Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries an Gallowa
Dùn Phris is Gall-Ghaidhealaibh

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Area Ranked 3rd
- Total 6,426 km2 (2,481 sq mi)
Admin HQ Dumfries
ISO 3166-2 GB-DGY
ONS code 00QH
Population Ranked 12th
- Total (2005) 148,200
- Density 23 / km²
Dumfries and Galloway Council
Control Conservative/Liberal Democrat (minority control)

Dumfries and Galloway (Scots: Dumfries an Gallowa; Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Phrìs is Gall-Ghaidhealaibh, pronounced [t̪unˈfɾʲiʃ akəs̪ əŋ kaulˠ̪ɣəlˠ̪əv]) is one of 32 unitary council areas of Scotland. It was one of the nine administrative 'regions' of mainland Scotland created in 1975 by the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1973. It resulted from a union of the historic region of Galloway - consisting of the counties of Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbrightshire - and the County of Dumfries (Dumfries-shire), hence "Dumfries and Galloway". The regions were abolished by the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 and Dumfries and Galloway became one of the new council areas in 1996.

To the north, the council borders South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire; in the east the Borders; and to the south the county of Cumbria in England. It lies to the north of the Solway Firth and to the east of the Irish Sea. The region is well-known for its many artists and writers.



The Dumfries and Galloway region is composed of several sub areas and former counties.
From west to east:

The term 'Dumfries and Galloway' has been used since at latest the 19th century - by 1911 the three counties had a united Sheriffdom under that name. Dumfries and Galloway covers the majority of the Western area of the Southern Uplands [1], it also hosts Scotland's most Southerly point, at the Mull of Galloway[1] in the west of the region.

Water systems and transport routes through the Southern Uplands

The region has a number of south running water systems which break through the Southern Uplands creating the main road, and rail, arteries north/south through the region and breaking the hills up into a number of ranges.

The A701 branches off the M74 at Beattock, goes through the town of Moffat, climbs to Annanhead above the Devil's Beef Tub (at the source of the River Annan) before passing the source of the River Tweed and carrying on to Edinburgh. Until fairly recent times the ancient route to Edinburgh travelled right up Annandale to the Beef Tub before climbing steeply to Annanhead.[3] The present road ascends northward on a ridge parallel to Annandale but to the west of it which makes for a much easier ascent.

From Moffat the A708 heads north east along the valley of Moffat Water (Moffatdale) on its way to Selkirk. Moffatdale separates the Moffat hills (to the north) from the Ettrick hills to the south.

National Scenic Areas

There are three National Scenic Areas within this region.

  • Nith Estuary[4] - This area follows the River Nith southward from just south of Dumfries into the Solway Firth. Dumfries itself has a rich history going back over 800 years as a Royal Burgh (1186) and is particularly remembered as the place where Robert the Bruce murdered the Red Comyn in 1306 before being crowned King of Scotland - and where Robert Burns spent his last years. His mausoleum is in St Michael's graveyard. Going down the east bank there is the village of Glencaple, Caerlaverock Castle, Caerlaverock Wild Fowl Trust, an ancient Roman fort on Ward Law Hill[5] and neaby in Ruthwell is the Ruthwell Cross and the Brow Well[6] where Robert Burns "took the waters" and bathed in the Solway just before his death. On the west bank, there are several walks and cycle routes in Mabie Forest,[7] Kirkconnell Flow[8] for the naturalist, the National Museum of Costume[9] just outside New Abbey and Sweetheart Abbey within the village. Criffel (569 metres) offers the hill walker a reasonably modest walk with excellent views across the Solway to the Lake District. The house of John Paul Jones founder of the American Navy is also open to visitors near Kirkbean.
  • East Stewartry[10] - This takes in the coast line from Balcary Point[11] eastward across Auchencairn Bay and the Rough Firth past Sandyhills to Mersehead.[12] There are several attractive coastal villages within this area - Auchencairn, Kippford, Colvend, Rockcliffe, and Portling. There is also a unigue round tower at Orchardton and the islands of Hestan Isle and Rough Island can be reached at low tide outside the breeding season for birds. Mersehead is an excellent wildfowl reserve. The area is well provided with coastal paths.
  • Fleet Valley[13] - This area takes in Fleet Bay with its popular holiday destinations of Auchenlarie, Mossyard Bay, Cardoness, Sandgreen and Carrick Shore. The area also includes the town of Gatehouse of Fleet and the historic villages of Anworth and Girthon - there is a castle at Cardoness in the care of Historic Scotland. There are pleasant hills to walk in around Cairnharrow and Kenlum and Castramon Wood at the north end of the area is a joy particularly with the bluebells in spring.[neutrality is disputed]


The region was created in 1975, by merging the former counties of Wigtownshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Dumfriesshire as a two-tier region with the districts of Wigtownshire, Stewartry, Nithsdale and Annandale and Eskdale within it. In 1996 the region became a unitary authority area and the districts were wound up. After 1996 the unitary authority became known as Dumfries and Galloway Council, instead of Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council.


