The Great Tapestry of Scotland tells the history of Scotland through 160 linen embroidered panels. Now you can journey through time and the landscape of Southern Scotland and bring those panels to life as you trace the threads of history on the Tapestry Trail. Each of the stops relates back to part of Scotland’s history as told in the panels of the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

Start at the Tapestry Centre in Galashiels to acquire an overview of how the areas you will visit fit into the overall picture of Scotland’s past. But if it is more convenient to start elsewhere, weave your way backwards along the trail and finish at the Great Tapestry of Scotland to see that history brought together in a magnificant community art project.

Day 1

The Great Tapestry and Berwickshire Coast

Begin your metaphorical weaving through time at the Great Tapestry of Scotland in Galashiels. You will be amazed at the scale of the project and it will give you an understanding of the landscape and the people who have inhabited Scotland over the millenia.
From Galashiels to the Berwickshire Coast you can discover how one man contributed to a farming revolution, while another started the science of geology. Once in Eyemouth there is plenty to see and do, but make a point of popping into the Eyemouth Museum to learn of the town’s maritime and fishing heritage and of a tragedy that took its toll. Take some time to enjoy this wonderful harbour town on the coast with a selection of great eateries.







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Stop 1 - Great Tapestry of Scotland

This is the delightful, colourful, skilfully woven story through the ages of Scotland’s history. Author Alexander McCall Smith conceived the idea, artist Andrew Crummy designed it and Scottish Borders-based writer and historian Alistair Moffat wrote the narrative which formed the basis for the design of each panel. It was then created and hand stitched by 1,000 craftspeople from across Scotland.

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Stop 2 - Duns

Head to the coast via Duns and you will pass through the birthplace of Duns Scotus (panel 25) an influential Franciscan realist philosopher who was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1993. You are also journeying through the countryside that James Small once called home. Small’s invention of the Swing Plough (panel 65) revolutionised farming. David Hume (panel 71), who lived at nearby Chirnside was a philosopher, historian and economist and part of the Scottish Enlightenment which included Robert Burns and James Hutton – more on them later!

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Stop 3 - Siccar Point

Situated on the Berwickshire coast, Siccar Point is the birthplace of modern geology. James Hutton, an 18th century geologist took a boat trip off the coast in 1788. From this vantage point he saw the exposed cliffside with horizontal red sandstone overlying older, steeply pitched, sedimentary rocks known as greywacke. This juxtaposition of two entirely different rocks confirmed Hutton’s theory of a world much older than the conceived wisdom of the time and launched the modern science of geology (panel 74).

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Stop 4 - Eyemouth

For a small coastal town, Eyemouth has plenty to explore. At the Eyemouth Museum you can delve into the history of this fishing community, learn of the tragedy that struck in October 1881 and about the women who worked preparing the fish caught by the fleet — the Herring Girls (panel 112). Time your visit right and you can have afternoon tea at Gunsgreen House where notorious smuggler John Nisbet once lived.

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Zooming into 2019 is a brand new visitor experience to celebrate the life of racing legend Jim Clark.

Gunsgreen House
location_on Eyemouth

Gunsgreen House is full of fun and adventures for children. Toilet facilities, baby changing, lift access and parking is free.

Day 2

Border Abbeys and Sir Walter Scott

This morning you can visit all or just some of the great Border Abbeys – Kelso, Jedburgh, Dryburgh, and Melrose. Once in Melrose allow yourself the afternoon to explore and delight in Abbotsford House, home of the great historical novelist Sir Walter Scott. The house is at the heart of a landscape of folklore and legend. Melrose is layered with history throughout time. Sir Walter Scott, Robert the Bruce and St Cuthbert, who began his religious life here. And tomorrow morning you can return to the time of the Romans!







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Melrose Abbey. Credit: Historic Environment Scotland.

Stop 1 - Kelso Abbey

First up is Kelso Abbey, which played a significant role in the early Scottish wool trade that was fostered by David I in the 1130s (panel 23).

