochs with brown or stocked rainbow trout. We have walks around our coasts and over our hills (including the famous coast-to coast "Southern Upland Way"). We have cycle routes through beautiful scenery, where you may spy an otter or a golden eagle.
We have deer and wild goat stalking, pheasant, mixed game and wildfowling. Sailing and pony trekking. Castles, museums and gardens. And landscapes where you can wander all day without seeing a single human being.
Here in Dumfries and Galloway you'll find an outstanding range of attractions. Gardens and golf courses (31 of them in all). Castles and stately homes. Abbeys and churches - even an archaeological dig on the spot where Christianity was first brought to Scotland by St Ninian. Activities that range from pony trekking to falconry. Opportunities for walking, cycling, fishing, field sports, camping and caravanning. Museums and visitor centres. Guided tours and even a Tibetan monastery.
From the heights of the rugged Merrick in the Galloway Forest Park to the wetlands of the Threave Wildfowl Refuge overlooking the meandering River Dee near Castle Douglas, this region has a surprising variety of wildlife. The Wood of Cree is especially known for its woodland birdlife. Extensive coastal moorlands rich in birdlife also occur in Wigtownshire, while at its most south westerly point, the Mull of Galloway is colourful with its many species of coastal plants and seabirds. The mudflats and sandbanks of the Solway Firth are well represented in such reserves as Caerlaverock with its wintering barnacle geese.
The West - 4,000 years of history and sub tropical gardens.
Anyone interested in our cultural and religious past must visit Whithorn, where an archaeological dig has unearthed remains of Scotland's oldest Christian settlement. An award winning visitor centre explains the finds and helps you you to imagine how life must have been in those distant times. It was near here that St Ninian landed, bringing Christianity to Scotland. You can visit the cave where he sheltered and imagine the steady stream of pilgrims making their way to this, the last outpost of Christianity in North Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. Even older are the standing stones at Torhousekie, erected over 4,000 years ago and whose purpose remains a mystery.
Cabbage palms, tree ferns and other plants from the South Seas grow abundantly in the gardens of Galloway - thanks to to the warmth of the passing Gulf Stream. You can see them in profusion in Logan Botanic Gardens. And in Meadowsweet Herb Garden you can see a range of interesting herbs and medicinal plants. Other gardens open to the public are at Ardwell, Glenwhan, and Castle Kennedy.
Pretty little ports like Port William, Garlieston, Isle of Whithorn and Drummore, the most southerly village in Scotland, mark the tourist route around the Machars peninsula. Farthest West lies the charming holiday village of Portpatrick with its challenging golf course and comfortable hotels. The patron saint of Ireland was said to have crossed here in a single step. If you feel like stepping it out, the Southern Upland Way begins here - a 212 mile walk across Scotland - and there are many shorter strolls along picturesque clifftops with stunning views across to the Isle of Man and the Irish coast.