Wanlockhead Mining Village
Wanlockhead, hidden away in the bleak Lowther Hills up a narrow winding road indicated by a small sign on the A76 road to Dumfries, represents a slice of Scotland’s past search for riches. Standing 1541 feet above sea level the clusters of small white washed cottages interspersed with grander buildings owes its existence to lead, gold zinc, copper and silver found under the hills. The mines here produced some of the world's purest gold, at 22.8 carats - used in the Regalia of the Scottish Crown.
The age of mining has finished but the evocative Museum of Lead Mining gives an insight into the lives of the miners and their families who came to this remote spot. The visitor centre is where the tour starts. Here you see a collection of minerals from the area, mining artifacts, and working models of mining machinery. This building also contains the gift shop and tearoom.
The Romans first exploited these mineral deposits. Although worked during the summer months from the 1200s, year-round production began from 1680 when the Duke of Buccleuch built a lead smelting plant and workers' cottages.
Gold and lead miners were free men, unlike coal miners, and this allowed them to move from mine to mine. Conditions were however hard everywhere. Boys as young as eight worked in the streams washing the lead ore in all-weather conditions. By the age of 12 boys worked in the cold, damp, dark mine, hauling out the ‘galena’ in small sledges. Many miners died of lead poisoning and as people began to realise how toxic the fumes from the smelters were the mine owner moved these away from the village. From 1901 until 1939 the highest railway in the country served the village.
The Lochnell mine is a hard-hat area and is a guided tour for safety reasons. In this well preserved mine you can see and hear how the miners toiled underground by the light of a candle with water dripping from the roof.
The miners’ cottages dating from the 1740s and 1890s offer a contrast between the two eras. A family to a room gave way to more comfortable accommodation. Wanlockhead's miners looked to their own cultural welfare. In 1756 the village opened a subscription library, which visitors can browse. It contains over 3000 rare books many gifted by ‘the great and the good’. The village curling club began in 1777 and there were also bowling, a drama group and a silver band.
Finally you can take the opportunity to pan, hoping to strike it rich, at the gold panning centre. Industrial relics such as a beam engine dating back to the 1700s feature in the village.
For those who like ghost stories there is the story of Jenny Miller who died in a blizzard and still wanders the hills.
The Lead Mining Museum is open daily from April to October, from 11am to 4.30pm (10am to 5pm in July and August). Entry is £7.75 for adults and £5.70 for concessions.
The magnificent 'Pink Palace' of Drumlanrig is one of the finest examples of late 17th century Renaissance architecture in Scotland. Built by William Douglas, the first Duke of Queensberry, it overlooks the breathtaking Nith Valley. Being only an hour’s drive away for me it called for a visit.
Set on the 80,000 acre Queensberry Estate the castle is one of the most rewarding and romantic of Scotland’s great houses. Externally, the house is built around a courtyard, with a circular tower in each corner. Internal wood panelling and carving are a notable feature and the rich oak staircase and balustrade represents one of the first of its kind in Scotland.
Drumlanrig and the Queensberry title passed to the Dukes of Buccleuch in 1810. They introduced a world famous collection of furniture and art, with works by Holbein, Rembrandt and Gainsborough. With its magnificent rooms and spectacular collections of silver, porcelain, French furniture and art including such treasures as Rembrandt’s ‘The Old Woman Reading’, ‘Madonna with the Yarnwinder’ by Leonardo Da Vinci and splendid tapestries the guided tour is a must. Grand reception rooms, magnificent staircases and ornate period features sit happily beside cosy parlours. Bonnie Prince Charlie visited while retreating north late in 1745, and visitors can view his bedroom.
Drumlanrig's 40 acres of gardens include great formal parterres, dells, rockeries and charming summer houses as well as many impressive trees and a collection of rare shrubs from China. Some of the Formal Garden designs, such as the Long Terrace Walk, the South Parterre and East Parterre, date back to the early 17th and 18th centuries. Restoration of others such as West Parterre (or Rose Garden), have introduced later designs. The imposing Victorian Glasshouse and historic Heather Houses remain popular visitor attractions. Modern-day additions range from the sprawling Woodland Garden to the Rhododendron Collection.
In the Stableyard you’ll find an informative Visitor Centre; bikes to hire; a menu of locally sourced produce at the Café as well as shops. These include the Castle Gift Shop selling unique gifts, original cards and Studios offering art and crafts direct from the studios and workshops of the artists and artisans themselves.
Also found in the Stableyard is the Scottish Cycle Museum. The Estate was once home to Kirkpatrick Macmillan, a local blacksmith who rode 60 miles to Glasgow on the first ever bicycle in 1839. Drumlanrig’s revamped museum boasts a replica of Macmillan’s pioneering invention as well as an interesting collection of over 70 bikes from across the decades.
