Wigtown, which lies just off Wigtown Bay near the mouth of the River Bladnoch, is known for its bookstores, in fact it has been officially designated Scotland's National Book Town. Among the booksellers in the town is Scotland's biggest second-hand bookshop. In keeping with this bookish tradition there is an annual Book Festival in late September/early October. Wigtown was made a Royal Burgh in the 13th century, in the reign of David II, but the original documents went missing, and a new charter was granted by James II in 1457. There used to be a castle on a former course of the River Bladnoch, but this has been reduced to a grassy mound. One of Wigtown's darkest moments came with the tragic fate of two females, one middle-aged, the other a teenager, who came to be known as the Wigtown Martyrs. The women were Covenanters who refused to change their religious allegiance - this was during the "Killing Times" of the 17th century - and they were punished by being tied to a stake in a tidal channel of the River Bladnoch while the tide was out, so that as the tide came in they drowned. There is a monument to them on Windy Hill on the west side of the town. The present-day town is an attractive mix of buildings, including a large "triangular square" with a bowling green in the middle. Wigtown Bay, which consists of mudflats and saltmarsh, is a Local Nature Reserve which attracts thousands of overwintering geese. In summer the bay is a breeding ground for lapwings, curlews and common terns.
Map of the area.
|Wigtown from Nature reserve. Photo by Eddie Mackinnon, via Wikimedia Commons|