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, Kirkcudbrightshire, and Wigtownshire, the latter two of which are collectively known as Galloway. The administrative centre and largest settlement is the town of Dumfries. The second largest town is Stranraer, 75 miles to the west on the Irish Sea coast.
Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries an Gallowa
Dùn Phris is Gall-Ghaidhealaibh
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Lieutenancy areas||Dumfries, Kirkcudbrightshire, Wigtown|
|Admin HQ||County Buildings, Dumfries|
|• Co-Leader and Convener of council||Stephen Thompson (SNP)|
|• Co-leader and council Civic Head||Linda Dorward (Labour)|
|• Total||2,481 sq mi (6,427 km2)|
|• Rank||Ranked 3rd|
|• Rank||Ranked 13th|
|• Density||60/sq mi (23/km2)|
|ISO 3166 code||GB-DGY|
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.
The Dumfries and Galloway Council region is composed of counties and their sub-areas. From east to west:
The term Dumfries and Galloway has been used since at latest the 19th century – by 1911 the three counties had a united sheriffdom under that name. Dumfries and Galloway covers the majority of the western area of the Southern Uplands, it also hosts Scotland's most Southerly point, at the Mull of Galloway in the west of the region.
The region has a number of south running water systems which break through the Southern Uplands creating the main road, and rail, arteries north–south through the region and breaking the hills up into a number of ranges.
The A701 branches off the M74 at Beattock, goes through the town of Moffat, climbs to Annanhead above the Devil's Beef Tub (at the source of the River Annan) before passing the source of the River Tweed and carrying on to Edinburgh. Until fairly recent times the ancient route to Edinburgh travelled right up Annandale to the Beef Tub before climbing steeply to Annanhead. The present road ascends northward on a ridge parallel to Annandale but to the west of it which makes for a much easier ascent.
From Moffat the A708 heads north east along the valley of Moffat Water (Moffatdale) on its way to Selkirk. Moffatdale separates the Moffat hills (to the north) from the Ettrick hills to the south.
There are three National scenic areas within this region.
The region was created in 1975, by merging the counties of Wigtownshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Dumfriesshire as a two-tier region with the districts of Wigtownshire, Stewartry, Nithsdale, and Annandale and Eskdale within it. After 1996 the unitary authority became known as Dumfries and Galloway Council still with Wigtownshire, Stewartry, Nithsdale, Annandale and Eskdale within it.
County councils as administrative authorities were created in 1889. The present-day "Dumfries and Galloway Council Area" exists for administrative purposes. The council headquarters is at County Buildings on English Street in Dumfries.
Many of the historic counties of Britain have existed for around 1,000 years or more and are often logical geographical entities in themselves. In Scotland they originated as Sheriffdoms consisting of a group of parishes over which the sheriff had jurisdiction, replacing native "Celtic" forms of government with Norman feudal structures.
The mainline from Dumfries railway station via Newton Stewart to Stranraer Harbour railway station, was closed under the Beeching cuts. The line previously connected London Euston and the West Coast Main Line with the ferries to Larne Harbour railway station and the Port of Belfast.
The Port Road line to Stranraer was the last to go in June 1965, leaving only the original G&SWR main line open to serve the Stranraer. The Beeching cuts ended the Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway and Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Railway has resulted in adverse mileage to connect Stranraer with a longer line via Kilmarnock and Ayr.
The area is served by buses which connect the main population centres. Express bus services link the main towns with Glasgow, Ayr, Edinburgh and Carlisle. Local bus services also operate across the region.
The region also has no commercial airports; the nearest are Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Carlisle Lake District Airport. The region does host a number of private airfields. The town of Lockerbie was the scene of the Pan Am Flight 103 terrorist attack on 21 December 1988.
The main roads to and from the region are:
Police Scotland is the police force for the region. Its predecessor, Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary (dissolved 2014) was the smallest police force in the United Kingdom. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (formerly Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service) provides 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 independent lifeboat provides water rescue cover for the River Nith, surrounding rivers and inland water. Nith Inshore Rescue is a declared facility for HM Coastguard, the control centre and overseeing authority responsible for call outs.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway provides healthcare services across the region. The two main hospitals are the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary in Dumfries and Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer.
Dumfries & Galloway Council provides nursery, primary and secondary education across the region.
The region is known as a stronghold for several rare and protected species of amphibian, such as the Natterjack toad and the Great crested newt. There are also RSPB Nature Reserves at the Mull of Galloway, Wood of Cree (Galloway Forest Park), Ken Dee Marshes (near Loch Ken) and Mereshead (near Dalbeattie on the Solway Firth)
There are five 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 fishing, caravaning and camping, walking and sailing.
Dumfries and Galloway is well known for its arts and cultural activities as well as its natural environment.
The major festivals include the region-wide Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, and Spring Fling Open Studios. Other festivals include Big Burns Supper in Dumfries and the Wigtown Book Festival in Wigtown – Scotland's national book town.
Main settlements in bold text.
Before 2007, the council consisted of 47 councillors elected for a four-year term. 13 Council wards were introduced for the 2007 election, with each ward returning three or four members for a five-year term by the single transferable vote system of election. This system was introduced by the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004, to achieve a reasonably proportionately representative outcome.
The 2003 election returned a council with no party having overall control. A 'silver' coalition was first formed, involving all parties but Conservative and Labour. After this coalition resigned Labour took minority control of the council. The following councillors were elected:
|Scottish National Party||5|
The 2007 election returned the following councillors:
|Scottish National Party||10|
After the resignation of Bruce Hodgson (Conservative councillor for the Abbey ward) a by-election was held on 1 May 2008, and Michael Thomson (Conservative) was elected as the replacement councillor. On 20 May 2008, Councillor Robert Higgins stood down as Scottish National Party (SNP) Group Leader, after he received a triple driving ban for reckless driving. Similarly Councillor John Charteris (Conservative) was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £500 after he admitted to drunk driving at Dumfries Sheriff Court on 29 August 2008
The 2012 election returned the following councillors:
|Scottish National Party||10|
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 elections.
The 2017 election returned the following councillors:
|Scottish National Party||11|
The council is controlled by a power-sharing deal between Labour and the SNP.
Dumfries and Galloway Socialist Group
Liberal Democrat Group
Dalveen Pass from Comb Head summit, near Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.
Sweetheart Abbey, Dumfries and Galloway (Scotland)
Orchardton Tower, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve. View across the Nith Estuary, close to the Solway Firth, Dumfries & Galloway.
Tongland Power station.
Mull of Galloway headland.
Mull of Galloway Lighthouse.
A Machars beach.
Machars Coastline looking south from Cruggleton Castle.
The remains of Cruggleton Castle.
The Machars, as viewed from Torrs Warren with Luce Bay standing between.
The Devil's Beef Tub.
Port William harbour.
River Nith Estuary.