|he Attractions of South West Scotland
For Your Interest and Enjoyment
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Nithsdale is the most heavily-populated section of Dumfries and Galloway Region, with some 50,000 people, mainly in Dumfries. The Valley of the Nith is nevertheless interesting for its historical associations (notably with Robert Burns), its industrial archaeology and the still-unspoilt landscape. In the north is the former coal-mining area of Sanquhar, but wealth of a different kind came from the gold and lead mines at Wanlockhead and Leadhills in the hills to the east. Across the Nith from these areas is the farmland and estate parkland around Drumlanrig, ancestral home of the Dukes of Buccleuch. It has continung associations with royalty, but a house of literary fame is slightly to the east. Annie Laurie lived at Maxwelton House near Moniaive, a restored mansion now open to the public.
Dumfries itself offers a wide variety of museums, galleries, evening entertainments and shops. Robert Burns spent much of his life in and near the town, trying his hand as a farmer at Ellisland before moving into Dumfries and obtaining a job as a customs official. Yet he is not the only historical figure to have come to Dumfries; Scottish Kings and Queens came there, including Mary, whilst the Devorguilla Bridge is a memory of the last Princess of Galloway. Every June, the 'Guid Nychburris' ridings are marked by the local beauty queen, standing in for Devorguilla as 'Queen of the South'. The local football team also have that name.
At its estuary, the Nith becomes a place for nature again, with one of Britain's largest coastal wetland National Nature Reserves. This Caerlaverock site is next to a castle which had one of the most turbulent histories of any in Scotland. Winter sees visits by hundreds of thousands of marsh a
Brow Well, nr. Ruthwell : Mineral well where Burns sought a cure from his final illness.
Robert Burns Centre, Dumfries : A historical and literary place to study Burns, but with a good audiovisual display and a cafe. Also, a rather good Film Theatre.
Telephone : 01387-264808.
Burns House, Dumfries : Sandstone house where Robert Burns lived after his abortive time as a farmer and whilst he was a Customs Officer. Displays and artefacts of the period.
Telephone : 01387-255297.
Burns Mausoleum, St. Michaels : The grave of Robert Burns in St. Michael's Churchyard, Dumfries.
Ellisland Farm : The farmhouse, built by Robert Burns, contains exhibits connected with the poet.
Telephone : 01387-740426.
The Globe Inn : Robert Burns's 'favourite howff', a 17th century working pub in the centre of Dumfries. Preserves the 'Poet's Chair'.
Telephone : 01387-252335.
Dumfries Museum, Dumfries Old windmill tower and associated buildings owned by the Dumfries and Galloway Council. Large 1830s 'Camera Obscura' on top floor of windmill. Excellent collection of local artefacts from prehistoric periods onwards. Ongoing exhibitions. Free entry except for camera obscura. Open Monday-Saturday 10-5, sunday 2-5. Camera Obscure 1.50 Adults, 75p Concessions/Children.
Telephone : 01387-253374. Fax : 01387-265081.
Website : http://dumfriesmuseum.demon.co.uk/.
Old Bridge House Museum : Built in 1660, the oldest surviving house in Dumfries. Beside the Old or Devorgilla Bridge. Artefacts displayed in replica Victorian nursery, kitchens and dentists's surgery.
Telephone : 01387-256904.
James Paterson Museum, Moniaive : Cottage museum. Memorabilia and photographic exhibitions relating to the artist James Paterson RSA, 1854-1932, and to his colleagues, the 'Glasgow Boys'. Extensive archives. Open Fridays to Sundays, from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. Free entry.
Telephone : 01848-200583.
E-mail : . Website : http://www.lepad.demon.co.uk/pater~j.html .
Sanquhar Tollbooth Museum : Displays on local knitting, mining history, local literature, archaeology, community life and town's jail.
Telephone : 01659-50186. Fax : .
Sanquhar Post Office : Oldest working Post Office in the world. Founded in 1712. Includes Tourist Information Centre.
Telephone : 01659-50185. Fax : .
Crichton Royal Museum, Dumfries : Very unusual and moving museum on this innovative mental hospital of the late 19th century. Various medical artefacts, and on-site attractions that include an excellent cathedral-style church and a rock garden. Free access. Ample parking, adjoining Easterbrook Hall.
Telephone : 01387-244228.
Website : http://freespace.virgin.net/john.williams1/index.htm
Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum, Heathall : Very impressive collection of aircraft and a unique World War II control tower fascinating displays of aviation memorabilia. Visitor centre with giftshop and tearoom. Open Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry Fee.
Telephone : 01387-251623.
Website : http://members.xoom.com/dgamuseum/. No e-mail.
Museum of Lead Mining, Wanlockhead : Well-presnted private museum with restaurant, gift shop, and hands-on exhibitions. Guided tours of lead mines and reconstructed cottage interiors. Miners' library. Gold-panning centre by museum has hosted World Gold-Panning competitions in 1997 and 1999.
Telephone : 01659-74387. Fax : .
Drumlanrig Castle and Country Park, Carronbridge : Family home of the Dukes of Buccleuch. Castle (staterooms open in summer), ranger-guided waymarked walks, gardens, visitor centre, giftshop and craft centre, cycle museum and hire, tearoom, adventure playground, bird of prey centre, woodland and riverside walks.
