I was down in Wigtown last week and found it a nice wee sleepy town which has re-invented itself as the ‘Book Town’.
It has broad streets designed as such many years ago to enclose all the domestic animals at night to protect them from marauding animals including humans. Down the hill to the shore you come across the Martyrs’ Monument raised to commemorate two ladies tied to a stake and drowned by the rising tide in Wigtown Bay.
It was done at the orders of Grierson of Lag, deputy to Claverhouse, and it is surprising that the people who did this called themselves Christians. Wigtown is the guardian of the mysterious Machars, a wide peninsular of land pushing out into the Irish Sea. An area full of surprises with secluded churches of which Cruggleton is one, encircled by a stone wall , surrounded by trees beside the coast road to the Isle of Whithorn with an interior boasting a very fine early Norman arch. Unfortunately it cannot be appreciated without appointment as it has locked doors.
The Mull of Galloway with cliffs some 300 feet high is right on the tip of the Rhinns, the most southerly point of Scotland – even further south than Durham. There have been more than 70 shipwrecks along this coast in the past 150 years, the worst of which was on 31st. January 1953 when the Stranraer to Larne ferry Princess Victoria sank of Corsewell Point. The Isle of Whithorn boasts a Priory which has been a place of pilgrimage since the early 12th.Century. It is believed to be on the site of Candida Casa or the White House of St. Ninian who introduced Christianity to Scotland and died at this place in 432 AD. St. Ninian built his church and painted it white so that it could be seen from a distance by anyone wishing to attend service. It is thought that the White House was where the name Whithorn came from, being a white house on a horn of land. This part of Scotland is very interesting giving the impression of the remoteness of being on an island. However I must compliment them on their smooth roads with barely a pothole to bounce over or endeavour to swerve round. Now I appreciate that the main trunk roads are the responsibility of Scotland’s roads department but surely it is up to the local council to point out road defects to the roads department in Edinburgh. But even the very small side roads down in this most southerly point of Scotland are in good repair. They are pleasure to travel on and I will be back to discover what other treasures lie hidden there.See you next week..