You may want to consider coming 20 minutes off the route to head south and see Jedburgh Abbey, the best preserved of the Border Abbeys (panel 22). Taking 70 years to build, the abbey served the Royal castle of Jedburgh. Today’s Jedburgh Castle was built on the spot of the original. You can see this recreated ‘Castle’ which served as a jail at one point.

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Stop 2 - Dryburgh Abbey

As you head towards Melrose, take a quick stop at St Boswell’s to see the third of the great abbeys, Dryburgh Abbey, burial place of the great historical novelist Sir Walter Scott (panel 82).

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Stop 3 - Melrose Abbey

In addition to Melrose Abbey’s fame as a once great abbey, this is the resting place of the heart of King Robert I, also known as Robert the Bruce (his siege of Carlisle in 1315 is commemorated in panel 31). Dying before he was able to go on a crusade, Robert the Bruce’s mummified heart was carried into battle by his lifelong friend Sir James the Black Douglas. It was believed the heart had been returned to Scotland and buried at Melrose Abbey. This was confirmed in the late 1990s when a mysterious leaden casket was found and today a plaque commemorates the king.

Further back in time, Melrose was where St Cuthbert (panel 13) began his religious life around 650AD.

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Stop 4 - Abbotsford House

Abbotsford House was the home of the great historical novelist Sir Walter Scott (panel 82). The house is at the heart of a landscape of folklore and legend. Its Scots baronial architecture started a craze for the style and the house inspired Scott as he became the best selling author of his day. From here Scott transformed how the world saw Scotland. Indeed he was largely responsible for the start of Scottish tourism, thanks to his invitation to George IV to visit. The first royal visit in over 200 years, it was a huge success and where the king went, others soon followed.

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Jedburgh Castle Jail & Museum
location_on Jedburgh

Jedburgh Castle Jail & Museum is an attraction that looks like a grand castle – but inside is a different story!

Floors Castle
location_on Kelso

Explore the house, beautiful gardens and walks around the Estate. Sample homemade Estate produce at the Terrace Cafe, gift shop & deli.

Day 3

Romans, Reivers and Weavers

Take a quick step back in time at the Trimontium Museum. The Romans established a major fort just east of modern-day Melrose in AD80 and it is one of the UK’s most significant archaelogical sites from that period. If you’ve time, take a quick diversion to Traquair House to explore Jacobite connections, or head directly south to Selkirk and see how this town so close to the English border is still influenced by events of its past.

Drive on part of the ancient Cross Borders Drove Road where animals were shepherded to market. This countryside was home to reivers (or raiders) who frequently crossed the border to steal cattle from neighbouring lands in England. Hawick was vital to the woollen trade of the Borders past, and still significant in the production of luxurious goods of today. Start heading south via Langholm towards Gretna Green for your start point tomorrow.







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Rubers Law near Hawick, Scottish Borders.

Stop 1 - Trimontium Museum

The museum has been recently refurbished and displays some of the finds from the nearby Roman Fort of Trimontium. The fort was substantial in size and was the depository of an incredible cache of a military arsenal, which historians are still struggling to explain. The museum contains artefacts excavated from the dig site that help tell the story of the Roman occupation of Caledonia (panel 10). There are guided tours of the archaelogical site from time to time as well.

A slight diversion off the route to Traquair House will be worth the visit. Scotland’s oldest continuously inhabited house, Traquair has a quirky relic of the Jacobite uprising (panel 60). Following a visit from Bonnie Prince Charlie, the fifth Earl declared his newly constructed Bear Gates to be padlocked until a Stuart king sat upon the Scottish throne  – and so they remain locked to this day. A glimpse of sporting history is to be seen inside as Traquair owns the first painting of the sport of curling (panel 103).

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Stop 2 - Selkirk

Scottish explorer, Mungo Park (panel 100) hailed from a farm close to Selkirk and he would no doubt have witnessed the annual Common Ridings. Equestrians from the town ride out in homage to their ancestors and commemorate the Battle of Flodden, the last time a British monarch was killed in battle (panel 40).