As well as castle tours, beyond the house and gardens you can walk miles of clearly marked paths and off-road trails or spot the wealth of wildlife which live here in the sprawling countryside. The Estate is also home to an array of mountain bike trails to suit all levels. The high rainfall benefits tree growth of good quality softwood timber from conifers. There are 10 000 acres of forestry of a mixed range of age and species.
For the younger members of the family, an adventure playground with flying foxes, slides and climbing frames provide entertainment. The Buccleuch Ranger Service offers regular Landrover tours and ranger-led walks allowing visitors to get up close to the plentiful wildlife and native woodland while the Buccleuch Sporting team offers first-class fishing and clay pigeon shooting.
I wish I could say that no visit to Drumlanrig Castle would be complete without a trip to the castle tearoom, serving home baking using local produce, freshly brewed tea and coffee, cold drinks, light meals and home reared meat and Drumlanrig herbs. Unfortunately it has had such poor reviews that we chose to eat in the nearby town of Thornhill.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
With its moat, twin towered gatehouse and imposing battlements, Caerlaverock Castle, owned by the Maxwells, is the picture perfect image of the medieval stronghold. Surrounded by a double moat and hundreds of acres of flat marshy willow woods it controlled the southwest entrance to Scotland from England.
Building began in 1277. In 1300 Edward I of England with 87 knights and 3000 men supported by siege engines attacked the largely completed castle. At the time the castle had a garrison of a mere handful of men. The siege became famous through an epic French poem, which told:
'Caerlaverock was so strong a castle that it feared no siege before the King came there, for it would never have had to surrender, provided that it was well supplied, when the need arose, with men, engines and provisions. In shape it was like a shield, for it had but three sides round it, with a tower at each corner, but one of them was a double one, so high, so long, and so wide, that the gate was underneath it, well made and strong, with a drawbridge and a sufficiency of other defences. And it had good walls, and good ditches filled right up to the brim with water.’
The poem goes on to discuss the difficulties of even approaching the castle because of the sea and marshes.
The English kept the castle until 1312. Questions about the Maxwells' loyalty led Scottish forces to besiege it in 1356. The remains of the castle largely date back to the rebuilding that took place through the next 150 years. In 1544 it was the English turn to capture the castle.
Taking advantage of the peace offered by the union of the crowns of England and Scotland in 1603, Robert Maxwell, the First Earl of Nithsdale in 1634 built the magnificent Nithsdale Lodging inside the castle. A fine example of the classical style introduced during the Renaissance it fitted his status. Its ornate stonework dominates the east range interior of the castle.
The promise of peace was illusory, and wars of religion, doctrine and kingship broke out. In 1640 the Maxwells held the castle for King Charles I against a besieging army of Covenanters for 13 weeks before surrendering. Much permanent damage resulted.
This picture perfect castle is well worth visiting. It is a real castle that has endured many sieges and not the recent ornate type. You should start your tour with a walk around the moat. The destroyed southeast tower and most of the south curtain wall produces the effect of a life-size cutaway of the castle with most of the interior visible from the far side of the moat. Tackling it this way means that when you do enter the castle you already have an idea of its layout.
Dumfries is packed with history related to Rabbie Burns (or Robert Burns if you prefer to call him by that name). The following is copied from the following weblink.
If you click the weblink you can also see photos as well as the text pasted into this page.
"Robert Burns lived from 25 January 1759 to 21 July 1796. He is regarded as Scotland's national poet: an icon who has loomed large in Scottish culture and consciousness ever since his death at the early age of 37. Arguably his best known work is the song Auld Lang Syne: a long established feature of New Year celebrations in every corner of the world settled by the Scottish diaspora (which means, in effect, every corner of the world). You can browse and buy books about Burns in our Bookshop. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our
Robert Burns is known by a surprising variety of names and titles. Sometimes simply referred to as Burns or The Bard he is also known as Rabbie Burns; Robbie Burns; Scotland's favourite son; the Ploughman Poet; or the Bard of Ayrshire.
Burns was born in a cottage in Alloway in Ayrshire. He was the son of William Burnes, who was employed as a gardener by the Provost of Ayr but also tried his hand at farming. Burns started his education at John Murdoch's school in Alloway before going to school in Ayr, though family financial problems meant Burns had to leave school to work as a farm labourer. In practice much of his schooling seems to have come from his father.
In 1781 Burns went to work as a flax-dresser in Irvine, but he was soon out of work after an over-exuberant celebration of Hogmanay by the staff, including Burns, resulted in the works catching fire and being destroyed. He and his brother returned to farming near Mauchline.
But by now Burns had established the three loves of his life: wine, women, and song. The relationship with his first love, Nelly Kirkpatrick, produced a song entitled O, once I lov'd a bonnie lass, set to a traditional tune. Meanwhile he was busy fathering eight illegitimate children by five different women.
