It seems that many of us who have Dinwoodie roots have a yearning to visit the place of our origen. I know I have dreamed of visiting there for some time, and I must not be alone as many family members have sign the guest book at Dinwoodie Mains. My opportunity came at the end of 2000 when some very reasonable rates were offered by the airlines, so my wife and I made the pilgrimage just after Christmas. It was certainly worth the effort and expense. We were able to meet some wonderful people, complete some valuable research, and see for ourselves the beautiful countryside. Below is an excerpt from my journal on the day we visited Dinwoodie.

Jim Warr

Tuesday January 2, 2001. It was cloudy, with some light rain, as we left our hotel in Glasgow and drove down to Moffat (about an hours drive) to begin our tour of the Dinwoodie area. It had been raining heavily all night and melted almost all of the snow which had fallen over new years. The temperature was now +11 C rather than the -15 it was during the previous week. The change is dramatic, like going from winter to summer in a day or two. All the hills and vales are a beautiful emerald green and there are interspersed stands of dark green spruce. And here and there scattered flocks of sheep grazing on the hillsides.

We got off the expressway at the Moffat exit, and took one of the narrow lanes, on the east side of the motorway, south towards Lockerbie. A little west of Moffat, we came upon a small fortified tower, visible just off the main road. I imagine that the Dinwoodie Tower would have been similar in appearance. Several miles farther south we stopped at the old Kirkpatrick Juxta Chruch and Graveyard. Then a little past Wamphray we came to Dinwoodie Mains, which was probably the center of the old Dinwoodie estate. It is about 500 feet back from the main lane, and is surrounded by pasture land, separated by rail fences and rock walls.

I knocked on the door and was greeted by Margaret Hall, wife of the current tenant of the farm. The Halls are from Ireland and are farming a 200 acre portion of the old estate. Mrs. Hall gave me permission to walk around and take some pictures. I took quite a few, including the Dinwoodie crest which is over the old doorway. She invited us in the house to sign the guest book, which included a lot of Dinwoodies from around the world who have visit the place. I recognized many of the names from my research on the Internet. Then her husband came in and we talked with them for some time.

They were very friendly, but have only been there 2 years so couldn't give us much information. They did say that there is an old farmer who has lived in the area for 60 years, but we didn't have time to go look him up (I believe he lives at Broomhillbank Farm). Mr. Hall showed us where the old Dinwoodie tower used to stand, just to the west of the farmhouse in the middle of a pasture. There is only a low mound of earth there now. (I later walked out to it a took one of the loose stones for a souvenir.) He says that about 10 years ago the former farmer found a silver bell (about 10" diameter) buried on the mound, which he promptly sold. The Halls have found 2 small, old, broken porcelain dolls on the mound site which were apparently toys of some former Dinwoodie child. Mr. Hall gave us permission to climb to the top of Dinwoodie Hill, which I have wanted to do for some time. (Incidently the Hall’s operate a Bed and Breakfast at Dinwoodie Mains for 16 pounds/person/night which would be very convinient for anyone wanting to get a local feel, and better explore the area.)

There is a paved road going east past the Mains, over the railroad tracks, past the site of the former railway station, and thence to the base of the hill. Then a dirt road/trail takes you the rest of the way.

We parked at the end of the pavement and checked with the owner of the last house on the lane to be sure it was all right. He gave permission, and mentioned that the old time resident farmer (Richie Strewhawn) lived next to him and had lived there for 60 years. We didn’t have a chance to visit him, but he should be a good source for information.

Dinwoodie (or Broomhillbank as it is now called) hill is the highest point on a north-south trending ridge which rises with a gentle sloop to a crest about 500 feet higher than the adjacent valley. It is mostly covered by sheep pasture, with a few scattered patches of introduced spruce trees. It didn’t appear to be very far to the top when we started walking, but was at least a mile to the top from the end of the pavement. On the way up we passed a spring and an ancient rock sheep fold. There were quite a few sheep grazing in the pastures along the way. Everything was very wet from the rain and snow melt. We passed through several swampy areas which I guessed could be called moors. The view from the top (it is the tallest hill for about 5 miles) was beautiful with green pastures extending out in every direction, interspersed with the occasional farmhouse, or patch of spruce trees. The crest of the hill had been circumscribed by a 6-10 foot deep trench, which the history says was a Roman fortification. The enclosure was about 300 feet across, and is marked on the map as a Roman Fort. There is supposed to be an old Roman Road which goes right along the crest of the ridge, but I couldn't find any evidence of it. One of the old ordinance maps shows a Dinwoodie Graveyard on the south side of the hill, but I had forgotten that map so didn’t find it. But looking at the map later, I think I went right by it. We took a lot of photos and videos, then back to the car. We drove south to the Dinwoodie Lodge, where we had planned to have lunch, but they were closed for the holidays. The Lodge is off by itself on one of the main local roads. Behind it are 4-8 white stucco guest cottages. We drove a little farther south to the Dinwoodie Green Farm which was at the end of a lane. By then it was getting late so we went to Johnston Bridge to visit the old Johnston Kirk while it was still light enough to see the grave markings. It had started to drizzle by then, which is I suppose, appropriate weather for a graveyard visit. The church is several hundred yards downstream (south) from the village of Johnston Bridge, on the bank of the Annan River. It is a very old building,and the graveyard has the typical 6 foot high sandstone monuments, all standing at attention like troops in formation. I found 4 or 5 Dinwoodie stones, but didn't have time to look at all of them. (That wasn’t critical as I had already gotten all the names from this location which have been catalogued on microfilm.) It was now almost dark so we headed back on the expressway to Glasgow. And so ended our day in Annandale.