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Scottish Gaelic: Achadh an Cairn
View of the square in the village of Auchencairn
The village of Auchencairn
Map showing Auchencairn in the south of Scotland
Map showing Auchencairn in the south of Scotland
 Auchencairn shown within Dumfries and Galloway
Population 200 (approx)
OS grid reference NX798513
Civil parish Rerrick
Council area Dumfries and Galloway
Lieutenancy area Dumfries
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town DUMFRIES
Postcode district DG7
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Dumfries and Galloway
Scottish Parliament Dumfries
List of places

Coordinates: 54°50′31″N 3°52′19″W / 54.841971°N 3.871822°W / 54.841971; -3.871822

Auchencairn is a village in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. It is located on the coast of the Solway Firth at the head of Auchencairn Bay and lies on the A711 road between the town of Dalbeattie to the east and Kirkcudbright to the west.


The name Auchencairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic 'Achadh an càirn' or 'Achadh nan carn' which translates as 'the field of the cairn'.[1][2]


Facilities available in Auchencairn include:[3]


Hestan Island within Auchencairn Bay, the site of caves used by local smugglers to store goods.

There is evidence of human habitation of the area since the Mesolithic period, but the first written record of Auchencairn occurs from 1305 in a charter of Edward I in which 'Aghencarne' is listed among lands belonging to Dundrennan Abbey. In the early 17th century the village grew around the corn mill, and many of the older stone buildings in the village date from this time.[5]

From 1750 onwards, Auchencairn Bay became the centre of extensive smuggling activity in the area, with many of the local inhabitants being involved. This history is reflected in the name of the village pub, the Smugglers Inn.

Poltergeist incident[edit]

At the top end of the village stands a dead tree; it is all that remains of a farm called the Ringcroft of Stocking, the site of the 'Mackie Poltergeist' incident in 1695.[5][6] Over a period of several months, the inhabitants, a farmer Andrew Mackie and his family, reported mysterious occurrences such as stones being thrown at them, cattle being moved and buildings being set alight.[6] The family and others also reported a ghost taking form and speaking. Several clergymen came to pray at the site, but no change was immediately evident; in the next few months the strange occurrences stopped but the farm was eventually abandoned due to the incident. The incident was made known when the details were published by the Reverend Telfair a year later with the support of 14 eyewitnesses.

Other locations[edit]

Auchencairn is the name of a hamlet, also in Dumfries and Gallaway, that is located to the north of Dumfries and south of the village of Ae.[7] It is also the name of a hamlet forming the north part of the village of Whiting Bay on the Isle of Arran.[8]


  1. ^ "Glossary of Gaelic origins of place names in Britain (A to B)". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  2. ^ "Placename notes from the Newsletters". Scottish Place-Name Society. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  3. ^ "Facilities". Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  4. ^ "St. Oswald's Church". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  5. ^ a b "Hugh Patons' History of Auchencairn". Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  6. ^ a b Seafield, Lily (2001). Scottish Ghosts. Pelican Publishing Company. ISBN 1-56554-843-4. 
  7. ^ "NX9784". Geograph. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  8. ^ "NS0427". Geograph. Retrieved 2010-03-09.