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Burnside Cottages in Wanlockhead, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

High in the Lowther Hills to the west of the M74, Wanlockhead is Scotland’s highest village at 467m (1531 ft). It owes its existence to the lead, gold and other minerals found under the surrounding countryside.

These mineral deposits were probably first exploited by the Romans and from the 1200s they were being worked again by groups of miners who gathered here each summer. The first permanent settlement appeared in about 1680, when the Duke of Buccleuch built a lead smelting plant and workers’ cottages that could be occupied all year round.

Although lead was for many centuries the mainstay of the village’s economy, it was not the only mineral found here. What became known as “God’s Treasure House” also produced zinc, copper, silver and gold. Some of the world’s purest gold, at 22.8 carats, was found locally and used in the Regalia of the Scottish Crown.

Today’s Wanlockhead depends primarily on tourism. The Southern Upland Way long distance footpath passes through the village, but the main attraction for the motoring tourist revolves around the village’s industrial past.

Information from Undiscovered Scotland.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi in the USA)
Exif data from the JPG
F-stop f/5
ISO 200
Focal length 44 mm


Three bracketed JPGs converted to HDR in Photomatix.

Related shots can be found at: Wanlockhead and Lowland Scotland.

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All images shown in this redbubble portfolio are owned by the artist, Tom Gomez and are protected under UK and International copyright laws. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any part of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. All rights reserved. My images are NOT part of the public domain.

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  • Andrew Ness -
    Andrew Ness - ...over 5 years ago

    Still can’t believe how clear these shots are Tomg! Wonderful composition and love the added bonus of the sheep half way up!

  • Cheers Andy. The sheep tend to wander anywhere in the village. You need to be careful where you step …

    – Tom Gomez

  • cherylc1
    cherylc1over 5 years ago

    Love the old building!!! outstanding!!!!!!!!!

  • Thank you so much Cheryl …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Virginia N. Fred
    Virginia N. Fredover 5 years ago

    Beautiful work Tom, you live in such a beautiful place

  • Thank you Gina, yes I think I am quite lucky to live here …

    – Tom Gomez

  • hereforfun
    hereforfunover 5 years ago

    Very pretty country scene !! love the sheep meandering down the path

  • Thank you Trudi. The sheep wander all over the village …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Barbara Manis
    Barbara Manisover 5 years ago

    Another great capture, Tom! Interesting old cottage!

  • Thank you Barbara, the whole village is like this …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Robin Brown
    Robin Brownover 5 years ago

    Bin there Tom!!!! You could make a sales broucher with all your fine Photographs & sell Wanlockhead to the tourists. The village would errect a statue to you. The only Estate agent in the village!! LOL

  • Cheers mate, you are always so supportive, I really appreciate it …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Phillip M. Burrow
    Phillip M. Burrowover 5 years ago

    These are wonderful Tom. What a great find. It’s really hard to grasp the history. You speak about 700 and 800 year old buildings the way we Americans do 200 or 300 ones. It really is amazing. Great work!

  • Thanks for the great comment Phillip, I’m pleased you like it, however, Wanlockhead would be what we would class as a relatively new village. The village started out in 1680, when the Duke of Buccleuch built a lead smelting plant and workers’ cottages. The difference with this village is that it is quite remote and so has changed very little over the last few hundred years (most other towns have continued to grow and evolve). For instance, the town I live in, South Queensferry is considerably older, but has continued to grow over the centuries.

    – Tom Gomez

  • Denis Molodkin
    Denis Molodkinover 5 years ago

    Excellent work, well done!

  • Thank you so much Denis …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Catherine Hamilton-Veal  ©
    Catherine Hami...over 5 years ago

    this is perfect Tom and has to be a fave, wonderful work.x

  • Thank you so much Catherine and I appreciate the fave …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Brandie1
    Brandie1over 5 years ago

    Lovely shot.

  • Thank you for your lovely comment Brandie …

    – Tom Gomez

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