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Wigtown Travel Guide - Scotland

The Royal Burgh of Wigtown is located in the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland. With its numerous second hand bookstores, it is known as "Scotland's National Book Town". There are many ways that you can reach this idyllic destination, by road, rail, bus or ferry. If you are travelling by road, the route depends on whether you are travelling from the North or South. From the South, you can take the M74 to the A75 junction and from the North, you can follow the A77 to the A713 and then the A712.

Wigtown's history goes back many centuries to even before it was made a royal burgh in 1469. There is evidence that there was a castle here and in the 15th century, the town was in competition with Kirkcudbright for the overseas trade. It was a conservative merchant community and when it did not get involved in the herring trade, this was the beginning of its decline as an important port. Throughout the 18th century, the economy of the town depended mainly on agriculture.

Portions of a parish church built in 1730 still remain. You can still see the window of this medieval church with its ornamented trefoil heads and stone mullions that have shields carved on them. Some in the community believe that the ruins actually date back much farther than the 18th century, even as far back as the 13th century. There was once a priory in Wigtown as well as a tollbooth. However, no evidence of these remain today. The grammar school in the town is the oldest in the county, but it appears to have been built after 1712. Up until that date there is no record of a school in the town.

Wigtown has its share of macabre stories, such as the tale of the two Margarets who were sentenced to death by drowning in the days of the Covenanters. To the East of Wigtown, you can visit the Martyr's Stake, a monument erected as a memorial to the drownings. Their gravestones can be seen in the cemetery of the Parish Church. You can also see the small cell where they were imprisoned, although this is all that remains of a much larger building. There is a monument to the Covenanters on Windy Hill in the town.

Wigtown also has a resident ghost in the ruins of Baldoon Castle, about a mile from the town. Here you just might see Janet Dalrymple wandering about in her bloodstained nightgown after the death of her husband on their wedding night. Drop into the pub or ask some of the older people to tell you the stories of what happened that night.

When you visit Wigtown, you will have a chance to explore the largest Local Nature Reserve in Britain. This area of salt marsh is home to numerous species of bird and wildlife. You can see them from the comfort of viewing huts. Watch the live camera of the first pair of Ospreys to return to Galloway in over 100 years.

Less than a mile from Wigtown, you can visit the distillery at Bladnoch. The River Bladnoch is also well stocked with salmon and is one of the best rivers in Scotland for Spring fish. The avid fisherperson will certainly feel right at home in this location.

There are over 20 bookstores in Wigtown, including the publisher of the world's smallest book. The town hosts a literary festival each September, which draws large crowds from all over the country. With plenty of accommodations and restaurants, you will certainly find something to suit your individual taste and budget when you choose Wigtown for your next Scottish holiday.
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