On 31 July 1786 Robert Burns published Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. This collection of verse contained many poems that were later to be regarded as classics. The success of Burns' first collection was one of the factors which led him to abandon plans to emigrate to Jamaica to become a bookkeeper on a plantation (in the process leaving one of his true loves, Mary Campbell, waiting for him in vain on the dockside at Greenock). It seems to have been with good reason that a poem Burns inscribed on the window of the Cross Keys Inn in Falkirk began: "Sound be his sleep and blythe his morn, That never did a lassie wrang."
Instead, Burns moved to Edinburgh. Here he was commissioned by publisher James Johnson to assist in the editing of a vast collection of Scottish folk songs, The Scots Musical Museum. This was published in five volumes over the course of sixteen years. In all some 150 of Burns' own songs were included, most notably Auld Lang Syne, based on a traditional folk song.
In 1788 Burns moved back to Ayrshire and married Jean Armour. The following year he took up an appointment as an Excise Officer in Dumfries to supplement the family income, and also rented a farm. Tam o' Shanter, which appeared in 1790, is possibly the best known and most enduring of his poems. Burns gave up farming in 1791 to concentrate on his writing and his Excise duties, though around this time he rejected offers of a post on the London-based Star newspaper; and declined to pursue the chance of becoming Professor of Agriculture at the University of Edinburgh.
As a major contributor to the definitive collections of Scottish songs then being assembled, Burns was becoming increasingly well known by the mid 1790s. Ironically, however, his heavy drinking and his unpopular support for the French Revolution was at the same time undermining some of his more locally based following (not to mention his health). Burns died of rheumatic fever on 21 July 1796, at the same time as his wife was giving birth to their ninth child. His growing fame and success at least afforded his widow and children a degree of comfort he had himself never quite attained.
How do you judge someone's success or their degree of their fame? Well if you take the number of statues erected as a reasonable indicator, then Robert Burns has probably done rather better than most sons of Scottish farmers. There are statues of him in places you might expect, like Dumfries, Kilmarnock, Aberdeen, Irvine and Glasgow. But it is more surprising to find them in Montreal, in Sydney, or even in London. And the town of Burns, in Allegany County, New York State, is named after him. Meanwhile the Burns National Heritage Park has been created in Alloway, museums dedicated to him exist in Kirkoswald, Tarbolton, Mauchline and Dumfries, and the Burns Mausoleum (also in Dumfries) remains an oft-visited attraction.
Meanwhile, every year on Burns' birthday, 25 January, Burns' Clubs across the globe gather at Burns' Suppers on Burns' Night and proclaim his Address to a Haggis before eating haggis. As a result, 25 January is generally regarded to be the second most celebrated birthday worldwide. Now that's fame!"
Scotland's Bard, Robert Burns' final resting place
Rober Burns died young. In his 37 years he published only 4 collections of his work, led a wild and wacky life, and wrote some of the wittiest, most romantic and insightful poetry of his time. He moved to the Dumfries are from his native Ayshire as an adult, and to Dumfries town in 1791.
He ended his days here, an ill man, in 1796, on the same day as his son, Maxwell was born. He was given a military funeral, and interrred at St Michael's cemetry, near his house. His body was relocated some 11 years later in the Burns mausoleum, in the same graveyard under the startling image of Burns being accosted by the poetic muse, a tribute to his life, that was paid for by public subscription.
His life is celebrated at home and throughout the Scottish diaspora on January 25th every year.
- Historical Travel
The following are all within easy reach of Dumfries if anything takes your interest
* Solway Coast ("Costa del Solway" in Spanish)
* Sweetheart Abbey in the village of New Abbey
* New Abbey Corn Mill Museum
* Criffel - a hill on the Solway Coast popular with hill walkers for it's magnificent views of the Southern Scottish coastline and across the Solway Firth to the Lake District of Cumbria. Not the highest hill in South West Scotland by a long way (for example Merrick and Broad Law are much higher as are many others) but still very worth a visit if hill walking is your thing.
* Threave Castle in Castle Douglas, home to the Douglas Clan of James Douglas who fought with Robert Bruce
* Moniaive conservation village
* Moffat and the views nearby of The Devil's Beef Tub, The Grey Mare's Tail waterfall and the road once allegedly described by Jimmy Saville as his favourite road (don't quote me on that as someone may have been on the wind up but the A708 from Moffat past the Grey Mare's Tail to St Mary's loch is certainly beautiful). For even better panorama take a circuit from Moffat going out the A708 and then turn left at the sign for Tweedsmuir to eventually come back into Moffat on the A701 past the Devil's Beef Tub
In 1935, the remains of the victims of the Lancaster murderer, Dr Buck Ruxton, were found in a stream near The Devil's Beef Tub. A landmark case in legal history, it was the first in which the murderer was successfully convicted using the type of highly sophisticated forensic techniques which are taken for granted in the 21st century. The bridge at the top is still used to this day - near the very top it is a switchback that is not quite wide enough for two vehicles to pass on.
