Thursday, 20 June 2013


Today we were passing through Dumfries a market town and former royal burgh within the Dumfries and Galloway council area of Scotland. It is near the mouth of the River Nith into the Solway Firth. Dumfries is nicknamed Queen of the South. People from Dumfries are known colloquially as Doonhamers.

This is is a grade B listed iron fountain (built in 1882) and one of the main landmarks in the town, standing today in a pedestrianised area surrounded by shops. It has three tiers, four cherubs squeezing water out of the mouths of crocodiles.

Dumfries Fountain

We stopped at a viewpoint just out of the town of Auchencairn to take in this wonderful countryside.

These wind turbines are actually standing in the water

The Dundrennan Abbey with its church and cloister lie in secluded woods below the little village Kirkcudbright. Showing some of the best early Gothic architecture in Scotland in the most peaceful and tranquil setting. Dundrennan Abbey is one of the most impressive to survive from Scotland's 13 Cistercian monasteries and today many of the stone carvings around the abbey can be seen. Dundrennan Abbey was founded in 1142 by Fergus, Lord of Galloway, with the help of King David I of Scotland. The white-robed Cistercian monks came from Rievaulx Abbey, in North Yorkshire. After establishing the abbey at Dundrennan, monks went forth to found two more Cistercian abbeys in Galloway – Glenluce, near Stranraer, around 1190, and Sweetheart, in the village of New Abbey, south of Dumfries, in 1273. The cloister, although much ruined, is still largely traceable on the ground. The chapter house in the east range dates from the early 13th century and must have been a chamber of exceptional beauty, judging by what remains. Grave-slabs of four abbots can still be seen set into the floor. The abbey‘s most famous visitor was Mary Queen of Scots. On 15 May 1568, she was welcomed at the gates following her escape from Lochleven Castle, near Kinross, and her defeat at Langside, beside Glasgow. Mary was making for England and the comparative safety, so she thought, of her cousin, Elizabeth I of England. On the following morning she boarded a boat bound for the Cumberland coast. She never returned to her native land.

We meandered down very small roads to reach the beachside area of Carrick where people have little cabins on the beach - they reminded me of the batches in New Zealand. These were the views they see.

This afternoon we saw Drumlanrig Castle a majestic Dumfriesshire family home to the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry. It is also home to part of the internationally renowned Buccleuch Art Collection featuring such treasures as Rembrandt’s The Old Woman Reading as well as many other fine paintings, tapestries and objects d’art. Grand reception rooms, magnificent staircases and ornate period features sit happily beside cosy parlours. Constructed from distinctive pink sandstone, commissioned in 1691 by William Douglas, the first Duke of Queensberry and represents one of the first and most important Renaissance buildings in the country.  Impressive Gardens, extending to 40 acres are magnificent and impressive surround the castle. Some of the garden designs date back to the early 17th and 18th centuries, such as the Long Terrace Walk, the Shawl and the East Parterre, while others have been restored using later designs. 

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