Auchencairn village is situated in South West Scotland on the Solway Coast in Dumfries and Galloway. Auchencairn dates back to the 17th century and is at the centre of a large farming community. Situated on the Solway Estuary coastline, the village sits within a National Scenic Area, and is the perfect base to enjoy a quiet and peaceful break in Dumfries and Galloway. Services in the village include a small but excellently stocked shop with a cafe and Post Office, and a garage.
One of the most iconic sites in the area, much photographed and painted and with a colourful history to excite the imagination is Heston island, wreathed in history, it is an incredible place to visit. Tales of smuggling are rife from back in the day, and there is an existing house which is now let, but was previously lived in full time, with the potato drills which would have fed the occupants still visible from afar.
The lighthouse, which is situated on the East side of the island, is now solar powered, but used to be a more traditional model, which was maintained by the local fisherman who also rented the salmon nets at the fish green below Auchencairn House. The island is now mainly home to seagulls and cormorants who nest there in great numbers, but on occasion sea otters can be seen playing off the rocks, while at the right time and with the right local guide, fishing can be both rewarding and exciting.
There is a intrinsic connection to the island with the Cistercian order, who built the Abbey at Dundrennan where Mary Queen of Scots famously spent her last night on Scottish soil. They also owned the salmon nets below Auchencairn House and the fishing on Heston Island, the pools which they created can still be seen there on the muscle rack.
Further up the coast from Auchencairn you will find the harbour town of Kirkcudbright. Often called the Artists’ Town, Kirkcudbright has a long and celebrated history with creative artists and continues to attract skilled artists and crafters today. The town is packed with must-visit galleries and great places to eat and has a busy exhibition and events calendar.
Castle Douglas is known locally as the ‘food town’, and with four butchers, a green grocer and a baker still on the main street it is easy to see why. The town has a great vibe and most necessities can be purchased here, there are supermarkets, as well as the high street shops, and there is an excellent fish van on Tuesdays and Fridays in the market hill car park. They are Ferry fish: https://www.ferryfish.co.uk
The county town of Dumfries has a colourful history boasting both Thomas Carlyle and Robert Burns as local literary figures, and the town has also seen its share of action in the past. Before becoming the King of Scots, Robert the Bruce killed his rival the Red Comyn at Greyfriars Kirk in the town in 1306. Barely seven weeks later, Bruce triumphed at Bannockburn and led Scotland to independence.
The summer time sees Dumfries, and many other Border towns seized in the fever of the riding of the marches, which is an event steeped in tradition, colour and pageantry, and is definitely worth watching.