From Our Files

50 Years Ago – September 30, 1961

A remarkable contrast is evident in the annual report of Wigtown County Library, showing that the number of books issued from centres in the Machars has risen considerably, whereas the figures for the Rhins district and the county as a whole have been on the decrease over the past year. Of the four burghs, Stranraer’s seven centres in the town issued more than 3000 books fewer than in 1959-60, the figure going down from 19,635 to 16,539. On the other hand, Newton Stewart saw a healthy rise of 8869 in the number of books issued, due mainly to an increase of more than 9000 for the branch library. The only other big rise in the town was at St Ninian’s centre, which saw an increase of 500 books over the previous year. The books stock in the county library now amounts to 57,141, and the annual expenditure for the library service in the county was £8694, working out at 5s 9d per head of population.

AMUSEMENT was caused at the meeting of the Presbytery of Wigtown on Tuesday when the minister of Kirkmabreck, the Rev CVA MacEchern, asked the clerk of the presbytery if he had received any government direction about noise abatement. He understood, he said, that the Kirkmabreck church bells could be heard across the bay in Wigtown, but he had not received any complaint as yet. The clerk said he was quite sure that the minister of Wigtown would have his emigration officers ready to control any departure from Wigtown across the bay to Kirkmabreck when the church bells rang.

25 Years Ago – October 4, 1986

HISTORY was made in Newton Stewart this week when a world record price of £28,000 was paid for a blackfaced tup at Newton Stewart ram sales. The tup was sold by William Hogg of Cambret and Clauchreid, Creetown, and was bought in a joint deal by Messrs Ian Bond of Glen, Gatehouse, and Graham McClymont of Cuil, Palnure. The previous world record was £21,000 for a blackfaced tup sold at Newton Stewart ram sale in 1978. The build-up to the world record began at midday when the ring began to get more crowded and it seemed as if the farmers were gathering to witness something important. At around 1.30pm, a tup was pushed into the ring and the bidding began at £500, but before you could say “mint sauce” the price had risen through the thousands and almost exactly a minute after the bidding began the world record was reached and then passed. Afterwards, a delighted Graham McClymont said: “We would have continued to bid for that tup no matter what until we had got him.”

THE Creetown bypass was opened today by Mr Michael Ancram, Minister for Local Government and the Environment. The £5 million stretch of road will play an important role in encouraging tourists to the Solway coast, said Mr Ancram. That the bypass was completed 11 months ahead of schedule, despite some very unseasonal weather last summer, was greatly to the benefit of local residents and was due to two factors: the effort put in by the workforce and because the settlement rock for the causeway was achieved more quickly then was expected. The construction had used 140,000 cubit metres of granite from the stone quarries at Kirkmabreck.