The first thing any visitor to Kirkcudbright will have to learn about the town is how to pronounce its name! The name does not rhyme with "night" but with "brie", and the proper pronunciation is "kercoobree". The town was granted Royal Burgh status by James II in 1485, and there is a reminder of this each July with the Riding Of The Marches reenactment performed by the Kirkudbright Cornets Club. Kirkcudbright has a thriving arts scene; many artists have settled here, and the town has styled itself the "Artists' Town". One such was Edward Atkinson Hornel, born in Australia but whose family moved to Kirkcudbright. He became associated with an art movement called the Glasgow Boys (there is also a Glasgow Girls) and his paintings include Blossom Time - Brighouse Bay, depicting a bay in the Kirkcudbright area. The house where Hornel lived is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and is open to visitors who can view paintings by him and other artists. The house also has a Japanese style garden. Each summer the town hosts an Arts and Crafts Trail, with studios and galleries throwing open their doors.
Other attractions in the town include the 16th century McLellan's Castle, a working harbour and a marina from where boat trips on the tidal River Dee depart. There is a golf course overlooking the town and estuary. The Tollbooth was built in the 1620s and among other uses it was once a prison. One of the most famous inmates of the prison was John Paul Jones, the Master Mariner who founded the US Navy, and who was born in nearby Arbigland. Jones was incarcerated for the death of a sailor from flogging but was later released on bail. There is plenty going on in Kirkcudbright - as well as the Riding Of The Marches and the Arts and Crafts Trail, the town holds a medieval fayre, a jazz festival and the Kircudbright Tattoo. For a list of events see here.
Map of the area.
|Photo by Ed Iglehart, via Wikimedia Commons|