From Our Files

50 Years Ago - July 15, 1961

THE result of the rural survey carried out by the sanitary inspector for the County of Wigtown was referred to by Mr John Brewis, MP for Galloway, when he spoke in the House of Commons last week. He said: “Out of 1,383 agricultural houses surveyed 763, or well over half, were unfit for human habitation and no fewer than 496 should be demolished. Let us see to it that our agricultural workers have houses to live in and not hovels.” Mr Brewis added that in Wigtownshire the average house was not well built. That was due to a lack of capital in that part of the world as, until the railways came and farmers were able to export milk to the bigger cities, the area was strictly upland farming. Farm cottages were built in much the same way as drystane dykes. They had no foundation and most of them were damp. The problem was to build houses for the rural population on the farms because the farm worker had to live close to his livestock. That, therefore, became a problem for the private owner or for the occupier of the land. The MP called for an increase in grants given under the Housing (Scotland) Act which currently gave £300 to the building of new house.

The historic North West Castle, Stranraer, may be turned into a hotel with chalet type bedrooms on its grounds. Planning permission in principal was granted but a detailed plan must be submitted by the applicant as the property is listed as Category B by the Department of Health which means it is of architectural or historical interest.

25 Years Ago - July 19, 1986

LIFTING the ban on the movement of sheep and lambs will not immediately solve the problems facing local farmers, Galloway MP Ian Lang was told at a meeting on Saturday. The ban on the movement of lambs throughout Dumfries and Galloway was imposed by the Government on June 24 in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster and should have ended on Tuesday of this week. But a further 21-day ban was imposed in Wigtownshire and the Stewartry after tests showed high readings of radioactivity in animals from these areas. At a emergency meeting between farmers and the MP, it was suggested that the Government should buy up the lambs that had been prevented from going to market, test them, and dispose of them as they saw fit. If farmers were paid £50 an animal, they would still be losing about £10 - but that would not be too bad - 90 per cent would be salvaged.

A KIRKCOWAN farmer picked up a notable double in the Belted Galloway class at the Yorkshire Show, Harrogate, last week. Barnearnie Kestrel 4th, owned by Mr W C McGeoch, took first in her class and was overall champion and, not to be outdone, her daughter Barnearnie Kerry was first in her class as a heifer.