* Mabie Forest
* Ae - shortest name of anywhere in Europe - in the beauty of the Annan valley and the Ae Forest
* Lochmaben with it's lochs popular with boaters and also it's history with Robert the Bruce
* Wanlockhead - Britain's highest village registered at 1531 feet above sea level and the Lead Mining Museum
* Caerlaverock Castle
* Drumlanrig Castle
* Kagyu Samye Ling was the first Tibetan Buddhist Centre to have been established in the West. It is a centre for wisdom and learning within the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It is in the picturesque village of Eskdalemuir in the Scottish Southern Uplands
* Ecclefechan - Thomas Carlyle's birthplace "The Arched House" is a tourist attraction and has been maintained by the National Trust for Scotland since 1936.
Ecclefechan lies at the foot of the large Roman Fort, Burnswark, which dominates the horizon with its flat top
* At Twynholm for motor sport enthusiasts there is the David Coulthard Museum
* Gretna Green and the Old Blacksmith's Shop famous the world over for runaway marriages
History in Dumfries
The following is from the weblink below (the weblink has photos as well as the text pasted into this page)
Some sections have been added in from elsewhere.
"Known, like its football club, as "Queen of the South", Dumfries is an ancient town with a long and turbulent history. Today it is by far the biggest town in south west Scotland, the administrative centre for Dumfries and Galloway, and the focus of a large rural hinterland.
Foundation and early years
Dumfries was founded as a Royal Burgh in 1186 on the east side of the lowest crossing point of the River Nith. The location was around a mile downstream from Lincluden Abbey but on the opposite bank of the Nith. The abbey ruins are on the site of the Bailey of the very early Lincluden Castle, as are those of the later Lincluden Tower. This religious house was founded circa. 1160 and was used for various purposes, until its abandonment around 1700. Lincluden Abbey and its grounds are now within the Dumfries urban conurbation boundary.
The land West of the Nith, Galloway, only securely became part of Scotland during Alexander II's reign in 1234: Dumfries was very much on the frontier during its first 50 years and it grew rapidly as a market town and port.
A royal castle, which no longer exists, was built in the 13th century on the site of the present Castledykes Park.
Robert the Bruce
Before becoming King of Scots, Robert the Bruce slew his rival the Red Comyn at Greyfriars Kirk in the town on 10 February 1306. His uncertainty about the fatality of his stabbing caused one of his followers, Roger de Kirkpatrick, to utter the famous, "I mak siccar" ("I make sure") and finish the Comyn off. Robert the Bruce was excommunicated as a result, less for the murder than for its location, but nonetheless went on to become King of Scotland. Today's Greyfriars Church was built in 1868, overlooking the site of the murder on the opposite side of Castle Street, marked by a plaque on a shop wall.
The first bridge over the Nith, Devorgilla Bridge, named after Devorgilla, the mother of King John Balliol, was built here in 1432. Rebuilt more than once and shortened from the east in the 19th century, this is still used by pedestrians and is one of Scotland's oldest standing bridges.
It was not from Galloway but from England that most of Dumfries' problems came during its first 500 years. English armies variously sacked, plundered or occupied the town in 1300, 1448, 1536, 1542, 1547, and 1570. It suffered again during the strife of the 1640s.
Witchcraft and executions
Not all of Dumfries' bloody reputation was externally inflicted. Nine women were burned to death for witchcraft in the town in 1659, and two centuries later in 1868, Dumfries was the site of Scotland's last public hanging.
Bonnie Prince Charlie and the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion
Opposite the fountain in Dumfries High Street, adjacent to the present Marks and Spencer, was the Commercial and later the County Hotel. Although the latter was demolished in the 1980s, the original facade of the building was kept. Room No. 6 of the hotel was known as Bonnie Prince Charlie's Room and appropriately carpeted in the Royal Stuart tartan. The Young Pretender had his headquarters here during a 3-day sojourn in Dumfries towards the end of 1745. £2,000 was demanded by the Prince, together with 1,000 pairs of brogues for his kilted Jacobite rebel army, which was camping in a field not one hundred yards distant. A rumour, however, that the Duke of Cumberland was approaching, made Bonnie Prince Charlie decide to leave with his army, with only £1,000 and 255 pairs of shoes having been handed over.
Today's Greyfriars Church overlooks the location of a statue of Robert Burns, sculpted in Italy in 1882. Burns spent the last years of his life in Dumfries, dying here in 1796. The statue is just one of a series of associations with Scotland's most famous poet to be found in the town. Heading south past the spectacular Mid Steeple on the High Street, once the town tolbooth and prison, you come to a tiny vennel leading to the Globe Inn, his favourite drinking place.
