Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries an Gallowa
Dùn Phris is Gall-Ghaidhealaibh
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Stewartry of Kirkcudbright
|Admin HQ||County Buildings, English Street, Dumfries|
|• Leader||Gail MacGregor (Cons)|
|• Total||6,426 km2 (2,481 sq mi)|
|• Rank||Ranked 3rd|
|• Rank||Ranked 13th|
|• Density||23/km2 (60/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||GB-DGY|
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 covers 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, on the North Channel coast, some 76 miles (122 km) to the west 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. The districts were abolished in 1996, since when Dumfries and Galloway has been a unitary local authority. For lieutenancy purposes, the area is divided into three lieutenancy areas called Dumfries, Wigtown and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, broadly corresponding to the three historic counties.
To the north, Dumfries and Galloway borders East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, and South Lanarkshire; in the east the Borders; and to the south the unitary authority of Cumberland in England and the Solway Firth.
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 least 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.
Transport in the region is operated by bus companies Houston's, McEwan's, Stagecoach Western and McCall's coaches, and train operators ScotRail, TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast.
The region has seven working railway stations. All are on the Glasgow South Western Line, except Lockerbie which is on the West Coast Main Line.
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.
Dumfries and Galloway is home to two ports which have services to Northern Ireland, both are in the West of the region. Stena Line and P&O Irish Sea both have a port in the village of Cairnryan.
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.
Largest settlements by population:
|Settlement||Population (mid-2020 est.)|
Main settlements in bold text.
Dumfries and Galloway
since 7 March 2023
since 7 March 2023
since July 2022
17 / 43
11 / 43
8 / 43
1 / 43
6 / 43
|Single transferable vote|
|6 May 2022|
|Council Offices, 113 English Street, Dumfries, DG1 2DD|
See also: Category:Wards of Dumfries and Galloway
Prior to 1975, the area that is now Dumfries and Galloway was administered as three separate counties: Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire, and Wigtownshire. The counties of Scotland originated as sheriffdoms, which were established from the twelfth century, consisting of a group of parishes over which a sheriff had jurisdiction. An elected county council was established for each county in 1890 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889.
The three county councils were abolished in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, which established a two-tier structure of local government across Scotland comprising upper-tier regions and lower-tier districts. A region called Dumfries and Galloway was created covering the area of the three counties, which were abolished as administrative areas. The region contained four districts:
Further local government reform in 1996 under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 saw the area's four districts abolished, with the Dumfries and Galloway Council taking over the functions they had previously performed. The council continues to use the areas of the four abolished districts as committee areas. The four former districts are also used to define the area's three lieutenancy areas, with Nithsdale and Annandale and Eskdale together forming the Dumfries lieutenancy, the Stewartry district corresponding to the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright lieutenancy, and the Wigtown district corresponding to the Wigtown lieutenancy.
The council headquarters is at the Council Offices at 113 English Street in Dumfries, which had been built in 1914 as the headquarters for the old Dumfriesshire County Council, previously being called "County Buildings".
The first election to the Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council was held in 1974, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new system came into force on 16 May 1975. A shadow authority was again elected in 1995 ahead of the reforms which came into force on 1 April 1996. Political control of the council since 1975 has been as follows:
|Party in control||Years|
|No overall control||1994–1996|
|Party in control||Years|
|No overall control||1996–present|
Since 2007 the council has been required to designate a leader of the council. The leader may also act as the convener, chairing council meetings, or the council may choose to appoint a different councillor to be convener. Prior to 2007 the council sometimes chose to appoint a leader, and sometimes did not. The leaders since 2007 have been:
|Ivor Hyslop||Conservative||15 May 2007||1 Oct 2013|
|Ronnie Nicholson||Labour||1 Oct 2013||23 May 2017|
|Elaine Murray||Labour||23 May 2017||5 May 2022|
|Stephen Thompson||SNP||24 May 2022||3 Feb 2023||Co-leaders, with Thompson being the civic head and convener and Dorward being the depute convener.|
|Stephen Thompson||SNP||3 Feb 2023||28 Feb 2023|
|Gail Macgregor||Conservative||7 Mar 2023||Malcolm Johnstone (CON) as Depute Leader of the Council and Convenor|
Since 2007 elections have been held every five years under 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. Election results since 1995 have been as follows:
|1999||47||8||5||13||6||15||New ward boundaries.|
|2007||47||18||10||14||3||2||New ward boundaries. Conservative and SNP coalition.|
|2012||47||14||10||15||1||7||Conservative / SNP coalition until October 2013. Labour / SNP coalition until June 2014. Minority Labour administration 2014–2017.|
|2017||43||16||11||11||1||4||New ward boundaries. Labour and SNP coalition.|
|2022||43||16||11||9||1||6||SNP and Independent Group Coalition with Labour support until February 2023. Conservative minority administration from March 2023.|
The council area is divided into 12 wards that elect 43 councilors:
|Ward Number||Ward Name||Location||Seats|
|1||Stranraer and the Rhins||4|
|2||Mid Galloway and Wigtown West||4|
|3||Dee and Glenkens||3|
|4||Castle Douglas and Crocketford||3|
|6||North West Dumfries||4|
|7||Mid and Upper Nithsdale||3|
|12||Annandale East and Eskdale||3|
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.