Another battle, this time at Philiphaugh, saw the defeat of James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose (panel 52) by a Covenanter army despite Montrose’s brave attempt at victory.

Yesteryear’s religious wars have been replaced by a modern-day battle of survival by the Golden Eagle. The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project has seen the successful relocation of breeding pairs into the area and informative displays on the project are housed in the wood-clad Waterwheel Café. After a light lunch head along part of Cross Borders Drove Road (panel 51) that leads to Hawick.

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Stop 3 - Textiles in Hawick

Here you can browse around the Border Textile Towerhouse to bring to life the more than 200 years of tradition and innovation in the local woollen industries (panel 86).

Hawick was one of the locations caught up in the False Alarm of 1804 (panel 80), with fires warning of impending French invasion lit on Peniel Heugh, the Dunion and Crumhaugh Hill around the town. Rumours swirled the French had landed but no Frenchmen materialised. It transpired the sergeant who had first raised the alarm had seen coalbraizers and not the lighting of a balefire, which was the agreed signal of an invasion.

And sporting fans may be familiar with the Scottish rugby union commentator Bill McLaren who also hailed from Hawick (panel 156b).

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Stop 4 - Langholm & Hugh MacDiarmid memorial

As you head west, it is worth a stop off in Langholm where you can take a short walk to the Hugh MacDiarmid memorial (panel 127). MacDiarmid was a Scottish poet, journalist, essayist and political figure, publishing his most famous poem, A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle, in Scots in 1926. He is credited being a driving force behind the literary Scottish Renaissance.

Gilnockie Tower, which lies just outside town is the traditional seat of the Clan Armstrong and there was much celebration in 1969 when an Armstrong became the first man on the moon. In 1972 the astronaut Neil Armstrong (panel 148) came to visit and he was given the freedom of the town.

And in the distance you can see the Malcolm Monument on top of Whita Hill, Langholm’s most prominent landmark and a superb viewpoint.  This landmark was built to commemorate Sir John Malcolm, one of the ten Malcolm sons of Burnfoot, Langholm. Young John Malcolm entered the service of the East India Company (panel 92) at the tender age of 13. Later he was appointed a cadet in Madras and saw active service against Tipu Sahib, Sultan of Mysore.  This is one of three monuments erected in his memory – the other two are in Bombay and at Westminster Abbey.


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Traquair House
location_on Peebles

Traquair is Scotland's Oldest Continually Inhabited House dating back over 900 years and still lived in as a family home today.

Famously Hawick
location_on Hawick

The Cashmere, Tweed and Whisky Town Five premium Scottish producers - One famous Scottish town Made here. Sold here. Sustainable

Day 4

Of war, witches and bicycles

Begin today at the fascinatingly named Devil’s Porridge Museum in Eastriggs, just outside Gretna Green. The museum pays tribute to HM Factory Gretna, which was the largest munitions factory in the world during WWI. Heading on you can see one of the earliest of Anglo-Saxon crosses, and you’ll pass a landscape transformed by the spell of a powerful witch! From here you can journey to the birthplace of the inventor of the first treadle bicycle and a country house where Mary Queen of Scots once stayed. Finish your day visiting Ellisland, the farm Robert Burns built for his wife and family, and where he wrote Tam O Shanter and Auld Lang Syne.







Travel Time

1h 30min

Thornhill Dalveen Pass, Dumfries & Galloway.

Stop 1 - Devil's Porridge Museum

Today’s journey starts at the fascinatingly named Devil’s Porridge Museum in Eastriggs, just outside Gretna. The museum pays tribute to HM Factory Gretna which was the largest munitions factory in the world during WWI (panel 118). More than 12,000 women mixed a lumpy, white substance ‘like porridge but of a devilish sort’ as observed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on a visit. This ‘porridge’ was cordite and went into every bullet and shell used in World War I.

