Pupils at Kirkcolm and Leswalt Schools were recently transported into the past to find out about the Kilmorie Cross, the nationally important 10th Century stone in Kirkcolm churchyard.
Groups visited the Cross with an old wise ‘monk’ who explained some of the stories depicted in the stone – including the saga of Sigurd, a Viking superhero, who killed a fierce dragon with his magic sword.
In Kirkcolm Hall ‘Sven’, a young blacksmith and warrior, showed pupils around his camp and told them about his work, and they all got a chance to have a go at trying to make axe heads and spears. Having heard the stories of the Kilmorie Cross the groups also created their own ‘Story Stones’ using symbols to tell some fantastic tales.

The afternoon started with a Settler’s game which showed how communities would have lived and developed in the past and finished with the pupils forming a shield wall – just in time for the weapons display and fight re-enactment!

One of the Kirkcolm pupil’s said “It is really cool to think these things were around all those years ago and we can still see them today!”
Mrs Baillie, partnership Headteacher said “Our senior pupils from Kirkcolm and Leswalt really enjoyed their day of learning together. All of the pupils were enthusiastic and actively involved in discovering more about local history. I could see how motivated and interested they were throughout the day. They will certainly remember the experiences provided and have already been able to share their learning with others. It really did bring the local heritage of the area alive”.

The school project launched the community engagement programme for the Rhins of Galloway Coastal Path. The new coastal route will provide opportunities for people to actively explore, access and enjoy the spectacular coastline and seascapes of the Rhins, and to find out about its fascinating natural and cultural heritage.

As well as involving local schools, the engagement programme, which runs over the next two years, includes a Community Archaeology project which will commence with talks and workshops over the winter period. There will be lots of opportunities for people to get involved in the survey and recording of archaeological sites during the project.

Peter Ross, Chair of the Rhins of Galloway Coast Path Steering Group said: “Local communities and other organisations have been working with Dumfries and Galloway Council on developing the Rhins of Galloway Coast Path project over the last 6 years. Now, with funding in place, it’s great that the public engagement in the project has got off to such a good start and we are looking forward to providing lots of other opportunities for people to get involved and find out more.”
Rob Davidson, Chair of Economy and Resources Committee said: “With the match funding from the Heritage Lottery and the Coastal Communities Fund, the Council is creating the new route which will complete an 83-mile circuit around the Rhins, by joining to the existing Mull of Galloway Trail (opened by Stranraer Rotary Club in 2012). The new Rhins of Galloway Coast Path will link to the wider network of long-distance routes, including the Southern Upland Way and the Ayrshire Coastal Path. It is hoped that this new project will be recognised as one of Scotland’s Great Trails.”
Archie Dryburgh, Vice Chair of Economy and Resources Committee said: “It is fantastic to see a new project promoting the rich heritage of the Rhins coast and offering opportunities for people to engage with its fascinating history. The Kilmorie Stone, though nationally important, is relatively unknown and hopefully the new walking route will bring locals and visitors to see it for themselves. And if you want to know more about the carvings in the stone just ask one of the local pupils!”

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