Visit The Roost, Gretna Green: Places to stay, things to do

Sarah-Jane Cherrie recommends Gretna Green to see one of the best starling roosts in the world. Marriage optional!

Sunday at Tindale with Lee & Fred

Why Go There?

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Most people think of marriage when you mention Gretna Green. This small town just inside Scotland holds another secret. Every evening at sun down throughout winter you can see one of the best starling roosts in the world.

Turn off the M6 at Gretna and head for Kirkpatrick Fleming on the B7076. Along this road are many lay-bys.

Little groups of starlings fly over your head getting into formation. Initially some birds of prey try their luck, but are soon seen off by volume of numbers. The Roost gradually transforms into a shape shifting black mass that moves as one. It seems more like a swarm, a storm of biblical proportions or something from the movies created on computer. It forms waves, it separates and crashes head on.

Where to Stay?

Caelaverock WWT Reserve has accommodation in the heart of the reserve. The Farmhouse has its own observation tower with views over the reserve, Criffel, the Solway Firth, the Isle of Mull and the Lake District. All proceeds from The Farmhouse are put back into the reserve.

What to Eat?

The World Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green. Sample traditional Scottish foods, Scottish Whiskeys and trace your Scottish roots.

Local Secret

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In 1951, Sir William Keswick commissioned Henry Moore to make him some sculptures. Walk amongst four Moores, a Jacob Epstein and a Rodin. 7.5 miles west of Dumfries, Glenkiln Sculpture Park is open all year round but beware, there are no signs advertising its whereabouts. Be prepared for some map reading and detective work.