There is also Robert Burns' house at 24 Burns Street, South of the High Street, and his mausoleum in St Michael's Churchyard. On the West side of the River Nith is the Robert Burns Centre, housed in what was once the Dumfries Mill. Beyond it is Dumfries Museum built partly in a windmill later converted to a camera obscura. In the suburb of Summerhill the majority of streets are named with Burns connotations.
Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura (Deutsch)
Öffnungszeiten April-September Montag-Samstag 10 - 17, Sonntag 14 - 17
Oktober-März Dienstag-Samstag 10 - 13, 14 - 17
Camera Obscura Nur von April bis September geöffnet (je nach Wetter)
Eintritt Erwachsene £1.90 Ermäßigung: 95p
Die ursprüngliche Windmühle auf Corbelly Hill wurde um 1790 erbaut, wurde aber schon im Jahre 1830 durch die darunterliegende Wassermühle am Ufer des Nith unrentabel. Im Jahre 1834 schlug man seine Umwandlung vor und so wurde das Gebäude vom Abriß geschützt. In den beiden folgenden Jahren wurde die Windmühle umgebaut, und eine "Camera Obscura" - oder "Lochkamera" - und ein Teleskop gleichzeitig eingebaut. Man hatte gehofft, daß das Observatorium rechtzeitig für die Erscheinung des Halley’schen Kometen im Jahr 1835 fertig würde, aber der Bau des Teleskops verzögerte sich, so daß die Eröffnung schließlich erst im August 1836 stattfand.
Die Camera Obscura funktioniert nach dem Prinzip, daß Licht, das durch ein kleines Loch in einem abgedunkelten Raum auf eine Leinwand fällt, dort ein Abbild der Szene im Freien entstehen läßt. Die Camera Obscura wird heute noch benutzt und fasziniert die Zuschauer, die mit Fotographie, Filmen und Fernsehen vertraut sind, genauso wie das Publikum vor 160 Jahren, das zusah, wie Schiffe entladen und Baumstämme zu Flößen zusammengebunden wurden, und das das geschäftige Treiben auf den Vieh - und Pferdemärkten auf dem Uferplatz Whitesands beobachtete.
Von Anfang an sammelte die Astronomical Society Gegenstände, und im Jahre 1862 wurde die Haupthalle gebaut, um die Samlungen der neu gegründeten Dumfries and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society aufzunehem. Das Gebäude wurde im Jahre 1934 vom Stadtrat übernommen, und im Jahre 1975 fiel es unter die Zuständigkeit des Bezirksrats von Nithsdale. Die Sammlung des Museums befaßt sich jetzt mit dem Bezirk Dumfries and Galloway, und ein großer Teil des Materials wird im Jahre 1981 eröffnet wurde.
Das Museum hat eine bemerkenswerte Sammlung von Gegenständen aus allen historischen Perioden, angefangen von Steinäxten des Neolithicums und mittelalterlichen Dreifüßen bis hin zu medizinischen Geräten des 19. Jahrhunderts und dem ersten Pedalfahrrad der Welt. Die Sammlung umfaßt die meisten Aspekte von Handwerkszeugen und Branchen der Handwerke. Erwähnenswert sind hier die ausgestellten Werkzeuge zur Herstellung von Sätteln und zur Lederbearbeitung. Eine große Gallerie dient als Heimatmuseum. Themen dieser Ausstellung sind Entwicklungen der Stadt Dumfries und Umgebung seit mittelalterlichen Zeiten. Gemälde lokaler Szenen und Persönlichkeiten und Bürgern hängen an den Wänden der Gallerie. Hier hat man nicht nur die Gelegenheit eine der bedeudesten Sammlung historischer Landkarten zu sehen sondern auch eine einzigartige Gelegenheit eine umfassende Sammlung von Trachten, des Zeitraumes vom Ende des 18 Jahrhunderts bis zur Gegenwart, zu bewundern.
Die geologische Sammlung des Museums zeigt die vielen Bodenschätze des oberen Gebietes von Nithsdale, das jahrhundertelang das wichtigste Abbaugebiet Schottlands für Gold, Silber, Blei und Zink war. Auch einige Sandsteinplatten sind ausgestellt, die die Faßabdrücke urzeitlicher Reptilien zeigen, die unser Gebiet vor mehr als 210 Millionen Jahren bewohnten.
Vielfalt ist das Hauptmerkmal der Naturgeschichte des Bezirks Dumfries and Galloway. Er ist einer der ursprünglichsten Gegenden von Großbritanniens und hat eine breite Palette von Habitaten und Landschatften aufzuweisen. Das zeigt sich auch in den naturgeschichtlichen Ausstellungen des Museums, die viele schöne Exemplare aufzuweisen haben, darunter Vögel der Salzsümpfe von Solway, Gartenvögel und gewöhnliche britische Säugetiere.
