Infinite Scotland

Dumfries & Inner Solway | Coastal

‘Till a’ the seas gang dry, my Dear, And the rocks melt wi’ the sun; And I will love thee still, my Dear, While the sands o’ life shall run.’ Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, wrote those words when he lived in the town of Dumfries. He spent the last few years of his short life there, close to the Solway Firth – the wedge of sea, saltmarsh and shifting sands that separates Scotland from England at the western coast. The words of ‘My Love is like a Red, Red Rose’ have universal meaning. That’s part of their power; part of the genius of the poet who penned them. But they also couldn’t have been written in a more appropriate place (although Rabbie didn’t know that, back in the 1790s). For a sea did once gang dry around here. Or, to be more accurate, an ocean. For there was once a time, hundreds of millions of years ago, when what is now England and what is now Scotland were separated by thousands of kilometres of salt water, perhaps as far removed from each other as Glasgow and New York are today.

Wildlife

Barnacle Geese

Wildlife

Among the geese that visit the Solway estuary, perhaps the most intriguing is the barnacle goose. Small, dapper, with a black neck, white cheeks and a short bill, the barnacle goose is an attractive bird. The ones that choose to visit the inner Solway all come from a single breeding place: the islan...
More information
Culture

Border Ballads

Culture

In centuries to come, this area remained a place of conflict and cross-border tension. Around the 16th century the activities of such raiders, including skirmishes, robberies and killings, were recorded – even celebrated – in the long poems that have come to be known as Border Ballads...
More information
Culture

Caerlaverock Castle

Culture

The castle at Caerlaverock was sometimes at the centre of cross-border action, including in the opening stages of the Scottish Wars of Independence, back at the start of the 1300s. That’s when the English king, Edward I, was keen to get the Scots to swear allegiance to him as overlord. The beautif...
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Environment

Caerlaverock Wetlands

Environment

Hunting of wildfowl must also have been a feature of human life along the Solway for as long as people have lived here. Ducks, geese and swans use the Solway in huge numbers, especially in autumn and winter. That’s when the estuary, coast, and nearby farmland can be home to more than 100,000 wildf...
More information
Wildlife

Creatures in the Water

Wildlife

The Solway firth its over the ancient faultlne where Laurentia and Avalonia met. It’s a place of huge mudflats and sands, swirling tides and big skies. Many rivers feed it from both Scottish and English sides. With so many rivers linked to it, the Solway is an important place for migratory fish, i...
More information
Culture

Ellisland Farm

Culture

Robert Burns name and story is linked very strongly to the places where both he and his wife, Jean Armour, spent their childhood and early adult life in Ayrshire, however, Dumfries has an almost equal claim to be joined to Burns’ fame and work. He and Jean moved to the farm of Ellisland, near Dumf...
More information
Culture

Gretna Green

Culture

Cross-border journeys of a very different kind brought part of the old West March to fame long after the days of the Border reivers, from the middle of the 1700s onwards. Some of these were made under cover of darkness, since the people involved wanted to move quickly and undetected. They came from ...
More information
Culture

Haaf Netting

Culture

Over the last millennium or so, a distinctive kind of fishing called ‘haaf netting’ (from and old Viking term) developed here. For this, a net is suspended from a rectangular wooden frame, several metres long and a couple of metres deep. This has a middle ‘leg’ to allow the fisherman to carr...
More information
Wildlife

Natterjack Toad

Wildlife

The Solway estuary is now a National Nature Reserve, important both for birds and for being the only place in Scotland where the natterjack toad (an amphibian with a great line in choral croaking at breeding time) lives. It’s value is both national and international, in terms of wildlife....
More information
Culture

Robert Burns in Dumfries

Culture

Robert Burns composed nearly a hundred of his most popular songs while he and Jean stayed in Dumfries. These were written in the pure, lowland Scots of which he had such mastery – a dialect that comes from an altogether different culture than Gaelic, and which has close links to Anglo Saxon. The w...
More information
Wildlife

Swans

Wildlife

Hunting of wildfowl must also have been a feature of human life along the Solway for as long as people have lived here. Ducks, geese and swans use the Solway in huge numbers, especially in autumn and winter. That’s when the estuary, coast, and nearby farmland can be home to more than 100,000 wildf...
More information
Environment

