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First House in Scotland Gretna Greene

Even if we offically flew into Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I want to start our photographic trip report with the first house right after the Scottish border in Gretna Greene. While there is nothing so stunning about it - it was for decades the last hope for many lovers...

Gretna Greene Weddings

...because since 1753 the couple needed the confirmation of their parents! Without this confirmation they were not allowed to marry in England. But in Scotland marriage was easy - you just had to be at least 16 years old and you needed two witnesses. In fact, it was so easy to get married that soon a real industry was catering the needs of the young lovers. That's the reason why Gretna Greene was such a popular location for weddings in the past.

Gretna Greene Old Blacksmith Shop

For some reason, blacksmiths were the preferred masters of the ceremony, and this photo shows the world famous "Old Blacksmith Shop" in Gretna Greene. Countless weddings have been done here until the law was abandoned in the middle of the 20th century. Gretna, however, remains to be a very popular destination to get married! A Scottish version of Las Vegas, if you want. :-)

Caerlaverock Castle

About 15 km south of Dumfries you will find Caerlaverock Castle. It was already 6.30 pm, and we came a bit too late to visit the castle. The housekeeper (wearing a traditional Kilt) was about to close the castle to visitors.

Caerlaverock Castle Dumfries

So we were enjoying the evening sun - and the new 20mm lense which still blows me away every time I put it on the camera. Here you can see that the castle is surrounded by water, so it offered a good protection against attacks.

Castle Caerlaverock

Caerlaverock Castle is surrounded by a short hiking track, guiding you to the ruins of an even older castle and then back to the main castle. It is indeed one of the most beautiful castles in southern Scotland and a perfect start for our trip.

Dumfries Scotland

We decided to stay the first night in Dumfries, a nice small town of roughly 35,000 people that is the center of the whole region.

Dumfries River Nith

The river Nith flows right through the town, and as you can see here - it invites for a quick bath in the evening hours. It was a hot day, yes, but the water still must have been pretty cold. I guess the Scottish guys are simply more robust than we are!

Dumfries Bridge over River Nith

This is the old steel bridge (from 1875) - it is still in perfect condition and will get you easily from your B&B (we went for the Merlin B&B) to the town center.

St. Michael's Church Dumfries

This is Dumfries' St. Michael's Church were the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns has found his last rest. I am sure that you will find many references to Robert Burns, who lived here for just five years. Still, Dumfries claims to be Robert Burns' town, because he died here.

The Hole I' The Wa' Inn Dumfries

This is "The Hole I' The Wa' Inn", one of the two favourite drinking places of Robert Burns. This guy must have poured down incredible amounts of Whisky to get inspired. But the results were okay - in 1790 he composed the song "My heart is in the Highlands" which is still one of the most popular Scottish songs!

Robert Burns Statue Dumfries

Unfortunately, Burns passed away 1796, aged 37. This statue was erected in 1882 to honor him. His songs and poems continue to live, here in Robert Burns country.

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