Terrassenförmig angelegte Rasen und Blumenbeete bilden das Museumsgelände, auf dem auch eine Statue von Robert Paterson, Sir Walter Scott’s "Old Mortality" und seinem Pony stehen. Paterson war ein Steinmetz aus Balmaclellan, der in der Region herumreiste und Grabsteine für die namenlosen Gräber der Mitglieder der Covenantensekte, die im 17. Jahrhundert wegen ihres religiösen Glaubens verfolgt wurden, errichtete.
Theatre Royal - Oldest working theatre in Scotland
The Theatre Royal was built in 1792 and has been in use for most of this time as either a Theatre or a Cinema. The Guild of Players are dedicated to providing a venue for live theatre in Dumfries. They bought the Theatre Royal in 1959, thus saving it from demolition, and have run it successfully ever since. The Guild's aim is to promote the tradition of live theatre in Dumfries for the enjoyment of members and public alike.
BRIEF BACKGROUND OF THEATRE ROYAL
The Theatre Royal, Dumfries was built in 1792 and is the oldest working theatre in Scotland.
The theatre is owned by the Guild of Players who bought it in 1959, thereby saving it from demolition.
The Theatre is run on a voluntary basis by the members of the Guild of Players.
The Theatre is funded entirely by Guild membership subscriptions, and by Box Office receipts. It does not currently receive any grant-aid towards running costs.
The Guild's aim is to promote the tradition of live theatre in Dumfries for the enjoyment of members and the public alike
In recent years the Theatre has been re-roofed and the outside refurbished to restore it to its former glory
It is the venue for the Guild of Players' own productions and for performances from visiting companies. These include: Scottish Opera, TAG, the Borderline and 784.
In addition it is extensively used for Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, Dumfries Music Festival, the Dumfries Musical and Operatic Society.
The Guild of Players was founded as an amateur dramatic company in 1913. It has put on a season of plays for all but six of the 94 years since then. There were no productions between 1915 and 1919, and none in 1944.
Nowadays the Guild puts on a season of five plays (each running for a week) and a pantomime (running for a fortnight) every year. Every job, from directing the plays to serving the coffee in the intervals, is undertaken voluntarily by the Guild members. There are no paid staff in the Theatre.
The plays are open to the public but taking out membership of the Guild brings entitlement to priority ticket booking at half price. For those who wish to become actively involved there are jobs for all interests and age groups.
Supporting a lost cause
If you are at a loose end on a Saturday afternoon, you can visit Palmerston Park, the home of the local soccer team, Queen of the South. Phone to ask what time the match starts, and you'll be asked: What time can you get here? The team once had a bustling centre forward, Billy Houliston, who pulled a Scottish shirt over his head, scored twice in his first match for his country and was dropped two matches later. But that was more than half a century ago. Queens last appeared in the top division of Scottish soccer when the Beatles were appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show. People say that Manchester City fans come here to remind themselves that things really could be worse. If your interest in the game flags - as it most certainly will - you can always look over the fence at the Saturday afternoon shoppers manoeuvring their trolleys in the supermarket car park next door.
May 2008: Queens are in the Scottish Cup Final! A memorable 4-3 win against Aberdeen in the semifinal takes the little team from Dumfries to Hampden Park in Glasgow on 24 May.
Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum
The following is from http://www.dumfriesmuseum.demon.co.uk
Based in the control tower of R.A.F Tinwald Downs the museum has an extensive indoor display of memorabilia which strives to preserve aviation heritage, much of which has come various recovery activities. During the second world war, aerial navigation was taught at Dumfries also at Wigtown and nearby Annan was a fighter training unit. R.A.F Dumfries doubled as an important maintenance unit and aircraft storage unit. The museum is run by the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Group and is the only private aviation museum in Scotland, the museums has cosiderably increased in size in recent years making room for a new shop display area, picnic area etc. The control tower has been reroofed, the pathways given metalled surfaces and much other work has been done.
The following is from http://www.dumfriesaviationmuseum.com/
The restored Control Tower of the former WWII airfield at Dumfries, Scotland is the centrepiece of the Museum and is now a listed building. The Museum is run by volunteers and houses a large and ever expanding aircraft collection, aero engines and a very impressive display of artefacts and personal histories relating to aviation, past and present. Both civil and military are represented. There is also a small, but ever expanding collection of memorabilia honouring airborne forces, a new display representing aviation in Scotland and a mock-up of a WWII living room are now complete.
Aviation enthusiats may also be interested to know that nearby Moffat has a recreation park with a boating pond and a memorial to Air Chief Marshall Hugh Dowding, commander of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, who was born in Moffat in 1882.
