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High in the Lowther Hills to the west of the M74 in Dumfries and Galloway, Wanlockhead is Scotland’s highest village at 467m (1531 ft).

Built in 1848, the dull grey bulk of Wanlockhead Miners’ Church stands out among the painted cottages of the modern village. With boarded up windows and sagging roof, what was once the centre of the village now stands neglected. There may be some hope for its preservation in that there are plans to incorporate it into the Museum of Lead Mining which is the present centre of focus in the village.

Wanlockhead Miners’ Church is an Historic Scotland Category C Listed building (HB Number 17190).

Wanlockhead 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)
Canon 18-55mm IS lens


Three bracketed JPGs converted to HDR in Photomatix.

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

Featured in : United Kingdom : 12 Nov 09

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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  • cherylc1
    cherylc1about 5 years ago

    Awesome capture Tom!!!

  • Thank you so much dear Cheryl …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Brenda Dow
    Brenda Dowabout 5 years ago

    Ah Tom, the gloomy sky adds a sadness to the demise of this beautiful old building… I hope it will be renovated and not left to die a slow death!!!!
    Your capture is perfect!!!! Color intensity, DOF, angle that you chose as your presentation….. lighting…. perfectly captured!!!!!

  • Thank you dear Brenda. I do hope they restore it, it would be such a shame to lose it. Luckily it is a Historic Scotland Listed Building so they can not just knock it down. I thought about cleaning the shot up by removing all the clutter (fences on the right and caravan, old car and traffic cones on the left), but decided to leave them in to emphasise the run down nature of the area …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Trish Meyer
    Trish Meyerabout 5 years ago

    The leaden skies go perfectly with the focus of this shot. Sad story, but an often true ending for many beautiful old buildings. Hope this one can be saved.

  • Thank you so much Trish, it would be such a shame to lose this fine old building …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Bootiewootsy
    Bootiewootsyabout 5 years ago

    It would be a shame to lose such a wonderful landmark of history.. Well captured Tom.

  • Thank you so much Carol, I agree. Hopefully, the Lead Museum will take it on if they can find the funding …

    – Tom Gomez

  • MichelleR
    MichelleRabout 5 years ago

    This is a wonderful image. Another beautiful shot. Well done.

  • Thank you kindly Michelle …

    – Tom Gomez

  • DonDavisUK
    DonDavisUKabout 5 years ago


  • Thank you Don, always appreciated …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Robin Brown
    Robin Brownabout 5 years ago

    Cracking shot of a ‘cracking’ building Tom, not been there for a while. Needs a bit of TLC!!!

  • Thank you Robin, it certainly does …

    – Tom Gomez

  • BCImages
    BCImagesabout 5 years ago

    excellent work tom

  • Thank you kindly Steve …

    – Tom Gomez

  • anaisnais
    anaisnaisabout 5 years ago

    There’s something very atmospheric and dramatical about this building, I’m intriuged further… Great ‘almost moody’ capture here Tom, well done!

  • Thank you so much Anna-Marie, sadly the building has ben allowed to deteriorate, but hopefully, it can be rescued …

    – Tom Gomez

  • foppe47
    foppe47about 5 years ago

    Great shot of this impressive building

  • Thank you Foppe, very much appreciated …

    – Tom Gomez

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