Transport in the region is operated by bus companies Huston's, McEwan's, Stagecoach Western and Mcall's coaches, and train operators Scot Rail First, Transpennine Express and Virgin Trains & Planes


A Virgin Pendolino leaving Lockerbie station for Carlisle

The region has 7 working railway stations. All are on the Glasgow South Western Line, except Lockerbie which is on the West Coast Main Line.

Bus and coach

The area is served by buses which connect the main population centres. Express bus services link the main towns with Glasgow, Ayr, Edinburgh and Carlisle. Local bus services are also operated across the region.


Stena Line provide HSS sailings between Stranraer and Belfast

Dumfries and Galloway is home to two ports which have services to Northern Ireland, both are in the West of the region. Stena Line have a port in the town of Stranraer, and P&O Irish Sea in the village of Cairnryan.


The region also has no commercial airports; the nearest are Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Carlisle Lake District Airport. The region does host a number of private airfields. The town of Lockerbie was the scene of the Pan Am Flight 103 terrorist attack on December 21, 1988.


The main roads to and from the region are:

Emergency services

The Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary is the police force for the region, and is the smallest in the United Kingdom. Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service provide firefighting services across the region. The Coastguard, Lifeboats, Moffat mountain rescue and Galloway Mountain Rescue also offer emergency services across Dumfries and Galloway.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway provide healthcare services across the region. The two main hospitals are the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary in Dumfries and Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer.


Dumfries & Galloway Council provides nursery, primary and secondary education across the region.

Alternative Schools

Nurseries and primary schools

For a list of nurseries and primary schools see this page.

Secondary schools

Stranraer Academy.


The region is known as a stronghold for several rare and protected species of amphibian, such as the Natterjack toad and the Great crested newt.[14] There are also RSPB Nature Reserves at the Mull of Galloway,[15] Wood of Cree (Galloway Forest Park),[16] Ken Dee Marshes (near Loch Ken)[17] and Mereshead (near Dalbeattie on the Solway Firth)

Welcome sign

Towns and villages

Main settlements in bold text.

Places of interest

Council political composition

The council consists of 47 councillors elected for a four-year term from 13 wards. These wards were introduced for the 2007 election and each returns three or four members by the single transferable vote system of election. This system was introduced by the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004,[18] as a means of ensuring a reasonably proportionately representative outcome.


The result of the 2003 election returned a council with no party having overall control.[19] A 'silver' coalition was first formed involving all parties but Conservative and Labour, after this coalition resigned[20] Labour took minority control of the council. The following number of councillors were elected for each party as follows:

Party Councillors
Labour 14
Independent 12
Conservative 11
Scottish National Party 5
Liberal Democrat 5


The result of the 2007 election returned the following number of councillors for each party as follows:

Party Councillors
Conservative 18
Labour 14
Scottish National Party 10
Liberal Democrat 3
Independent 2

The council is currently controlled by a Conservative and Liberal Democrat minority coalition.

After the resignation of Bruce Hodgson (Conservative councillor for the Abbey ward) a by-election was held on 1 May 2008, with Michael Thomson (Conservative) being returned as the replacement councillor.[21] On Tuesday 20 May 2008, Councillor Robert Higgins stood down as Scottish National Party (SNP) Group Leader, after he received a triple driving ban for reckless driving.[22] Similarly Councillor John Charteris Conservative was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £500 after he to admitted drink driving at Dumfries Sheriff Court on Friday, 29 August 2008 [3]

Current Councillors

By political groupings.


  • Graham Bell
  • Ian Blake
  • Ian Carruthers
  • John Charteris
  • John Dougan
  • Peter Duncan Business Leader
  • Gillian Dykes
  • Patsy Gilroy (Convener)
  • Allan Graham
  • Roger Grant
  • Jack Groom (Provost)
  • Ivor Hyslop (Leader) Group Leader
  • Ian Lindsay
  • Gail MacGregor
  • Denis R Male
  • Graham Nicol
  • Mike Thomson
  • Roberta Tuckfield


  • Ted Brown
  • James H Dempster
  • Archie Dryburgh
  • Grahame Forster
  • Dr. Jeff Leaver Secretary
  • Sean W Marshall
  • John Martin
  • David J McKie
  • Ronnie Nicholson Group Leader
  • Ronald E Ogilvie
  • Willie Scobie
  • Colin Smyth
  • David Stitt
  • John Syme

Scottish National Party

  • Brian Collins
  • Rob Davidson Group Leader
  • Iain Dick
  • Alistair Geddes
  • Robert J Higgins
  • Thomas Jacques
  • Lorna J McGowan Secretary
  • Dr. Doug Snell
  • Andrew S Wood
  • Alastair Witts Deputy Group Leader

Liberal Democrat

  • Richard Brodie
  • Michael Dickie Secretary
  • Sandra McDowall Group Leader


  • Jane S Maitland Group Leader
  • George N Prentice Secretary


See also


External links

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