United Kingdom: Dumfries & Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway (Scots: Dumfries an Gallowa; Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Phrìs is Gall-Ghaidhealaibh) is one of 32 unitary council areas of Scotland and is located in the western Southern Uplands. It comprises the historic counties of Dumfriesshire, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright and Wigtownshire, the latter two of which are collectively known as Galloway. The administrative centre is the town of Dumfries.

Following the 1975 reorganisation of local government in Scotland, the three counties were joined to form a single region of Dumfries and Galloway, with four districts within it. Since the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, however, it has become a unitary local authority. For lieutenancy purposes, the historic counties are largely maintained with its three lieutenancy areas being Dumfries, Wigtown and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.

To the north, Dumfries and Galloway borders East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire; in the east the Borders; and to the south the county of Cumbria in England and the Solway Firth. To the west lies the Irish Sea.

There are three National Scenic Areas within this region.

Nith Estuary: this area follows the River Nith southward from just south of Dumfries into the Solway Firth. Dumfries itself has a rich history going back over 800 years as a Royal Burgh (1186) and is particularly remembered as the place where Robert the Bruce murdered the Red Comyn in 1306 before being crowned King of Scotland – and where Robert Burns spent his last years. His mausoleum is in St Michael's graveyard. Going down the east bank there is the village of Glencaple, Caerlaverock Castle, Caerlaverock Wild Fowl Trust, an ancient Roman fort on Ward Law Hill and nearby in Ruthwell is the Ruthwell Cross and the Brow Well where Robert Burns "took the waters" and bathed in the Solway just before his death. On the west bank, there are several walks and cycle routes in Mabie Forest, Kirkconnell Flow for the naturalist, the National Museum of Costume just outside New Abbey and Sweetheart Abbey within the village. Criffel (569 metres) offers the hill walker a reasonably modest walk with views across the Solway to the Lake District. The house of John Paul Jones founder of the American Navy is also open to visitors near Kirkbean.
East Stewartry Coast: this takes in the coast line from Balcary Point eastward across Auchencairn Bay and the Rough Firth past Sandyhills to Mersehead. There are several coastal villages within this area – Auchencairn, Kippford, Colvend, Rockcliffe, and Portling. There is also a round tower at Orchardton and the islands of Hestan Isle and Rough Island can be reached at low tide outside the breeding season for birds. Mersehead is a wildfowl reserve. The area has a number of coastal paths.
Fleet Valley: this area takes in Fleet Bay with its holiday destinations of Auchenlarie, Mossyard Bay, Cardoness, Sandgreen and Carrick Shore. The area also includes the town of Gatehouse of Fleet and the historic villages of Anworth and Girthon – there is a castle at Cardoness in the care of Historic Scotland.

The Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary (Dissolved 2013 and now Police Scotland) is the police force for the region, and is the smallest in the United Kingdom. Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service provide firefighting services across the region. The Coastguard, Lifeboats, Moffat mountain rescue and Galloway Mountain Rescue also offer emergency services across Dumfries and Galloway.

Nith Inshore Rescue is based at Glencaple. This an independent lifeboat providing water rescue cover for the River Nith, surrounding rivers and inland water. Nith Inshore Rescue is a declared facility for HM Coastguard who are the control centre and overseeing authority responsible for call outs.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway provide healthcare services across the region. The two main hospitals are the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary in Dumfries and Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer.

There are five of the world class 7Stanes mountain biking centres in Dumfries and Galloway at Dalbeattie, Mabie, Ae, Glentrool and Kirroughtree. The Sustrans Route 7 long distance cycle route also runs through the region. There is excellent hill walking in the Moffat Hills, Lowther Hills the Carsphairn and Scaur Hills and Galloway Hills. The Southern Upland Way coast to coast walk passes through Dumfries and Galloway and the 53-mile long Annandale Way travels from the Solway Firth into the Moffat hills near the Devil's Beef Tub. There is also fresh water sailing on Castle Loch at Lochmaben and at various places on Loch Ken Loch Ken also offers waterskiing and wakeboarding. The Solway Firth coastline offers endless fishing, caravaning and camping, walking and sailing opportunities.

The council was controlled by a Conservative and Scottish National Party (SNP) coalition until late 2013, when the resignation of seven Conservative councillors left the coalition without an outright majority. The council was then controlled from October 2013 by a Labour and SNP coalition until June 2014 when the SNP left due to concerns about how a decision was taken to site a learning hub in Dumfries. The council was then run by a minority administration led by Scottish Labour and Craig Peacock an Independent until the 2017 Scottish local elections.

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