A place of good vibrations, you might say: electromagnetic and spiritual.
Eskdalemuir Observatory opened in purpose-built premises here in 1908.
It is a world-renowned centre for the monitoring of climatic conditions, seismic movements, a
tmospheric pollution and changes to the Earth's magnetic field.
This kind of work was originally conducted at Kew in London but the introduction of electric
tramcars interfered with the scientists' measurements and an alternative site had to be found.
Eskdalemuir was chosen because of a remoteness that is combined nonetheless with relative accessibility.
The observatory is run jointly by both the Meteorological Office and the British Geological Survey.
In 1967, when the Chinese were overrunning Tibet, two Buddhist monks came from the 'roof of the world'
to the 'roof of Dumfriesshire' and established the Samye Ling Monastery.
It was the first of its kind to be set up in the West and is now at the heart of an international network
of centres promoting spiritual health and preserving the Buddhist traditions of Tibet.
Around the original Johnstone House, a plain mid-nineteenth-century farmhouse,
a sprawling complex of exotic structures has developed, a giant DIY project undertaken by residents
and volunteers over many years. The temple was officially opened in 1988 after a decade's labour.
'It looks kitsch to Western eyes' is the judgement of the Buildings of Scotland guide to Dumfries and Galloway.
The centre is now a major attraction for converts and for the simply curious.
Visitors enter through the huge Samye Liberation Gate and can take refreshments in the Tibetan Tearoom.
The Tibetan and Scottish traditions converge in the Cloutie Tree: both cultures have a custom of marking
the making of a wish by attaching a ribbon to a branch.
'As the cloth fades the wish is carried off by the elements and hopefully one day comes true.'
Amidst all this colourful Eastern exoticism the dour box that is Eskdalemuir's parish kirk of
1826 seems more than usually austere, even for a temple of Presbyterianism.
Eskdalemuir Parish Kirk
What might Rev William Brown (1764-1835) have made of it?
In the graveyard across the road from the kirk Brown gets star treatment with a big sandstone monument.
His greatest claim to fame was the sheer longevity of his ministerial career here.
His working-life was devoted entirely to Eskdalemuir.
A native of Peebleshire, he took up his post here in 1792, a year after being licensed, and stayed for his
remaining forty-three years.
He had literary connections through his father's second wife being an aunt of the writer Thomas Carlyle.
Brown had literary and scholarly inclinations of his own. In 1820 he published The Antiquities of the Jews.
He was in the parish for so long that he was able to contribute the Eskdalemuir report not only to the
Old Statistical Account (1793) but also to the New Statistical Account (1834).
One other remarkable memorial stone stands out in the graveyard.
It is an effusive tribute, almost an abject apology, to a murder victim.
In 1820 at Eskdalemuir John Elliot from Hexham in Northumberland - said to have been
'a half-witted pedlar boy' - was robbed and beaten to death with a clog by a travelling
companion James Gordon, who was hanged for the crime the following year.
The stone's inscription has a detailed account of the incident and expresses the wishes of the
good folk of Eskdalemuir 'to convey to future ages, their abhorrance [sic] of a crime, which was attended with
peculiar aggravations; and their veneration for those laws, which pursue with equal solicitude,
the murderer of a poor friendless stranger, as of a Peer of the realm'.
Rev Brown must surely have had a guiding role in the composition of this!
The Roman road network in southern Scotland had a branch passing through here and north of the
village at Raeburnfoot there is the site of a fort of theirs, dated at around the middle of the
2nd century (see Some Historical Background).
South of the village are the remains of an even earlier fortification,
the Iron Age hill-fort known as Castle O'er. Clearly visible are two ramparts with a ditch between.
There are traces of nine circular houses, occupied during the 1st millennium BC.
The Scotland volume in the Oxford Archaeological Guides series goes as far as it can:
'The whole complex represents a long history of occupation that is only partly understood.'
One can only wonder about the day the Romans were first spotted from up here.