Galloway

Galloway is an area in southwestern Scotland contained by sea to the west and south, the Galloway Hills to the north, and the River Nith to the east. It has always been slightly isolated due to having 150 miles of rugged coastline and a vast range of largely uninhabited hills to the North. It is the main setting for the campaign.

Geography and Economy

Galloway comprises that part of Scotland southwards from the Southern Upland watershed and westward from the River Nith. Traditionally it has been described as stretching from "the braes of Glenapp to the Nith". Three main river valleys, the Urr, the Dee, and the Cree, all running north-south, provide much of the good arable land, although there is also some arable land on the coast. Generally however the landscape is rugged and much of the soil is shallow. The generally south slope and southern coast make for mild and wet climate, and there is a great deal of good pasture.

Despite its isolation and subsequent economic backwardness, Galloway is known for both its horses and cattle. The annual horse fair, held outside Wigtown, attracts buyers from across Britain, and provides a significant cash income to Lord Alan. Fisheries are active along the coast, through fishermen around Wigtown have begun to forsake their traditional catch in favour of whaling.

Wigtown and Whithorn are Galloway's two largest settlements, through a significant population has gathered around the Lord's seat at Cruggleton Castle, where his large navy is based.

History

The Romans named the inhabitants of Galloway the Novantae. According to tradition, before the end of Roman rule in Britain, St. Ninian established a church at Whithorn which remains an important place of pilgrimage for the Scottish kings.

Galloway probably remained a Brythonic dominated region until the late 7th century when it was taken over by the English kingdom of Bernicia. The English took over the more fertile land and religious centres like Whithorn, leaving the native inhabitants the less fertile upland areas. English dominance seems to have been supplanted by Norse and then Norse-Gaelic (Gall-Gaidel) peoples between the 9th and the 11th century, though the processes by which this took place are unclear.

If it had not been for Fergus of Galloway who established the semi-independent principality that exists today, the region would rapidly have been absorbed by Scotland. This did not happen because the Fergussons, down to Fergus' great-grandson Alan, Lord of Galloway continue to shift their allegiance between Scottish and English kings. Technically vassals of both, they are effectively beyond the rule of either.

Culture

Like their kin in the highlands, the Galwegians are organised into several powerful kin-groups, or clans, for instance, the MacLellans, the MacDowalls and the Kennedys of Carrick.

Gaelic-speakers in medieval Galloway, whom Richard of Hexham erroneously calls Picts, have a fearsome reputation. They are the barbarians par excellence of the northern English Chroniclers, said, amongst other things, to have ripped babies out of their mother's wombs.

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