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Balmaclellan is a small village with a widely spread rural community, on the east side of the River Ken, opposite to New Galloway. From the war memorial there is a panoramic view westwards over the Rhinns of Kells and other surrounding hills. On the east side of the village another impressive range stretches five miles from Barscobe Hill to Fell Hill.
Other, more easily accessible walks are available on roads and paths and the Glenkens Jubilee Walk links Balmaclellan with New Galloway and Dalry. A nature reserve surrounds the Lowes Lochs, whilst red kites and black grouse are two of a wide range of wildlife to be seen in the area.
Balmaclellan village is overlooked by a 12th century motte, flanked by the Old Edinburgh road, used in the Middle Ages by pilgrims on their way to St Ninian’s shrine at Whithorn. Completed in 1648, Barscobe Castle, about a mile out of Balmaclellan village, is a good example of the last phase of tower house building in Scotland.
Balmaclellan has strong Covenanter associations. A statue in the churchyard commemorates Robert Paterson, Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Old Mortality’ who, up to his death in 1801, travelled the countryside carving and renovating memorials to Covenanters. His wife, left to care for the family, established a school in Balmaclellan village, which can still be seen.
As its hub, Balmaclellan village has a shop which provides a warm and friendly welcome to all visitors. Crafts in the village are well represented with the delightful clog and shoe workshop, a pottery and an artist’s studio and gallery, all offering a hospitable reception.