On The Trail of Merlin - launch of new visitor trail from VisitScotland


21 March 2018
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A new visitor trail which aims to uncover the 'true story' of Merlin and his ties to the south of Scotland has been unveiled.
On The Trail of Merlin - launch of new visitor trail from VisitScotland Images

A new visitor trail which aims to uncover the 'true story' of Merlin and his ties to the south of Scotland has been unveiled.

The route has been developed by the Arthur Trail Association to encourage visitors to learn more about the story of 'the real man behind the legend'. According to the trail literature, Merlin was a man of learning and one of the last great Druids of Dark Age Scotland whose story was later embellished and became known the world over as part of the legend of Arthur.

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Made up of four weekend sections which can be walked or driven, the trails each have different themes covering more than 30 sites across Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders, and stretching to East Lothian and the Central Belt.

To support the trail, a new website provides information on each location and signposts visitors to other attractions and areas of interest in the local region. 

The launch of the trail coincides with the opening of a new permanent exhibition at Moffat Museum, which will offer insights into how people lived during a little-known but dramatic and dynamic period.

Merlin: the man behind the legend

VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director Paula Ward, said: “Scotland’s history and culture is one of the top reasons for visiting Scotland. The creation of a new Merlin Trail across the south of Scotland offers visitors the opportunity to delve into the past and discover more about the real man behind the legend of Merlin, at the same time as enjoy the great outdoors and the magnificent scenery on offer in the region.

“The information boards, informative walks and website make it easy for visitors to include part of the Merlin Trail on their holiday or short break to Dumfries & Galloway, as well as recognising the growing interest in Scotland’s history and heritage.

“Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure that current provision meets future demand. The opening of this new trail demonstrates a real commitment to further enhancing our region’s tourism offering and attracting more visitors to the area.”

Surviving as an outlaw

Robin Crichton of the Arthur Trail Association said: “We have designed this Merlin Trail so that visitors take on the role of detective, discovering a little-known period of cultural and historical heritage.

“Born in the 6th century, of royal blood, Merlin’s place in society was ordained until he lost everything and was forced to go on the run. He survived as an outlaw, hiding in a cave shelter at Hartfell near Moffat for over a decade.

“I hope the worldwide fascination with Merlin will inspire a significant increase in visitors to this magical part of Scotland with its unique cultural heritage.”

For more on the Merlin Trail and accompanying book visit the website.

(images courtesy of VisitScotland)