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Stop 2 - Ruthwell Cross & witches

Leaving Eastriggs travel back in time from the First World War to the age of early Anglo-Saxons with a quick stop to see the Ruthwell Cross. An intricate example of early carvings, the stone cross is believed to date from the 8th century, when the village of Ruthwell, was part of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. The cross also contains lines from one of the earliest poems in English, The Dream of the Rood. The cross is housed in the church in the village (panel 14).

As you drive north from Ruthwell Cross on the B724 after Mouswald cast your eyes to the west towards Lochar Moss. Legend has it that the horses of a witch called Gyre Carline were swept away by a high tide as they went for a ride during a witches gathering on Locharbrigg Hill. The area below, Lochar Moss, was then open sea, but, after a wave of Gyre Carline’s staff, it turned at once into a vast, boggy mass (panel 49, witches in Scotland).

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Stop 3 - Keir Mill & Drumlanrig Castle

Head north to reach Keir Mill to see where Kirkpatrick Macmillan, inventor of the pedal bike grew up (panel 90). You’ll find two examples of his work tomorrow at Dumfries Museum. Further north is the estate of Drumlanrig Castle, with beautiful cycling trails if you want to give the modern two-wheeled version a go. Drumlanrig was one of the many sites that hosted Mary Queen of Scots (panel 44) on her tour through the South of Scotland in 1563.

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Stop 4 - Ellisland Farm

As you wind your way back south, be sure to stop off at Ellisland Farm for your first encounter with Robert Burns (panel 79). Burns worked the land in the home he provided for his wife Jean Armour and their children. The landscape around inspired Burns and his works and he composed Auld Lang Syne, Tam O Shanter and The Wounded Hare while living here.

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Crawick Multiverse
location_on Sanquhar

Crawick Multiverse is an amazing land art installation to explore and enjoy cosmology, science and art or just to walk your dog in the beautiful landscape.

Community Hub and Cafe

Day 5

All about Burns - Dumfries

Start your day continuing in the footsteps of Robert Burns, who lived the last years of his life in Dumfries. There is a town trail pamphlet allowing you a self-guided tour, including his favourite Howff (or pub)! In addition the local museum houses two bicycles built by Kirkpatrick Macmillan and there are other famous sites around the town – why not download our App and listen to our Dumfries – Stories from the Dark Side audio tour. Once finished you can detour down to Sweetheart Abbey to see Lady Devorgilla’s tribute to her husband John Balliol, or head on to Gatehouse of Fleet for the final stop.







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Devorgilla Bridge over the River Nith, Dumfries.

Stop 1 - Robert Burns House & Robert Burns Centre

Start your day following in the footsteps of Robert Burns (panel 79). Burns moved into Dumfries to work as an excise officer and lived in what is now called Robert Burns House – he is buried in the Mausoleum nearby. And there is a statue commemorating his wife Jean Armour (panel 156a) as well.

Along the banks of the River Nith you’ll find the Robert Burns Centre in a converted 18th century watermill. Here you can see the story of Burns’ time in Dumfries with objects and artifacts on display.

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Stop 2 - Dumfries Museum

Wander along to the Dumfries Museum and you can see two of the bicycles made by Kirkpatrick Macmillan (panel 90) as well as getting a superb view of the town and Galloway Hills from the Camera Obscura.

Dumfries has been the site of historic events for other iconic Scots. In the Grey Friars Church in 1306, Robert the Bruce murdered John Comyn en route to becoming king of Scotland. The church is no longer there but thought to have stood in the locality of Friar’s Vennel in the town.

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Stop 3 - Moat Brae

Less gruesome, is where JM Barrie (panel 156a) spent some of his childhood and in the garden of Moat Brae, he found his inspiration for the Neverland of Peter Pan.

Today it offers a faithful replica of how the house would have appeared in Barrie’s time, a great playground garden for youngsters and it is Scotland’s National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling.

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Stop 4 - Gatehouse of Fleet

Gatehouse, once the tollbooth for Stage coaches, has entrepreneur James Murray to thank for its relative growth in the late 18th early 19th centuries. In 1763 he built his summer home, Cally House here leading to the town becoming a thriving industrial centre with cotton mills, shipbuilding, a brewery and its own port. Today’s mill, one of many that operated across the south of Scotland (panel 107) has a crafting shop, second hand books and a cafe with take away in the evening.

