Historic cattle trail to be celebrated and enhanced

Callum Whiteford, left, and Stuart Baungally from Banks Renewables with Kirsty Graham and some of her father's Belted Galloway cows.''(c) WULLIE MARR/HPR

Callum Whiteford, left, and Stuart Baungally from Banks Renewables with Kirsty Graham and some of her father's Belted Galloway cows.''(c) WULLIE MARR/HPR

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A section of an ancient cattle drovers’ trail boasting a rich and often bloody history is set to be celebrated and enhanced, thanks to the work of an innovative wind energy business.

In setting out plans to preserve and highlight the trail – which runs through its proposed wind farm site – Banks Renewables is hoping to encourage responsible visitors to the area, bringing more money into the local community.

Understanding the significance of the trail, Banks Renewables plans to provide tourist information points along the protected route, for those wishing to learn more about the area’s vast and often violent history.

The ‘drovers’ trail’ was part of the key cattle-moving route from Stranraer to London, with evidence of agricultural use dating back four thousand years!

But the route is perhaps better known for its comparatively recent role in the history of the Scottish Covenanters – who in the 17th Century suffered persecution at the hands of the Stuart Kings, having refused to accept them as the divine rulers of Scotland and the Presbyterian Church.

The Covenanters often used the drovers’ road, close to Gatehouse of Fleet, to hold illegal church services known as ‘conventicles’, seeking solace from the King’s men – however in one instance in 1685, five influential Covenanters were caught along the route and taken to nearby Kirkconnel Moor to be executed.

The Hamilton based firm is currently waiting on a decision from Dumfries & Galloway Council regarding planning application for the seven turbine, Knockendurrick Community Wind Farm, located between Twynholm and Gatehouse of Fleet.

Colin Anderson, director at Banks Renewables, said: “We are delighted to announce our plans to protect, celebrate and enhance this important route in Scottish history.

“Working with local communities, we quickly grasped the importance of the site and are delighted to not only be able to maintain the route, but improve its offering to those fascinated by its’ past.

“I believe this project highlights the commitment to our ‘development with care’ approach as the sensitive work we are doing to improve this route will help to encourage more tourism and economic activity in the community.”

Colin added: “Personally, I find these ancient trails absolutely fascinating. It’s incredible to think of the drama and tragedy that would have taken place here over the years and it’s vitally important we hold onto these precious pieces of our history and heritage.”