Category Archives: Dumfries and Galloway

Battle of Glen Trool


The Battle of Glen Trool was a minor engagement in the Scottish Wars of Independence, fought in April 1307. Glen Trool is a narrow glen in the Southern Uplands of Galloway. Loch Trool is aligned on an east-west axis and is flanked on both sides by steep rising hills, making it ideal for an ambush. The battlefield is currently under research to be inventoried and protected by Historic Scotland under the Scottish Historical Environment Policy of 2009.

Robert Bruce had been involved in the murder of John “the Red” Comyn, a leading rival, and one of the most powerful men in Scotland, the previous year 1306. This led to a bitter civil war between the Bruce’s faction and the Comyns and their allies, notably Edward I.

Bruce’s Stone is a large granite boulder commemorating Bruce’s victory in 1307. It is at the top of the hill on the north side of Loch Trool. In 1929 on the 600th anniversary of Bruce’s death, it was placed high above the northern shore of Loch Trool from where legend has it that he had commanded the ambush which took place on the Steps of Trool on the other side of the loch. It also serves as a starting spot for the challenging walk up Merrick (2764 feet), the highest mountain in southern Scotland.

IN LOYAL REMEMBRANCE
OF
ROBERT THE BRUCE
KING OF SCOTS
WHOSE VICTORY IN THIS
GLEN OVER AN ENGLISH
FORCE IN MARCH 1307
OPENED THE CAMPAIGN OF
INDEPENDENCE WHICH HE
BROUGHT TO A DECISIVE
CLOSE AT BANNOCKBURN
ON 24th JUNE 1314.

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Logan Botanic Garden

logan botanic garden
logan botanic garden
Logan Botanic Garden is Scotland’s Most Exotic Garden and welcomes nearly 25,000 visitors each year, having increased by over 10% in the past two years. Logan is not just a garden but hosts a wide range of events for people seeking a high quality visitor experience.

Logan plays a vital role as a tourist destination attraction in Dumfries & Galloway, being the only garden in Scotland to hold both acclaimed 5* status along with a gold award from the Green Business Tourism Award. Scotland’s Most Exotic Garden also reached the finals in the Dumfries & Galloway Life Awards 2015 – “Tourism Champion” category.

Logan’s profile has been enhanced by recent appearances on BBC Radio 4’s Question Time, Daybreak TV and ITV’s Border Life together with newspaper and magazine coverage. In summer 2015 Logan featured on BBC2’s Gardeners’ World and was viewed by over four million people.

The Garden is continually evolving and developing. In 2014 the new conservatory was built housing a rarely seen collection of South African plants. This is UK’s first “Green” public conservatory powered solely by Air Source heat pumps and solar power.

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Striding Arches

Striding Arches
Striding Arches
Striding Arches is a hugely innovative artist-led project which celebrates and interprets a little known area of Dumfries & Galloway in south-west Scotland. Andy Goldsworthy’s red sandstone arches ‘stride’ around the natural amphitheatre that is Cairnhead, deep in the Southern Uplands. In the heart of the glen, another arch springs from a disused farm building, The Byre, creating a place that is both sculpture and shelter.

Poet and artist Alec Finlay and letter carver Pip Hall have both visited Cairnhead, and have produced diverse interpretive work related to the natural history and the human history of the place.

Cairnhead Community Forest Trust was set up because Forestry Commission Scotland wanted to encourage the public to use and benefit from the forest here. Andy Goldsworthy, who has lived locally for over twenty years, had been searching for the right home for a series of arches on hilltops. A unique partnership was the result, and in 2002 work and planning began involving the local community and a broad array of both local and national organisations. The outcome is a powerful and sensitive meeting of art and nature, amply satisfying one of the project’s own aims – to create a sense of place – and offering the visitor to this beautiful and unspoilt part of Britain a world-class experience.

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Ellisland Farm

Ellisland Farm
Ellisland Farm
Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Bard and the Poet of Humanity, spent three of the most fruitful years of his short life at Ellisland Farm, Dumfries.
Robert Burns took up the lease of the farm at Whitsun 1788 but did not begin farming till 11th June that year. Thither he brought his wife Jean Armour, and his two year-old son Robert the following December.

Sons Francis Wallace and William Nicol were born at Ellisland Farm, and their half-sister Betty (fathered by the poet on Helen Anne Park of Dumfries) spent the first months of her life there too.

The stony, infertile, poorly dressed and badly drained ground of Ellisland Farm turned out to be a ruinous bargain for Robert Burns who switched from arable farming to dairying and then decided to give up the land altogether as his career in the Excise looked more promising. At Martinmas (11th November) 1791 the Burns family left Ellisland Farm and moved into the town of Dumfries six miles away.

The farm extends to 170 acres. It had an orchard and Robert Burns had 9 or 10 cows, including 3 fine Ayrshire cows; 4 horses and some sheep. The Ayrshire dairying system was introduced and cheese including ewe-milk cheese was made. Crops such as oats were grown, but while it seems a large farm it was ill-drained as well as hungry and soft of lime. Dykes had to be built, the farmhouse was under construction and everything required manual labour. The output of such a farm is very limited compared with present levels. Keeping cattle over the winter without silage, modern types of turnips, large stores of straw or hay was a major problem which limited herd size. Even the hens would have had a hard time in the winter.

