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South-West Scotland
SLHA trip visiting outstanding heritage sites

The 2023 SLHA Study Tour, over a long weekend 13 to 17 July, was based at Gretna Green and included visits to several historic sites in the Dumfries and Galloway region. The tour was arranged by Travel Editions and led by Ken Hollamby.

The Devil's Porridge Museum, at Gretna, on the the huge First World War ammunition-making site, and the impressive Celtic Cross in Ruthwell Parish Church were visited on the afternoon of our arrival in Scotland.

In rainy weather on Friday we took the long journey to the recently 'rescued' Dumfries House, a magnificent eighteenth-century house with splendid Chippendale items and other furniture of the period. By contrast, in the afternoon, we toured the lead mining village of Wanlockhead, and tasted working life underground in a mine shaft.

Whithorn, 90 miles to the west, was the focus of our outing on Saturday.  This is one of the most important monastic sites in Scotland; an excellent guided tour explained its long and complex history and also introduced us to the replica Iron Age round house erected nearby. The afternoon's return journey was broken by a stop in Wigtown, renowned for its second-hand bookshops.

The final full day in Scotland provided a morning at Threave Gardens (National Trust for Scotland) and an afternoon at New Abbey watermill (Historic Scotland). For the latter visit we parked at Sweetheart Abbey, but as with the many other Historic Scotland properties, the building was fenced off pending safety checks of its fabric and implementation of remedial work.

The return journey from Scotland was broken by a four-hour stop in Carlisle where members visited the Cathedral, Castle, Museum and other attractions of the city.

Photos below: The Ruthwell Cross (left); Iron Age roundhouse, Whithorn (centre); Whithorn Priory (right) 

July 2023