Lincluden Collegiate Church
The following is from Wikipedia:-
"Lincluden Collegiate Church, known earlier as Lincluden Priory or Lincluden Abbey, is a ruined religious house, situated to the north of the Royal Burgh of Dumfries, Scotland. Situated in a bend of the Cluden Water, at its confluence with the River Nith, the ruins are on the site of the Bailey of the very early Lincluden Castle, as are those of the later Lincluden Tower. This religious house was founded circa. 1160 and was used for various purposes, until its abandonment around 1700.
The foundation of the priory is accredited to Uchtred who had co-ruled Galloway with his brother Gille Brigte. Uchtred did not have the benefit of the relative peace of his father's reign in Galloway. Fergus of Galloway had founded such establishments such as Soulseat Abbey, St Mary's Isle Priory, Dundrennan Abbey, the foundation at Kirkcudbright (Kirk of St. Cuthbert) and re-established the foundation at Whithorn, the historic community of St Ninian. Uchtred's focus of power was in Eastern Galloway, while his brother's was in the west, their reigns were marked by turbulent relationships between themselves, the Kings of Ailech, the King of Scots, William the Lyon, and the King of England, Henry II. Lincluden was the first and only monastic house that Uchtred would found, meeting his death at the hand of his brother in 1174.
Prior to the foundation of Lincluden, there had been only been houses of Monks in Galloway, Uchtred's new house was the first Nunnery within the Lordship. The first intake of religieuses, were probably Cluniac sisters from France or England, later being supplemented by local novices."
The following is from http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/dumfries/lincluden/index.html
"The story of Lincluden Collegiate Church begins in about 1160, when a priory of Benedictine nuns was formed here. At about the same time the now wooded motte to the south east was formed to support a small castle.
In 1389, Archibald, 3rd Earl of Douglas, better known as Archibald the Grim of Threave Castle, was granted permission by the Pope to replace the priory with a college of canons. The college took over the buildings of the priory, which comprised a priory church with a range of domestic buildings to its north.
Extensive building works to make Lincluden a much grander establishment were under way through most of the 1400s. Part of the renovation was to accommodate the spectacular tomb of Princess Margaret in a rebuilt choir after her death in 1450. She had been daughter of King Robert III and widow of the 4th Earl of Douglas.
It is thought that a lot of the finer rebuilding of Lincluden in the early 1400s was done by Paris-born John Morow, who also produced similar work at Melrose Abbey and Paisley Abbey.
The Reformation of 1560 inevitably brought change to Lincluden Collegiate Church, as it did to all religious communities across Scotland. Lincluden was attacked and badly damaged by Protestant reformers.
Repairs were quickly completed by William Douglas, the younger brother of the last Provost of the college, for the considerable sum of £3,000. This proved a sound investment when he was then granted the college and associated "mansion" (probably the rebuilt north range) by his brother. The sunken garden to the east and remodelling of the motte as a large garden ornament probably date back to around this time.
After passing through various hands the buildings of Lincluden Collegiate Church were abandoned by 1700, and then used as a quarry until 1882 when the laird stepped in to consolidate and tidy up the ruins. The church was later passed into State care and is now looked after by Historic Scotland.
The remains themselves can be confusing, and are best viewed from the motte to the south east. It is easy to start with an assumption that the church must have run, unusually, from north to south, given the trend of most of the stonework on view.
It didn't. This impression is given because most of the nave of the church has disappeared, leaving just the walls of the south transept and a neighbouring piece of the south wall of the nave containing the outline of two magnificent windows.
The walls of the choir are largely complete, and contain some fine examples of decorative stonework, some of it still remarkably crisp. Lady Margaret's tomb and the nearby door to the Sacristy are the highlights. To the north of the Choir are the remains of a range of domestic buildings, today comprising a series of vaulted ground floor rooms, some now roofless. At the far north end the stonework of a taller tower still remains, pointing raggedly to the sky."
"Lincluden Collegiate Church is signposted to the east of the A76 a little north of its junction with the A75 Dumfries bypass. It lies in a bend of the Cluden Water near its confluence with the River Nith, and on the eastern edge of the housing estate that today forms most of Lincluden itself. Parking arrangements are not obvious: you are probably best leaving your car near the Abbey Inn and walking along the narrow road beside it. This becomes a track leading past the gate in the metal railings surrounding the remains of the church, a couple of hundred yards from the Inn."
Further info is available from:-
Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura (in English)
With it's location on top of a small hill the museum also offers excellent views.
The following is from http://www.dumfriesmuseum.demon.co.uk/frames.html. See below for French & German.
