Machars


Machars

The Machars (Gd: "Machair" ("Ghallghaidhealaibh"); lit. "the Plains (of Galloway)") is a peninsula in Galloway in the south-west of Scotland. The word is derived from the Gaelic word "Machair" meaning low lying or level land, known as "links" on the east coast of Scotland. Although there are no high peaks in the Machars, it is not flat and would best be described as undulating or rolling. The North Atlantic Drift or Gulf Stream creates a mild climate in which plants normally associated with the Southern Hemisphere can thrive, and dolphins and basking sharks are frequently seen in the seas.

The Machars peninsula is roughly defined by a northern boundary stretching from Newton Stewart to Glenluce, the only other boundary being the sea. The forty-mile coastline has enormous variety, starting with the mud-flats of Wigtown on the east facing Wigtown Bay, down to the sandy beach at Rigg Bay in Garlieston (where the Mulberry Harbours were developed). The coastline then rises to form dramatic cliffs as it passes the ruins of Cruggleton Castle, dropping a little at Portyerrock Bay and the Isle of Whithorn, and rising again at Burrow Head (where much of the cult classic "The Wicker Man" was filmed).

Past the southern tip of the peninsula, the shoreline leaves Wigtown Bay and becomes part of Luce Bay. The cliffs continue as far as the beautiful sandy beach at Monreith (home of the author Gavin Maxwell), and on past Port William. A combination of rocky shoreline, sandy beaches and cliffs continues as far as Auchenmalg and Stairhaven before the sandy dunes approaching Glenluce. Only one river cuts through the peninsula, the river Bladnoch which rises at Loch Maberry and meets the sea just south of Wigtown.

The other principal towns on the peninsula are Kirkcowan, Whithorn, Kirkinner, Sorbie, Mochrum, Elrig, Bladnoch and Whauphill.

The area is rich in prehistoric remains, mainly in the form of standing stones and cup and ring marks. The most notable of these are Torhousekie and Drumtroddan. In Castle Loch near The Old Place of Mochrum are the remains of several crannogs.

The primary industry in the area was agriculture, though today the tourist industry probably employs more people and generates more income.

Burrow Head (the southernmost tip of the peninsula) is about fifteen miles from Point of Ayre on the Isle of Man, and trade links have long existed between the two places, much of which involved smuggling.

Saint Ninian first brought Christianity to Scotland via the Machars, founding a small church at the Isle of Whithorn from which a mediæval cathedral later sprang at Whithorn. Ninian studied under St Martin of Tours and can lay claim to bringing Christianity to Scotland long before St Columba, whose church at Iona is often mistakenly credited as the cradle of Scottish Christianity.

The mild climate of the Machars and its position on the south-west tip of Scotland invite comparisons with the West Country in England, and it has (occasionally) been referred to as Scotland's Land's End.

Gallery


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dumfries and Galloway — See also: Dumfries and Galloway (UK Parliament constituency) Dumfries and Galloway Dumfries an Gallowa Dùn Phris is Gall Ghaidhealaibh Logo Location …   Wikipedia

  • Wigtown — It is not to be confused with the town in north west England called Wigton infobox UK place country = Scotland official name= Wigtown gaelic name= Baile na h Uige scots name= Wigtoun population= 987 (2001 Census) os grid reference= NX435555 map… …   Wikipedia

  • Kirkmaiden — is a parish in the Rinns of Galloway, the most southerly in Scotland; the present Church of Scotland parish has the same name as and is approximately coterminous with the original pre Reformation parish. It is named after the mediaeval St Medan,… …   Wikipedia

  • Saint Medan — was a saint, apparently of the early British or Irish period, whose existence and name are inferred from the name Kirkmaiden in Wigtownshire, but who is also associated with Angus and Aberdeenshire. The occurrence and legend of MedanThere is a… …   Wikipedia

  • Whithorn — Koordinaten 54° 44′ N, 4° 25′ W …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Angus — This article is about the council area in Scotland. For other uses, see Angus (disambiguation). Forfarshire redirects here. For the ship, see Forfarshire (ship). Angus Aonghas Coat of arms …   Wikipedia

  • Fife — This article is about the area in Scotland. For the musical instrument, see Fife (musical instrument). For other uses, see Fife (disambiguation). Coordinates: 56°15′00″N 3°12′00″W /  …   Wikipedia

  • Dumfries — For other uses, see Dumfries (disambiguation). Coordinates: 55°04′12″N 3°36′11″W / 55.070°N 3.603°W / 55.070; 3.603 …   Wikipedia

  • Moray — This article is about the Moray council area and the Moray district of the former Grampian region. For the pre 1975 county and current registration county, see County of Moray. For other uses, see Moray (disambiguation). Moray Moray Moireibh Logo …   Wikipedia

  • Lochaber — This article is about the ward management area in Scotland. For other uses, see Lochaber (disambiguation). District of Lochaber 1975 to 1996 Highland council area shown as one of the council areas of Scotland Lochaber (Scottish Gaelic Loch Abar)… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.