Eskdalemuir has been off the beaten track since the Romans left Scotland. This tiny scattered settlement lies on the route of one of their roads heading north towards the Fourth-Clyde Valley.
Later travellers abandoned the route, preferring instead to go via Moffat or along the line of the A7 though Langholm and Hawick. The sense of seclusion this brings is one of the main attractions of the area, and has brought to it some interesting and unexpected residents.
Eskdalemuir's focus is the junction between "B" roads heading south west to Lockerbie, south east to Langholm and north, eventually, to Selkirk. Overlooking it is the parish church dating back to 1826 with a steeple added in 1853.
A little to the north is the small collection of traditional cottages and more modern houses that comprise the main chunk of the village.
North again and you come to Eskdalemuir's biggest surprise. The Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Centre was founded in 1967 and remains the largest Buddhist Monastery and Tibetan Centre in the western world. As you approach from the south, the most striking features are in the grounds. But the heart of the centre is the spectacular temple built during the 1980s. Day Visitors are welcome to visit the temple and grounds at Samye Ling; there's more information on their website.
The other resident brought here by the remoteness of the setting can be found a little north again from the Tibetan Centre. This is the Eskdalemuir Observatory, opened here in 1908. The observatory is involved in measurement of solar radiation, levels of atmospheric pollution and in chemical sampling. It also provides long-term monitoring of the UK's geomagnetic field and is today run by the British Geological Survey.
It moved here from London's Kew Observatory when the electric power supplied to London trams started to upset the readings. The observatory is not open to the public.
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