Wigtown – Scotland`s National Book Town
Wigtown is now best known as Scotland`s Book Town and one of the highlights of the year is the ten day Wigtown Book Festival held each autumn. A Book Town Spring Weekend is also held in May. Wigtown has many bookshops both new and second-hand and covering most genres.
The 2013 Wigtown Book Festival runs from 27 September to 6 October and features over 100 authors and events including Jeremy Bowen, Joanna Lumley and Fred MacAulay.
The history of Wigtown goes back to the 13th Century.The town has a wide main street dominated by the County Buildings which were totally refurbished in 2003. Inside the County Buildings on the top floor with panoramic views over the Local Nature Reserve is a camera room where you can view nesting ospreys.
Bladnoch -Scotland`s Most Southerly Distillery
Bladnoch Distillery is on the banks of the river of the same name and is about a mile away from Wigtown. Lowland Malt Whisky has been produced there since 1817. There is a Visitor Centre and shop at the distillery and guided tours are available on weekdays, Bank Holidays and also at weekends during July and August.
Torhouse Stone Circle
Three miles west of Wigtown is Torhouse Stone Circle. a bronze age stone circle of 19 boulders. The three large upright stones on the centre of the circle are known as King Gauldus`s Tomb. This type of stone circle is unusual for southern Scotland as they are more commonly found in north-east Scotland.
A short walk from Wigtown Town Centre is Martyr`s Stake to which two of the five Wigtown Martyrs were tied and drowned by the incoming tide. This took place in 1685. The other three were hanged. They were killed for being Covenanters. There are several monuments to the Martyrs nearby as well as graves to visit and details can be obtained at the County Building.
Wigtown and Bladnoch Golf Club
Wigtown has a delightful 9 hole golf course which welcomes visitors. It is set out on lush parkland just half a mile from the Town Centre. The course has magnificent views of Wigtown Bay and over the Solway Firth to the fells of the Lake District. 01988 403354
Interesting Fact about Wigtown
The novel, The Wigtown Ploughman by John McNeillie was set in and around Wigtown.
Short Walks from Wigtown and Bladnoch
Bladnoch River Walk starts at Bladnoch Distillery and follows the River Bladnoch to a viewing platform where trout and salmon can often be seen jumping. Continue upstream to the old wooden sluice gates. The return walk is 2.5km and takes about an hour.
Lover`s Walk, Martyr`s Stake and Wigtown Harbour. From the County Buildings walk along Bank Street, turn left at Church Lane and along Beddie Crescent until you see a sign for Lover`s Walk. The Walk follows a loop northwards then southwards to the Martyr`s Stake where there is a picnic area and a bird hide and information boards about the Martyr`s Stake. Either return to the County Buildings or continue along the old railway track and reach Wigtown Harbour Road. Here you can go left and head downhill to look at Wigtown Harbour, the River Bladnoch and two recently c
Birdwatching -Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve
This is the largest area of saltmarsh, and mudflats on the outer Solway. There is a hide
at Wigtown Harbour with views over the River Bladnoch, saltmarsh and freshwater wetland.
Species – This is an internationally important area for wintering Pink-footed Gesses annd is nationally important for Pintail, Whooper Swan and Curlew. Breeding and passage waders, ducks and curlews.
The bird hide gives good views over the river, the saltmarsh and the freshwater wetland.
Birdwatching – RSPB Crook of Baldoon
This recently formed RSPB reserve is about three miles from Wigtown. It is a vast area of Saltmarsh and mudflats which, between December and March is host to thousands of pink-footed and barnacle geese, shelducks, whooper and mute swans.
Hundreds of redwings and fieldfares may be seen along with oystercatchers,curlews, ringed plovers, pintails wigeons, wheatears,meadow pipits,skylarks,linnets and goldfinches. Birds of Prey are attracted such as peregrines, merlins and sparrowhawks. Ospreys can sometimes be seen fishing but they are better viewed from the osprey viewing room in the County Buildings.
Where can I get a coffee?
Try Readinglasses in South Main Street, Wigtown which is, surprisingly enough, also a bookshop!