Sol­way Mil­i­tary Trail devel­oped

The Galloway News - - DISTRICT NEWS -

A group of en­thu­si­asts from her­itage vis­i­tor attraction­s around the coast have come to­gether to de­velop the new Sol­way Mil­i­tary Trail.

There is a rich his­tory of a mil­i­tary pres­ence in and around south Scotland and north Cum­bria, par­tic­u­larly around the Sol­way coast.

The quiet, ru­ral sur­round­ings cou­pled with ac­cess from ports such as Stran­raer, Cairn­ryan and Sil­loth, made the Sol­way coast a per­fect lo­ca­tion for mu­ni­tions fac­to­ries in both world wars, RAF air­fields, fly­ing boat bases, prac­tice bomb­ing ranges and se­cret test­ing sites.

A num­ber of the staffed vis­i­tor attraction­s devel­oped around the mil­i­tary her­itage of the area and while each cen­tre draws their own au­di­ence it was felt by all the or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved that by col­lab­o­rat­ing and pro­vid­ing a self­guided trail of sim­i­lar attraction­s along the Sol­way a wider au­di­ence could be at­tracted.

It is also an­tic­i­pated that mil­i­tary her­itage sites not pre­vi­ously well known about, will now be avail­able to the pub­lic. Some of these may not be fully ac­ces­si­ble but their sto­ries can be shared through the web­site and in the pub­li­ca­tion to help in­form the pub­lic of this for­got­ten her­itage.

How­ever, the group also felt the need to pro­mote the trail as a fam­ily at­trac­tion, and so the lay­out of each trail has been care­fully de­signed to in­clude sandy beaches, charm­ing towns and vil­lages and some of the best scenic drives the area has to of­fer.

Each trail should take around half a day by car so there is plenty of time for ex­plor­ing.

The trail is also de­signed to be en­joyed by cy­clists, with as much of the route as pos­si­ble be­ing off the main trunk roads.

Trail spokes­woman Clair McFar­lan said: “The whole area has so much to of­fer mil­i­tary his­tory en­thu­si­asts that we felt we had a duty to get the mes­sage out there.

“On the trail we have the birthplace of the fa­ther of the Amer­i­can Navy, a Bat­tle of Bri­tain Spit­fire and a Cold War Vul­can bomber and a fas­ci­nat­ing mu­seum about mu­ni­tions works and the towns that sup­ported them.

“Along the way there is stun­ning scenery and lots of mil­i­tary ru­ins to look at and learn about what life was like when the mil­i­tary were so ac­tive around the Sol­way’

With fund­ing from Allerdale Bor­ough Coun­cil and Foun­da­tion Scotland and sup­port from Sol­way Firth Part­ner­ship and Dum­fries and Gal­loway Coun­cil, the trail is now live with a leaflet and a web­site which can be viewed at www. sol­waymil­i­tary­

Site of in­ter­est Alf Han­nay, chair­man of the John Paul Jones Trust, at the cottage mu­seum at Ar­bigland where the founder of the Amer­i­can navy was born in 1747

Take a trip Trail spokes­woman Clair McFar­lan says there is lots to see set against a back­drop of stun­ning scenerte

Site of in­ter­est A “bee­tle” pon­toon at Gar­lieston Bay, one of sev­eral relics from Mul­berry Har­bour test­ing

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