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Ellisland reopens to visitors

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By Donald Turvill
Dumfries and West
Ellisland reopens to visitors

THE HOME of Robert Burns-turned-museum will begin welcoming visitors again this weekend.

Ellisland Farm near Auldgirth has been closed to the public throughout the pandemic but is set to reopen for weekend volunteer-led tours from Saturday (May 29).

The museum says the guided tours “give you an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Robert Burns and enjoy an insight into his life”.

It is the ideal day out for admirers of the national bard, who have the opportunity to step inside the farmhouse hand-built by Burns and the study where he penned some of his best-known verse.

Tours of Ellisland last around 50 minutes and due to ongoing restrictions, numbers are being limited to no more than four people in each group and pre-booking is essential.

Meanwhile, Ellisland has been awarded funding by the Wigtown Festival Company to participate in the Literary Tourism Product Innovation Programme run by the Spot-lit project, part of the EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme.

Working alongside Lockerbie-based web design agency, Creatomatic, and a slew of other local organisations which celebrate the poet’s legacy, staff and volunteers at Ellisland will collaborate on an exciting new project and website called ‘In the Footsteps of Burns’ which will strive to share the story of Robert Burns’ time spent in the area throughout his life.

Explaining more, Joan McAlpine, chair of the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, said: “After such a long lockdown, this project should help kickstart the visitor season and also encourage local people to enjoy what’s on their door- step. Ellisland Farm inspired Auld Lang Syne and Tam O’Shanter and this fresh approach will inspire a new generation.

“Creatomatic have done a great job and we are very grateful to Wigtown Festival Company who allowed us to adapt the project and timescales as a result of lockdown.

“A government funded report by Glasgow University published before lockdown found that Burns was worth £203 million a year to the Scottish economy, but that more could be done to bene- fit Dumfries and Galloway. Marketing initiatives like this one should help us compete.”

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