Monday, 27 July 2009

Day 15 - Scotland South West Coast - Two must-do's on way to Wigtown

I hightailed it from Whitehaven to Wigtown (pronounced “Wigton”, and click on names to see on my Google Map), on the southern coast of Scotland on the Solway Firth, a huge sea inlet that cuts into the coast like a pick axe.

The reality of travelling around the coast of mainland Britain in 33 days is that I just can’t cover everything I want to. The bays, inlets, narrow roads, and numerous villages mean I can’t drive as far and as quickly as I’d like to. But no matter! What I see is more than good enough for me – when I am transixed by the scenery, or randomly encounter friendly locals, I am remined how special a trip like this is.

So I missed a couple of nice spots on my drive to Wigtown. Here are two that you shouldn't.

- Caerlaverock Castle, near Dumfries. Acknowledged as one of the finest in Britain, with a moat still in use.

Caerlaverock Castle, pic courtesy of Wikipedia.

- The town of Dumfries, home to Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland. He lived for most of his life in the town. Although he died when he was only 37, he was a symbol of Scotland’s cultural independence.

He is held in such esteem that Burns Night (25 January, his birthday) is more widely observed as the “Scottish” day, than the official National Day on 30 November. The Scottish get together for a long dinner, and eat traditional food like haggis, which is a mixture of sheep heart, liver, lungs, oatmeal and spices, all boiled in the stomach intestines. (Burns wrote an ode to the dish, called Address to a Haggis.

Among many poems, he is famous for Auld Lang Syne (sung on New Year’s eve by the British), as well as My Luve Is Like A Red Red Rose. The National Burns Collection website has most of his poems, including audio readings.

Visit his home in Dumfries, where he spent the last years of his life.

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