Walks on the Dark Side – The Inaugural Festival of Folklore Programme is Launched

A darker side of Scotland’s history and heritage will be explored at the new Festival of Folklore in south-west Scotland.

Festival of Folklore Facebook Page

The Festival of Folklore takes place from Friday 27th – Sunday 29th September 2019 in Sanquhar, Kirkconnel, Crawick and Wanlockhead

Organised by award winning storytellers, Mostly Ghostly, and community volunteers, the three-day Festival programme includes:

  • a ghost story experience set within an underground lead mine
  • Equinox folklore explained in the spectacular setting of the landart Multiverse
  • tales of martyrs, saints and covenanters shared during walks around historic sites

The Festival weaves together the dark history of the cluster of communities in Upper Nithsdale, which includes Sanquhar, Kirkconnel, Kelloholm and the highest village in the UK, Wanlockhead. It’s an area that is increasingly becoming known for its legends of witches, ghosts and wraiths, as well as a dramatic history, mines of lead, streams of gold and a cultural heritage rich in creativity.

Festival of Folklore Founder Kathleen Cronie of Mostly Ghostly said: “The Festival celebrates the amazing history, heritage, folklore and talent of this part of Scotland. It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring people together, to innovate and support local artists, and in turn, help to boost the local economy. We’d love to see this glorious location receive the profile it so richly deserves, a magical destination of discovery.”

The idea for hosting a Festival of Folklore emerged from a community led tourism development group, keen to see Upper Nithsdale put on the must-visit map of Scotland. The group recently launched an Upper Nithsdale Trail tourist route, and are exploring a number of other quirky and creative festivals and events. The Festival of Folklore’s programme has been designed to reveal the area’s hidden history through a selection of unusual events and unique experiences.

Festival of Folklore highlights include:

Quirky Experiences

  • The UK’s highest village hosts Mining, Ghosts and Curious Tales, a partnership between the Museum of Lead Mining and Mostly Ghostly. Visitors can look forward to historical anecdote, entwined with stories of tragic spirits, cannibal sheep and the tradition of the witches’ ball.
  • Crawick Multiverse, the dramatic land art project designed by Charles Jenks, is the spectacular backdrop for an evening of equinox folklore and spooky campfire tales.

Walks on the Dark Side

  • Mostly Ghostly take to Sanquhar’s shadowy streets with Dark Tales of Old Sanquhar, featuring stories of heartbreak, betrayal and murder.
  • Alice de Ville will guide guests to Pamphy Linns: An Oasis in the Desert, a local spot rich in folklore and Covenanting history
  • David Branton’s Martyrs Saints and Travellers reveals his love of old Covenanting tales, traditions of St Conal and the droving community set in the Kirkconnel hills.

Medicine and Mythology

  • The history, superstitions and folklore of objects including bagpipes, horseshoes and medicinal herbs will be explored in a series of events by local experts.
  • Cult classic film The Wicker Man is set for a special Festival screening, introduced by super-fan Paul Barber who will give an insight into its Pagan connections and enduring popularity.
  • Local author Iain Wilson explores the life of Robert Paterson, immortalised by Sir Walter Scott as ‘Old Mortality’, and popularly credited with erecting and repairing Covenanter’s gravestones in the 18th century.

Family Friendly

  • Old Mother Mary will delight younger guests in Sanquhar and Kirkconnel with four enchanting storytelling sessions, inspired by Upper Nithsdale’s rich folklore. Younger guests can also unleash their creative side with a mask-making workshop at A’ the Airts.

The Festival of Folklore takes place from Friday 27th – Sunday 29th September 2019 in Sanquhar, Kirkconnel, Crawick and Wanlockhead. Full programme details and ticketing information can be found on the Festival Facebook page,


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