Kirkcudbrightshire is uniquely termed a stewartry (and is sometimes known as “the Stewartry”) though if there is a distinction it is to all intents and purposes a shire.
Kirkcudbrightshire forms the eastern part of Galloway, the region which runs along the northern shore of the Solway Firth and Irish Sea. The county has Dumfriesshire to the east and Wigtownshire to the west; The Solway laps its south, while over the hills are Ayrshire and Lanarkshire.
The coast on the Solway Firth is deeply indented as the dales open their rivers into it, so that the one road traversing the county east to west is alternative coastal and inland.
The main towns and villages stand in the lower-lying coastal district and the dales which run from the north to the Solway, in particular that of the Water of Fleet, amongst them the county town, Kirkcudbright, on the Dee; a beautiful old market town the pronunciation of whose name, for itself and in the name of the county, has puzzled many (it is pronounced ”kercoobree”).
Away from the coastal plain, the Southern Uplands rise with particular grandeur in Kirkcudbrightshire and the county top, Merrick, in the Range of the Awful Hand, is the highest in the whole of the Southern Uplands.
County Town: Kirkcudbright
Main Towns: Castle Douglas, Creetown, Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbright, New Galloway.
Main Rivers: Dee, Urr.
Highlights: Clatteringshaw Dam wildlife centre; Dundrennan Abbey; Glenkens; McLellan’s Castle.
Highest Point: Merrick Mountain, 2,766 feet.
Area: 899 sq miles
County Flower: Bog-rosemary