A treasure house of the history of Southwest Scotland, Dumfries Museum is centered around the eighteenth century windmill which stands above the town. You will see fossil footprints left by prehistoric reptiles, the Wildlife of the Solway marshes, tools and weapons of the earliest peoples of the region, stone carvings of Scotland's first Christians and everyday things of the Victorian farm, workshop and home. On the topmost floor of the museum is the Camera Obscura this historic astronomical instrument gives fascinating panoramic views over the town, on clear days the range is many miles.
Dumfries Museum: Open All Year:
April to September: Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm
October to March: Tuesday to Saturday 10am-1pm 2pm-5pm
Camera Obscura: Open:
April to September: Monday to Saturday: 10am-5pm, Sunday: 2pm-5pm.
Adults: £1.90, Concession: 95p
Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura,The Observatory, Dumfries, DG27SW
Tel: (01387) 253374 Fax: (01387) 265081
or E mail:email@example.com
Walking (hillwalking & otherwise) around Dumfries
It seems like there are beautiful walks falling out of the sky around Dumfries.
For info on walking safely in the Galloway Hills see the following weblink for Galloway Mountain Rescue Team
The following is from http://www.walkscotland.plus.com/. For more detailed info on walking in South West Scotland this website is highly recommended
"The South West of Scotland tends to be ignored by most visitors to Scotland as they head north for the the classic tourist destinations - Loch Lomond, Loch Ness, Skye and the West Highlands in general.
For the people who live in the area and for the more discriminating visitor this general rush northwards is quite a blessing. We here are not afflicted by the more brash appendages of tourism, and the crowded roads that go with it. This is an area where you will find, mostly, ordinary people just getting on with their own lives in a quiet rural landscape where there is peace and space aplenty to savour the more subtle qualities of Scottish land and culture.
For the 'serious' walker there is a coast to coast walk across the whole width of southern Scotland called the "Southern Upland Way". As with tourism so with walking - the "West Highland Way" is where most 'serious' walkers rush to in Scotland. On the Southern Upland Way you would not expect to find yourself part of a long snaking line of people making their way across country like a mini refugee procession.
And this is surely the outstanding feature of walking in this area - you can easily get away from other people into some wonderful countryside of shoreline, hills and lochs, under a big ever-changing sky, with the peace to let it all penetrate into your soul. It is quite possible to spend a whole day walking and not meet another example of homo sapiens, though buzzards, ravens, falcons, eagles, ferrel goats, sheep, foxes, hares ...... Well the place belongs to them really doesn't it? We are privileged to be mere interlopers here and wonder at it all.
So while there is this national walkway through the area, and while there are popular routes along the coast or up onto the best known hills, like Criffel, Screel or Merrick, the real way to see this area is to 'walk on the wild side'. Right of access is pretty well unlimited in the wilder parts of the region (and there is plenty of that). So you can study the maps, work out a route to suit yourself and just head for the hills. This demands a totally different mind set from the 'serious' walker intent on 'bagging Munros' - where the object is to be able to say you have been to the top of every mountain in Scotland over three thousand feet.
There are no Munros south of Ben Lomond, so you won't be knee deep in 'baggers' here.
All we would like to offer in this site is an introduction to the possibilities of this area for people who prefer not to go with the herd - and these possibilities are pretty well unlimited. For example you could be out on the hill each week for a year and never on the same route twice, though you would come into the same ranges of hills from every conceivable angle, and in every conceivable weather! This gives you a kind of awareness map of the whole area. You get to know what it is like to be on those hills over there and look back to where you are now.
The spirit of the place comes together like a big jigsaw in your head. Past walks and today's merge into one big experience, and over the years you will want to go back and feel the uniqueness of individual areas again and again - and it is never the same twice - cliche as that may seem. The sense of individual freedom and yet infinite relatedness is awesome. The sun, the mist, the bitter cold wind and rain, the physical exertion, the tiredness in the body, the dram on the top of the hill, is your experience of it nobody else's - magic. Mouseover the image below to see the names of the various hills in this combined image."
Museums in and around Dumfries
Dumfries and it's surrounding area is packed with history of all sorts. For enthusiasts of museums there is an abundance in and around Dumfries reflecting the rich historical legacy that the area has. See the website below for info on the following museums in Dumfries and Galloway:-
Carsphairn Heritage Centre
Castle St John
Creetown Gem Rock Museum
Creetown Heritage Trust
Dumfries Aviation Museum
Eastriggs Heritage Project
Glenluce Motor Museum
Historic Resources Centre
John Paul Jones Cottage
Mill on the Fleet
Gatehouse of Fleet
Museum of Lead Mining
New Abbey Corn Mill
Newton Stewart Museum
Old Blacksmiths Shop
Old Bridge House
Robert Burns Centre
Sanquhar Post Office Museum
Sanquhar Tolbooth Museum
Savings Bank Museum
Thomas Carlyle's Birthplace
Whithorn Priory Museum
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