The Gatehouse of Fleet

The town takes its name from its location near the mouth of the river called the Water of Fleet which empties into Wigtown Bay at Fleet Bay, and its former role as the “Gait House” or “the House on the Road on the River Fleet” or toll booth of the late 18th century stagecoach route from Dumfries to Stranraer, now the A75 road. It was a safe haven along this route, and travellers would often stop in the area rather than furthering the journey at night due to the high numbers of bandits and highwaymen at the time. Wikipedia

We drove a few miles from Kirkcudbright to visit the converted mill ‘The Mill on the Fleet‘ (1788) to have  a look at the art gallery and bookshop and also have coffee and cake on the terrace at the  Tart n’ Tea  café. The most delicious cream choux pastry I have ever eaten.  Cardoness Castle is on the outskirts of the town too and Cally Nursery, which I didn’t get the time to visit.


Having picked up a leaflet from the Information Office in Kirkcudbright of a Walking Tour of the town I dragged the OH off for a stroll.  I think he’d have quite happily remained on the terrace or in the second-hand bookshop if it hadn’t been closing time.

Leaving the Mill behind you cross over a pedestrian bridge and through the park to the Riverbank – a housing project built in the 1950s to cope with the overcrowding and poor conditions in Gatehouse. Turning left on to Hannay Street you pass an interesting little Episcopal Church with robin’s egg coloured painted windows.

DSCF8584And on the corner stands the rather dilapidated Ship Inn (previously Anworth Hotel) where Dorothy L Sawyers wrote Five Red Herrings. One of the Gatehouse artists of the ’20s and ’30s, Alice Sturrock, also lived along here.

The town harbour used to be here, but no longer. The river is still tidal at this point. Turn left onto the High Street and cross the road bridge.



In front of you to the left is the Spar and Post Office which were once a tannery. Opposite was a former brewery complex, now flats.


Continuing up the High Street the red sandstone building was the Town Hall. Now only the front remains, the rest of the building demolished in 1978 and replaced by a lovely little public garden that leads into Garries Park.

Naturally we took the garden route and after passing the bowling green (below) we came out on Ann Street.

Bowling Green
Bowling Green
View from the Bowling Green
View from the Bowling Green

The Cotton Mill (Scott’s Mill) at the top of Ann Street


Ann Street

Ann Street

At the bottom of Ann Street is the clock tower (1871) and on the left in the courtyard of the Murray Arms is the original gatehouse. This building predates the town and may have been an inn on the old road to the ford.

The Murray Arms
The Murray Arms

Also in Ann Street is the Masonic Arms and opposite the Cally Estate office which looks to be under renovation. This, along with other local locations, featured in the cult movie The Wickerman.

Crossing the High Street we headed along Castramont Street, past the Parish Church with masses of Philadelphus (mock orange) scenting the evening air.

a rather quirky decorated house (now this would have been a good photo for the Kitsch challenge)

and down Birtwistle Road with its rather lovely row of workers’ cottages and back into the Mill grounds by way of a gate at the end of the lane.



And the final thing I saw and photographed was a lovely oyster-catcher in the park. Now a reminder of a dear blogging friend.

oyster catcher (2)

Source: Fleet Valley Trails Town Trail leaflet (Dumfries and Galloway Council)

If you enjoy a walk, short or long, then you may enjoy visiting Jo’s Monday Walk where you are in for a treat.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

37 thoughts on “The Gatehouse of Fleet”

  1. A great description of a picturesque and interesting walk Jude.
    (Ah, ‘The Wicker Man’. Now you’re talking…)
    Regards as always, Pete. x

    1. An odd little town Pete – and an odd little film if I remember correctly, but I think I have only seen the original one with Edward Woodward and I’m not into horror films! I hadn’t realised that was filmed around this area.

  2. Jude not only did I enjoy the walk and the beautiful buildings but your variety of photographs. I think of you quite often with camera in hand and your variation in close ups and long shots. I have a harder time having the ‘eye’ for the close but am working on it. 🙂

    1. Thank you Sue, but your landscapes are pretty spectacular so don’t worry about changing your style. I spend so much time concentrating on looking at the detail in all my photography it takes me ages to finish a walk, and probably the reason that I don’t lose any weight!

      1. That made me smile Jude. I hear what you are saying about style and thank you for your generous words. Perhaps when I am not on my bike or a run I will practice. 🙂

  3. What a lovely entrance to those public gardens, Jude! That’s a nice shot 🙂 Lovely statue too! It’s a good looking place with that mix of grey and white. The flower baskets were a little strange but you can’t fault them for individuality 🙂
    Nice reference to Christine. I haven’t been back lately. I suppose the details of her posts might be up. I’ll go and check.
    Thanks again for your support, Jude. This is a beautifully put together post 🙂

    1. I am enjoying turning my posts into ‘walks’ which is often what they are. Though most of my walks do tend to happen in a garden of some sort. I shall have to join the ramblers and get more variety in my life!

  4. You certainly do Jo proud with your wonderful walks, Jude ! – and the place where Dorothy L. Sayers wrote “Five Red Herrings” ???! [gasp !]
    Surely the clocktower must have been part of a building: one wonders where that went. The removal of the bulk of the old town hall must be a one-off – replaced by GARDENS ? That would never happen Downunder, alas ! Good on ’em !
    Yes, I thought of her too, when I saw the oyster catcher …

    1. I get the impression that the clock tower has always been a standalone building. Most of the town was planned around 1760 by James Murray as an estate village to serve Cally House. It then expanded as a manufacturing centre before declining in the mid to late 1800s. It must have looked very different then.

      Many of our old buildings were pulled down prior to the listed buildings act. Even medieval buildings suffered the bulldozers of the 1960s – although some are still stored in pieces I believe.

      1. What in the name of all the gods took over the heads of councils and governments in the ’60s ?
        Come to think of it, they haven’t changed a whole lot … :-\

  5. Hey, Jude! Lovely little visit. It was the flashes of blue brilliance on the church windows and the door in a later photo that made me say, “ooohhh”

      1. Never liked navy, but used to wear lots of blues. Now I wear black 90% of the time, but throw in teal and turquoise :-). Love a blue that “pops” – like your church windows.

        Am planning to do some photo posts on specific colors because some have been jumping out at me for various reasons… soon… 🙂

    1. Very quiet as we walked around shortly after 5 pm. Quite pretty in places and very tired in others, like many places over recent years because no-one has had the finances to keep up the maintenance of older properties.

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