The Solway Firth

Environment

There’s a line that geologists call ‘The Iapetus Suture’. It’s where the ancient continents of Laurentia, Avalonia and later, a continent called Baltica came together. It’s where an ancient ocean – Iapetus - died. In mainland Britain, it runs from the Solway Firth in the west to around B...
More information
Culture

Warden of the Marches

Culture

One way attempted to keep order in these unruly border lands was the appointment, by both Scottish and English crowns of ‘Wardens of the Marches’. The Marches were administrative areas – three identically named ones on each side of the border, called East, Middle and West. The job of the warde...
More information
Wildlife

Barnacle Geese

Wildlife

Among the geese that visit the Solway estuary, perhaps the most intriguing is the barnacle goose. Small, dapper, with a black neck, white cheeks and a short bill, the barnacle goose is an attractive bird. The ones that choose to visit the inner Solway all come from a single breeding place: the islan...
More information
Wildlife

Creatures in the Water

Wildlife

The Solway firth its over the ancient faultlne where Laurentia and Avalonia met. It’s a place of huge mudflats and sands, swirling tides and big skies. Many rivers feed it from both Scottish and English sides. With so many rivers linked to it, the Solway is an important place for migratory fish, i...
More information
Wildlife

Natterjack Toad

Wildlife

The Solway estuary is now a National Nature Reserve, important both for birds and for being the only place in Scotland where the natterjack toad (an amphibian with a great line in choral croaking at breeding time) lives. It’s value is both national and international, in terms of wildlife....
More information
Wildlife

Swans

Wildlife

Hunting of wildfowl must also have been a feature of human life along the Solway for as long as people have lived here. Ducks, geese and swans use the Solway in huge numbers, especially in autumn and winter. That’s when the estuary, coast, and nearby farmland can be home to more than 100,000 wildf...
More information
Environment

Caerlaverock Wetlands

Environment

Hunting of wildfowl must also have been a feature of human life along the Solway for as long as people have lived here. Ducks, geese and swans use the Solway in huge numbers, especially in autumn and winter. That’s when the estuary, coast, and nearby farmland can be home to more than 100,000 wildf...
More information
Environment

The Solway Firth

Environment

There’s a line that geologists call ‘The Iapetus Suture’. It’s where the ancient continents of Laurentia, Avalonia and later, a continent called Baltica came together. It’s where an ancient ocean – Iapetus - died. In mainland Britain, it runs from the Solway Firth in the west to around B...
More information
Culture

Border Ballads

Culture

In centuries to come, this area remained a place of conflict and cross-border tension. Around the 16th century the activities of such raiders, including skirmishes, robberies and killings, were recorded – even celebrated – in the long poems that have come to be known as Border Ballads...
More information
Culture

Caerlaverock Castle

Culture

The castle at Caerlaverock was sometimes at the centre of cross-border action, including in the opening stages of the Scottish Wars of Independence, back at the start of the 1300s. That’s when the English king, Edward I, was keen to get the Scots to swear allegiance to him as overlord. The beautif...
More information
Culture

Ellisland Farm

Culture

Robert Burns name and story is linked very strongly to the places where both he and his wife, Jean Armour, spent their childhood and early adult life in Ayrshire, however, Dumfries has an almost equal claim to be joined to Burns’ fame and work. He and Jean moved to the farm of Ellisland, near Dumf...
More information
Culture

Gretna Green

Culture

Cross-border journeys of a very different kind brought part of the old West March to fame long after the days of the Border reivers, from the middle of the 1700s onwards. Some of these were made under cover of darkness, since the people involved wanted to move quickly and undetected. They came from ...
More information
Culture

Haaf Netting

Culture

Over the last millennium or so, a distinctive kind of fishing called ‘haaf netting’ (from and old Viking term) developed here. For this, a net is suspended from a rectangular wooden frame, several metres long and a couple of metres deep. This has a middle ‘leg’ to allow the fisherman to carr...
More information
Culture

Robert Burns in Dumfries

Culture

Robert Burns composed nearly a hundred of his most popular songs while he and Jean stayed in Dumfries. These were written in the pure, lowland Scots of which he had such mastery – a dialect that comes from an altogether different culture than Gaelic, and which has close links to Anglo Saxon. The w...
More information
Culture

Warden of the Marches

Culture

One way attempted to keep order in these unruly border lands was the appointment, by both Scottish and English crowns of ‘Wardens of the Marches’. The Marches were administrative areas – three identically named ones on each side of the border, called East, Middle and West. The job of the warde...
More information

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