Balmaghie (// bal-mə-GEE), from the Scottish Gaelic Baile Mac Aoidh, is a civil parish in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland and was the seat of the McGhee family. It is bordered by the River Dee to the north and east. The River Dee is commonly known as the Black Water of Dee on the northern border, the name changes with the meeting of the Water of Ken to the north west and is then known as Loch Ken along the eastern border. Balmaghie parish borders Girthon to the west and Tongland and Twynholm to the south. The closest market town is Castle Douglas about 6 miles from Balmaghie Kirk.
Balmaghie parish is very rural and contains only a handful of small settlements: Laurieston, Bridge of Dee, Balmaghie and Glenlochar as well as number of farms and houses scattered throughout the parish. Farming is the major industry of the area, although there is large area of commercial forestation operated by the Forestry Commission to the west of Laurieston. A small number of tourists visit the area to watch wild birds at the RSPB Nature Reserve at Duchrae, the Ken-Dee Marshes. A number of Red Kite have been re-introduced to the area and can been seen near Laurieston at the Bellymack feeding station.
The ecclesiastical focus of Balmaghie is Balmaghie Kirk built in 1794 and set on a small hillock in Balmaghie overlooking Loch Ken and opposite Crossmichael Kirk on the far bank. The ecclesiastical parish covers the same area as the civil parish and the two are generally not differentiated between.
Samuel Rutherford Crockett, a Scottish novelist, was born the son of a farmer at Duchrae. Some of his works are set in the surrounding area. He is buried in Balmaghie churchyard under the family gravestone.
- G.M. Miller, BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (Oxford UP, 1971), p. 10.
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