Robert Burns described Ellisland Farm as “the poet’s choice” of the farms he was offered by Patrick Miller, his landlord. What he meant was literally that here he could find inspiration whereas he felt the other farms lacked soul.

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Drumlanrig Castle

Drumlanrig Castle
Drumlanrig Castle
Immerse yourself in history at majestic Drumlanrig Castle. The finely hewn red sandstone that gives the ‘Pink Palace’ its affectionate name, adds to the beauty of what is regarded as one of the finest examples of 17th Century Renaissance architecture in Scotland. As you stand beneath the Castle’s imposing façade you’ll take in the same breathtaking views across the Nith Valley that convinced the first Duke of Queensberry to build his ancestral home here.

And if you think it’s beautiful on the outside, wait until you see what’s waiting for you inside. The grand reception rooms, magnificent staircases, ornate period features and cosy parlours give you an intimate taste of life through the centuries. The exquisite rooms themselves are home to stunning paintings, tapestries and objects d’art and many pieces from the internationally acclaimed Buccleuch Art Collection.

The Dumfriesshire seat of the Douglas Family for generations, the Castle is yours to explore on a fascinating guided tour led by experts who are as passionate about art and history as they are about architecture and culture.

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Marrbury Smokehouse

Marrbury Smokehouse
Marrbury Smokehouse
The Marrbury Smokehouse shop and bistro at Carsluith Castle are a haven for food lovers, so much so that a trip to Scotland would not be complete without a visit to the Marrbury Smokehouse retail premises at Carsluith Castle.
Here, you can buy your very own taste of luxury at ‘direct from the smokehouse’ prices. Perhaps you are self-catering in the region and wish to stock up on some fine local produce or maybe you want to take a taste of Galloway home for yourself or friends. Either way, you are sure to find a warm welcome and a range of mouthwatering treats from wild smoked salmon (which comes from our own net & coble salmon fishings) to delicacies such as smoked peppered duck breast or smoked Kirkcudbright scallops through to a range of smoked cheeses, chicken, organic sausages and venison.

And, if you can’t make it to Carsluith Castle, you can still enjoy the fabulous range of exceptional Marrbury produce by ordering online.

Our speciality café / bistro serves ‘out of the ordinary’ luxury light bites, so be prepared for something quite unique.
Our menu changes according to season, but, of course, at all times features dishes prepared from Marrbury Smoked Foods.

In summer, you will find delicious sandwiches and wraps with freshly prepared home deli salads as well as our amazing “Smoked N’Battered” “posh chip shop” style menu. We have amazing brunches such as smoked salmon eggs benedict, as well as simple toasties such as smoked chicken with smoked cheddar in light mayo.

OPEN SEVEN DAYS 01671 820476 Please note – in winter we try to remain open seven days, but as we are in a tourist region – we can often operate on a skeleton staff basis in winter. If you are in a hurry, please inform staff on arrival and he/she will do their best to have your order ready promptly.

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Threave Castle

Threave Castle
Threave Castle
Threave Castle is situated on an island in the River Dee, in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. It was the home of ‘Black’ Douglas Earls of Douglas from the late 14th century until their fall in 1455.

Threave Castle was built in the 1370s by Archibald Douglas, “the Grim”, later the third Earl of Douglas, soon after he was created Lord of Galloway in 1369. A small collection of buildings was built around the main keep, including a hall and chapel. Threave Castle became Archibald’s stronghold and he died there in 1400. His son Archibald married Princess Margaret, daughter of Robert III of Scotland.

Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, was appointed Regent to the infant King James II in 1437. Archibald died in 1439 and in the ensuing power struggle his 16-year-old son William was murdered at Edinburgh Castle, in 1440. Threave passed, with the Lordship of Galloway, to his sister Margaret, the “Fair Maid of Galloway”.

William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas married Margaret, his cousin, in order to retrieve Galloway for the Douglases. He began a series of improvements to the Castle’s fortifications in 1447, demolishing the earlier outbuildings and constructing a defensive wall along the river bank closest to the keep. In 1452 Patrick Maclellan of Bombie was imprisoned and murdered by the 8th Earl, against the order of James II. The deed was reciprocated the same year, when James II murdered William Douglas at Stirling Castle.

William’s brother James Douglas, now 9th Earl, hastily continued the additions to Threave, building a curtain wall with three corner towers and a gatehouse, as well as an outer ditch and an earth rampart to the north of the keep. After his brother’s murder, he intrigued with the English court, receiving money from Henry VI’s government for the works. The 9th Earl’s uprising was defeated at the Battle of Arkinholm near Langholm and his strongholds were systematically besieged. Threave Castle was subject to a two-month siege in 1455. The castle survived the attack and only succumbed when the garrison was bribed and promised safe conduct.