More recently parts of the 1973 Wicker Man (panel 149) were filmed in and around Gatehouse of Fleet – the exterior of the Green Man Inn was in fact the Cally Estate office and the maypole dance, schoolhouse and the old deconsecrated kirk are at the village of Anwoth, just to the west of Gatehouse of Fleet.

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Sweetheart Abbey
location_on Dumfries

Due to access restrictions in place, there is currently only access to the cloister.

Bruce’s Stone
location_on Newton Stewart

Bruce's Stone sits at the top of the hill on the north side of Loch Trool. It is a large granite boulder commemorating King Robert’s victory over the English.

Day 6

Martyrs and a Saint

Today is spent on the gorgeous Machars Peninsula, starting at Scotland’s National Booktown, Wigtown. From here head to Garlieston and see the site of a war-time prototype for the D-Day landings in World War II. Then follow the coast road for a scenic lunch stop at the peninsula’s end where the climactic finish to the 1973 Wicker Man was filmed. In Whithorn learn about St Ninian and the area’s other early settlers and take a walk through a wooded glen to discover St Ninian’s beach sanctuary. Finish your tour of the peninsula making your way north along the coastal road with never-ending beaches and breathtaking views.







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Stop 1 - Wigtown and its martyrs

Today Wigtown is Scotland’s National Book town and a wonderful place to while away a morning as you browse through the multitude of book shops.

But in Wigtown’s distant past lies a tragic tale linked to the Covenanters and the killing times (panel 53). While the panel shows the huge conventicle protected from the dragoons by a company of armed sympathisers at Irongray outside Dumfries, two women of Wigtown had no protection for their beliefs.

A young Margaret Wilson and an older woman were arrested, imprisoned and, condemned to die a cruel death. They were tied to stakes at low tide and left to drown as the tide came in. Today there is a stone to mark the old harbour in their honour and a monument to their martyrdom on the hill above the town.

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Stop 2 - Garlieston Harbour & Rigg Bay

This quiet, sleepy village played a vital role in turning the tide of the Second World War (panel 134). Throughout 1943-1944 Garlieston Harbour and Rigg Bay (accessed via Galloway House Gardens at the entrance to the village) were the testing grounds for one of the prototype artificial harbours that would be used in Normandy during the D-Day landings. The remoteness of the location and its similarity to the proposed landing site on the French coastline along with the large rise and fall of the tide made Garlieston ideal. Nothing remains today but take a picnic and enjoy a walk up to the ruins of Cruggleton Castle if you’ve time.

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Stop 3 - Isle of Whithorn

This scenic harbour village was used in the filming of the 1973 film The Wicker Man (panel 149). Burrow Head, just outside the town and the most southerly point on the peninsula, was the setting for the climactic burning of the Wicker Man and for years the burnt stumps remained as a pilgrimmage site for movie buffs. Several locals featured as extras including the owners of the local castle, or towerhouse.

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Stop 4 - Whithorn

In 400 AD, Ninian founded a Christian community at Whithorn. St Ninian (panel 11) quickly became Scotland’s most popular saint and future king of England, Edward II came to visit the shrine of Ninian, while Robert the Bruce made pilgrimage here in 1329 shortly before he died. By the 15th century annual visits were paid by the Royal House of Stuart including King James IV.

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Stop 5 - St Ninian's Cave

Outside of Whithorn at Physgill you can walk down through a wooded glen to the pebbled beach where St Ninian’s Cave (panel 11) marks the place it is said he came for prayer and contemplation. There are still annual religious pilgrimages to the site. Enjoy the long beaches and coastal views as you head north along the western side of the peninsula.

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Whithorn Roundhouse
location_on Whithorn

Whithorn Roundhouse is a full-scale replica Iron Age roundhouse based on excavated examples dating to around 430BC

Cruggleton Castle Walk
location_on Newton Stewart

Approximately half a days walk to Cruggleton Castle.

