Listen to an Introduction:
ochmaben is surrounded by seven lochs. The water and the fertile soil have made it a place of habitation since the earliest times. The largest loch, Castle Loch, contains a crannog – an artificial island created as a lake dwelling which is nearly 60 yards long and just under 40 yards wide.
The island was made of brushwood, peat, stone and logs, and would have been surrounded by a wooden palisade. It probably dates back to the Bronze Age but could have been in use until the end of the 16th century when crannogs were finally prohibited by the Scottish Parliament. A causeway ran part of the way to the shore with dug-out canoes or flat-bottomed boats being used to complete the crossing. Examples which were preserved in the mud are in the Dumfries Museum .
Locus Maponis of the Ravenna Chronicle is also referred to in an inscription found at the Roman fort at Birrens. The Celtic god Mabon shared the same attributes as the Roman Apollo and dedications have been found on Hadrian’s Wall, with an altar stone dedicated by four German mercenaries and also as an inscription on a silver crescent-shaped necklace found at Vindolanda.
An ancient healing well used to exist on the site of what is now Lochmaben caravan park. The well was levelled in the 20th century and no trace of it remains but it was approached by a downward flight of steps and had a circular freestone wall and roof. It was well known for its healing properties and presumably was in use long before its 12th century dedication to St Mary Magdalene.
How to get here
Lochmaben. Continue east on the B725 to Dalton and then north on the B7020 to Lochmaben. The loch is on your right and there is a picnic spot with a good view of the loch and the Crannog.
Places to Visit and Things to Do
The second Lochmaben Castle was completed some time in the early 1300s, leaving Lochmaben Old Castle abandoned, and probably already stripped of much of its stone to help build its successor. Today only the motte of the old castle remains, as one of the greens of a golf course.
Eskrigg Reserve and the adjacent woodland walks offer visitors the opportunity to relax in peaceful surroundings and observe or photograph the resident fungi, flora and fauna. Some may prefer to be a bit more energetic and explore a range of habitats, walk their dogs or try out the mountain bike trail.
This cottage is unique to the area and is the only remaining example of this type of construction which would be common in the 18th and 19th century. The cottage is owned by Solway Heritage and is maintained and run by the Cruck Cottage Heritage Association. It can be visited at any time of the year.
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Buy the Book by Robin Crichton
The History behind the Legend
This is the true story behind the legend of Merlin. Born of a royal family to a life of privilege and luxury, his place in society was ordained until he lost everything in a bloodbath of pillage and genocide. Forced to live on the run he survived as an outlaw hiding out in a cave, living off what the forest could provide.
It is the story of the clash between Christianity and traditional belief – a duel between St Mungo the priest and Merlin the pagan, played out against a webs of late 6th century political intrigue and the strife of a land tearing itself apart.
Until now, our Early Dark Age heritage has been largely ignored by historians because of the lack of cross-checkable written data. This book combines history, archaeology, etymology, topography, botany and folk memory in a giant jigsaw. With nearly 150 colour illustrations and maps, the book is accompanied by a gazetteer of 28 Dark Age sites. It presents the evidence, suggests various interpretations and invites the reader to be the historical detective.
For further information: contact Robin Crichton – Email email@example.com