Telephone : 01848-330248. Fax : 01848-600244. E-mail : Website : Under construction.
Durisdeer Church, Durisdeer : Houses the c. 1711 'Queensbury Marbles', funeral effigies of the Second Duke and Duchess of Queensberry.
Maxwelton House, Moniaive : Impressively and sympathetically restored home of 'Annie Laurie'. Excellent interior, gardens, ample parking, estate chapel nearby. House, museum, tearoom and giftshop.
Telephone : 01848-200385.
Mid Steeple, Dumfries : Early 18th century common hall of Dumfries, with Registry Office on first floor. In centre of High Street.
Rammerscales House, Lochmaben : 18th century sandstone house, with walled garden, woodland walks and picnic areas.
Telephone : 01387-811988.
Gilnockie Tower (Clan Armstrong Centre), Canonbie : History of this notorious clan of Border reivers. Genealogy of past and current Clan members.
Telephone : 013873-71876.
Caerlaverock Castle : Remarkable triangular castle of the Maxwells (later, Earls of Murray) besieged five times and rebuilt as often. Remains of previous castle in woods to south. Waymarked woodland walks and a good chidrens' play area. Excellent value. Entry fee.br> Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information). Fax : As phone.
Morton Castle, Morton : Black Douglas late 13th century hall house overlooking Morton Loch. External view only. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access.
Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information). Fax : As phone.
Bruce's Cave : Bruce was hidden here for three months by Sir William Irving.
Telephone : 01461-800285.
Bruce Plaque, Dumfries : Plaque on wall in Castle Street recording the location of the Greyfriars Monastery where Bruce stabbed John 'The Red' Comyn in church of a Sunday.
Lincluden Collegiate Church, Lincluden, Dumfries : College of Augustinian Canons, formerly Benedictine nunnery suppressed by Archibald the Grim. Church rebuilt in early 15th century by the Duke of Touraine. Managed by Historic Scotland. Free access.
Telephone : 01387-770244 (Information). Fax : As phone.
Wanlockhead Beam Engine, Wanlockhead : Near the famous Leadhills gold-panning region. Adjacent private lead-mining museum. Well worth a visit, - but wear old clothes when entering mine. Entry fee paid at adjacent Museum.
Gowanbrae Nursery : .
Telephone : 01387-780273. Fax : .
Charter House Nurseries : .
Telephone : 01387-720363. Fax : .
The Crichton Grounds : .
Telephone : 01387-247544. Fax : .
The Crichton Nursery : .
Telephone : 01387-244198. Fax : .
Ae Forest : Three waymarked walks, forest drives, four mountain bike routes, two picnic areas and a Forest Plough Museum. Two specialised mountain biking routes available if notified by phone beforehand.
Telephone : 01387-860247. Fax : 01387-860312.
Craigieburn Forest Trails : Forest Enterprise waymarked forest walks and biking trails.
Telephone : 01387-860247. Fax : 01387-860312.
Barony College Countryside Walks : Farmland, riverside, parkland and wooded grounds with waymarked trails. Open Day in May Bank Holiday, next in 2000.
Telephone : 01387-860251. Fax : 01387-860395.
E-mail : Website : http://www.barony.ac.uk/
The Art Garden, Moniaive : An art gallery and crafts shop set in a garden.
Telephone : 01848-200466. Fax : .
Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries : Collection of Scottish paintings, monthly exhibitions of contemporary arts and crafts.
Telephone : 01387-262084.
Ewart Library, Dumfries : Public library with large local studies collection including genealogical section. Large public computer centre with Internet access. N.B. : All Dumfries and Galloway libraries now have at least one Internet terminal.
Telephone : 01387-253820. Fax : .
Dumfries Ice Bowl : Ice rink and indoor bowls hall. Shops and restaurant. Skates may be hired.
Telephone : 01387-251300. Fax : .
Dumfries Swimming Pool : .
Telephone : 01387-252908. Fax : .
Horseshoe Riding Centre, Cummertrees : TRSS and ABRS approved riding and trekking centre.
Telephone : 01387-870648. Fax : .
Neverland Adventure Play Centre : Themed Peter Pan indoor childrens' adventure play centre.
Telephone : 01387-249100. Fax : .
Hop, Skip and Jump Soft Play Centre : Soft play for children of 8 years and under.
Telephone : 01387-247727. Fax : .
Riks Bike Shed, Dumfries : Quality mountain bikes for sale and hire. A good choice for enjoying the many mountain bike trails in Dumfries and Galloway.
Telephone : 01387-270275.
ABC Cinema, Dumfries : 526-seat cinema with continuous programme of current films.
Telephone : 01387-253578. Fax : 01387-266587.
E-mail : Not available. Website : http://www.abccinemas.co.uk/
Theatre Royal, Dumfries : Guild of Players' theatre in Shakespeare Street. Local productions and visiting performances.
Telephone (Box Office) : 01387-254209. Fax : .
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All text and images © 1999 Richard Edkins of Dalbeattie Internet.