Day 7

Lighthouses and Presidents

Stop to see the ruins of Glenluce Abbey where Mary Queen of Scots once dined and slept as she made pilgrimmage to Whithorn.  Have lunch in one of the lighthouses built by the Stevenson family – grandfather and uncles to author Robert Louis Stevenson. As you head down the Rhins peninsula to Port Patrick you’ll see were the Ulster Scots first set off for Ireland and finish at the dramatic clifftop lighthouse at the Mull of Galloway, a fitting end to your Tapestry Trail through the south of Scotland.







Travel Time

1h 30min

Stop 1 - Glenluce Abbey

As you rejoin the mainland you can see the ruins of Glen Luce Abbey. Here Mary Queen of Scots (panel 44) once lay her weary head as she made her progress southward to Whithorn and St Ninian’s shrine.

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Stop 2 - Lighthouses of the Rhins

Starting at Loch Ryan on the northern side of Stranraer you can see the first of four lighthouses built by the highly successful Stevenson family (panel 156b). Dotted down the Rhins of Galloway, these beacons have kept sailors safe for more than 200 years.  For a complete tour and more information, check our blog on the Lighthouses of the Rhins.

The second along is the Corsewall lighthouse which today houses a hotel and restaurant. And just north of Port Patrick is Killantringan lighthouse, on the path of the Southern Upland Way.

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Stop 3 - Portpatrick

This scenic harbour town with restaurants and pubs makes an engaging stop near the end of your travels. It too has played its part in the history not just of Scotland but of the modern world. The area was the start of one of the Drovers routes, driving cattle from here to London (panel 51). In a hotel nearby, Winston Churchill met in secret with General Eisenhauer as they planned the D-Day landings (panel 134) in which the King’s Own Scottish Borderers would participate.

But perhaps the town’s greatest historical role was as the departure point used by Hugh Montgomery and James Hamilton to send off Lowland Scots settlers, bound for the barren and abandoned east coast of Ulster in May 1606 (panel 48). These 10,000 settlers would transform the area into an industrial powerhouse. Their success would inspire King James VI of Scotland and I of England’s Virginia Plantation of 1607, his Ulster Plantation of 1610 and his Nova Scotia Plantation of 1621.

The descendants of these Ulster Scots as they became known would themselves emigrate and settle in the new World and by 2009, 17 American presidents would claim ancestry to the Ulster Scots, including Barak Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush.

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Stop 4 - Mull of Galloway

Here at the most southerly tip of Scotland is the lighthouse built by Robert Stevenson (panel 156b), grandfather to the author of Treasure Island. There is plenty of information about the life of a lighthouse keeper and its history, and the area is also an RSPB bird sanctuary so you could be in for some winged companions as you take in the view. On a fine day the locals say can see the Five Kingdoms – England, Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Heaven.

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Dunskey Castle
location_on Portpatrick

Dunskey Castle is a ruined tower, 0.5 miles south of Portpatrick. It is a scheduled monument and considered a 'nationally important' archaeological site.

Killantringan Lighthouse
location_on Stranraer

Served as a waypoint in the North Channel of the Irish Sea, it became operational in 1900, and is a listed building.

Where to Stay

Fauhope House
location_on Melrose

Fauhope Country House is a secluded, award-winning ‘5 star gold’ B&B near Melrose in the heart of the Scottish Borders offering our guests a luxurious getaway.

Sea View Snugs at Laggan
location_on Gatehouse of Fleet

Escape and connect with nature, connect with yourself and connect with life’s simple pleasures in our Sea View Snugs.

Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel
location_on Kirkholm, Stranraer

The Restaurant and Hotel are based in the Historic Lighthouse Keepers accomodation build in 1815 by the famous Sevenson Family.

Lindean Guest House
location_on Dumfries

Town centre location in Dumfries, Lindean offers a quiet, comfortable stay with good customer service and ample parking.