Gatehouse of Fleet

Towns & Villages
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.

About Gatehouse of Fleet

Robert Burns paid two well documented visits to Gatehouse of Fleet. During the first in 1793 he and his travelling companion Syme get drunk during an evening at The Murray Arms where Burns penned the first draft of ‘Scots Wha Hae’, otherwise known as Bruce’s Address to his Army at Bannockburn.

His second visit in June 1794/5 is to call upon David McCulloch, whom he had met at the Dumfries Masonic Lodge and the pair became good friends. McCulloch spoke fluent French his love of France accorded with Burns’s own. More crucially McCulloch enjoyed Scottish songs and had a fine tenor voice. He would occasionally sing the lyrics Burns penned in front of him. He lived in Ardwall near Gatehouse and had asked Burns to visit him if he were ever in that area. Burns duly wrote of his impending visit:

"My long projected journey through your country is at last fixed, it on Wednesday next, if you have nothing of more importance than to take a saunter down to Gatehouse, about two or three o'clock, I shall be happy to take a draught of Mckune's best with you. Syme goes also to Kirroughtree, & let me remind you to accompany me there, - I will need all the friends I can muster, for I am indeed ill at ease whenever I approach our Honourables and Right Honourables."

On this trip he would pen two scurrilous poems about Cardoness, and the Heron Ballads, including John Bushby’s Lamentation – John Bushby was the Sheriff’s clerk in Dumfries.

Gatehouse of Fleet walking, cycling and driving routes

Towns and villages near Gatehouse of Fleet