European project group visits Gatehouse

A Grundtvig European Life Long Learning project group visited Gatehouse on 28 and 29 May to look at what the Gatehouse Development Initiative is doing to promote the local rural heritage.


The Rural Heritage Promoter project group was welcomed to the Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse of Fleet by Provost Pat Jacques and Councilor Colin Wyper.  The 21 strong group of visitors from across Europe joined members of the Gatehouse Development Initiative in a project meeting aimed at strengthening local involvement in the promotion of Europe's rural heritage.

At the Mill on the Fleet, the group looked at the situation facing each of the communities in the project  and the action which they are taking to use their built and natural heritage to improve opportunities for local tourism.  The Gatehouse Development Initiative drew attention to the Trusty's Hill project where local people have been trained to lead guided walks to the Trusty's hill archaeological site.

Project members later visited Knockbrex Hill at Carrick where National Scenic Area officer Anna Johnson explained how local people had chosen the NSA viewpoints.  The group went on to Cream o' Galloway, where they heard how the Finlay family is promoting sustainable agriculture and the production of ice cream and cheese.

On 29 May the group carried out a number of visits within the Fleet Valley National Scenic Area and the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere.  They were welcomed to the Cairnsmore National Nature Reserve by Peadar O' Connell of Scottish Natural Heritage and also saw members of the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain  restoring a section of granite dyke.  Biosphere officer Nic Coombey spoke of the importance of maintaining the craft of dry stone dyking and explained how the Association, whose roots were in Gatehouse, promoted the craft and ran local dyking courses. The group then went on to the River Fleet where the Galloway Fisheries Trust explained how local volunteers, such as the Fleet Valley National Scenic Area volunteers were playing an increasing role in maintaining Galloway rivers including being trained to control invasive species.  Following a brief visit to the Designed Landscape of Cally, where the GDI has been active in projects to conserve important features of the designed landscape,the group returned to the Mill on the Fleet where they had a buffet lunch prepared by Gatehouse Deli owner Sue Best.

GDI chairman David Steel thanked all those who had helped to make the visit a great success.

Presentation at Dromore Visitor Centre

Demonstration of Drystone Dyking by the Drystone Walling Association

Elecrofishing on the Fleet with the Galloway Fisheries Trust