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Burns Cottage

Burns Cottage
Burns Cottage

Burns Cottage: birthplace of Robert Burns, built in 1757 by the poet’s father. It has been restored to appear as it would have done in the 1700’s with a sparsely furnished interior. The simplicity of the cottage gives you an understanding of the scale of the poet’s achievements that he rose from such humble beginnings.

The cottage has had a number of uses, including a spell as a pub, run by a Mr Goudie from Riccarton who saw the opportunity to exploit Burns’s developing reputation. At first therefore the cottage was not greatly valued. The Suffragettes recognised its importance, having once endeavoured to set the cottage alight.

In 1818, the English poet John Keats took a trip to Scotland to visit the home, years after Burns’ death in 1796. Before Keats arrived, he wrote to a friend that “one of the pleasantest means of annulling self is approaching such a shrine as the cottage of Burns — we need not think of his misery — that is all gone — bad luck to it — I shall look upon it all with unmixed pleasure.”
 

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Caerlaverock Castle

Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle is a moated triangular castle first built in the 13th century. It is located on the southern coast of Scotland, 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) south of Dumfries, on the edge of the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve. Caerlaverock was a stronghold of the Maxwell family from the 13th century until the 17th century when the castle was abandoned. It was besieged by the English during the Wars of Scottish Independence, and underwent several partial demolitions and reconstructions over the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 17th century, the Maxwells were created Earls of Nithsdale, and built a new lodging within the walls, described as among “the most ambitious early classical domestic architecture in Scotland”.

In 1640 the castle was besieged for the last time and was subsequently abandoned. Although demolished and rebuilt several times, the castle retains the distinctive triangular plan first laid out in the 13th century. Caerlaverock Castle was built to control trade in early times.

Today, the castle is in the care of Historic Scotland and is a popular tourist attraction. It is protected as a scheduled monument, and as a category A listed building.

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14 places you would never believe were in Scotland

1. France ?

Dunrobin Castle

This fairy-tale castle might look like a French château or, but it’s actually Dunrobin Castle, the seat of the Earl of Sutherland, in the Scottish Highlands. It owes its continental appearance to Sir Charles Barry, who extensively remodelled the castle and grounds in the early 1800s.

2. Rainforest ?

It might look Amazonian, but this pretty gorge is actually Puck’s Glen, near Dunoon, in the west of Scotland. The tumbling, rocky burn that runs through the glen is criss-crossed by pretty wooden bridges, giving it a Lord of the Rings-style charm.

3. Copenhagen?

Not quite. This is the Shore in Leith. Leith used to be a separate town but was merged with Edinburgh in 1920, even though Leithers voted 26,810 to 4,340 against the union. These days, it’s usually referred to as Edinburgh’s port.

4. Norway ?

Although the Northern Lights do put on some of their most spectacular displays over Scandinavia, the aurora is also visible in northern parts of the Scottish mainland as well as Shetland and Orkney, where the lights are known as the “merry dancers”.

5. The Caribbean ?

The white sands and turquoise sea of the Luskentyre peninsula might look like something you’d find in Antigua, but this beach is actually situated on the spectacular west coast of South Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

6. Sydney ?

This croissant-like building isn’t Sydney Opera House – it’s actually the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow. The SECC recently played host to a wide range of Commonwealth Games events. Eat your heart out, Australia.

7. Malta ?

The crenellated, palm-fringed battlements of Culzean Castle look exotic, but this particular fortress is based in South Ayrshire, not the Mediterranean.

8. Venezuela ?

This huge waterfall isn’t tumbling from a Central American plateau: it’s the 60-metre-high Mealt Falls on the Isle of Skye. The imposing cliffs in the background are Kilt Rock, a rocky outcrop with vertical basalt columns said to resemble a pleated kilt.

9. The Alps ?


This sunrise shot was actually taken from the summit of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles and a popular destination for climbers. The other peaks in view include Bidean nam Bian, a long ridge on the south side of Glen Coe. Its name means “pinnacle of the mountains”.

10. Vienna ?


These pretty red-and-white houses might look like the sort of picture postcard backdrop you’d find in Austria, but they’re actually Ramsay Garden, a block of private apartment buildings situated right next to Edinburgh Castle. They were built in 1733 by a poet and wigmaker called Allan Ramsay the Elder.

11. Italy ?


Almost. This is the Italian Chapel on Lamb Holm, a small uninhabited island in Orkney. It’s also refer-1407159469-6.jpgsoners’ Chapel, as it was built by Italian prisoners of war held on the island during World War II.

12. India ?


This is actually Logan Botanic Garden in Dumfries & Galloway, at the south-western tip of Scotland. The area is warmed by the Gulf Stream, making it the perfect place to cultivate southern-hemisphere plants.

13. Peru ?

It’s actually Glencoe, one of Scotland’s most famous and arresting locations. Like parts of the Andes, Glencoe was formed by an ancient super-volcano, which left a huge crater when it erupted in the Silurian period. It was carved into its current shape by glaciers during the last ice age.

14. Winterfell ?

It might look like a CGI set from Game of Thrones, but this is actually Dunnottar Castle, a ruined medieval fortress on a well-defended headland near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. Its Scottish Gaelic name is Dùn Fhoithear, or “fort on the shelving slope”.

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