Dumfries is a former market town with a strong agricultural heritage and complex borderland history and is the provincial capital of the South West of Scotland. It is also home to plenty of activities and attractions in it’s own right. Dumfries is currently 25 miles from the Scottish border with England at Gretna, a village renowned as being the wedding capital of the UK because of it’s border location and the differences between Scottish law and English law.
Most of the land in the region is owned by a small number of landowners and many residents still doff their caps to the laird, who they hope will be benevolent. The land in Dumfries and Galloway region supports a wide range of outdoor activities and sports if you know where to look and has many golf courses, shooting estates, freshwater fishing spots, sea angling areas, walking routes, mountain biking trails, and sailing waters.
Dumfries’ best famous-person tag is probably Robert Burns or Rabbie Burns, the illustrious Scottish Bard. with J. M. Barrie, author of “Peter Pan Or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” a close second.
Robert Burns lived in Dumfries in the 1790s and the town has many homages to him, including the Robert Burns House which is open to the public, the Mausoleum at St. Michael’s Church, and the Robert Burns Centre, situated in an 18th century watermill on the west bank of the River Nith. Ellisland Farm just north of Dumfries was Burn’s first accommodation in the area.
Crossing from east to west at the 15th century Devorgilla Bridge over the River Nith, visitors will find the Old Bridge House, Dumfries’ oldest house, which dates from 1660 and is built into the sandstone of the bridge. Dumfries Museum and the Camera Obscura Observatory are also on the west side of the River Nith in what was formerly known as Maxwelltown.
Housed in the 18th century windmill tower, the Museum has exhibits from prehistoric times, wildlife of the Solway salt marshes, stone carvings of Scotland’s early Christians, and Victorian farm implements. The Camera Obscura, an astronomical instrument installed in 1836, has a screen on to which are projected panoramic views of Dumfries and the surrounding countryside.
Dumfries railway station provides services to Kilmarnock and Glasgow to the north and Carlisle and Newcastle to the south and east. The Beeching Cuts in the 70’s mistakenly caused the direct link to Stranraer to be wiped from the map, leaving only the A75 trunk road for access to the West and Northern Ireland.