Lockerbie
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Telephone code: 01576
Postcode: DG11
Population: 4200
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Lockerbie is a historic town in Dumfries and Galloway in southern Scotland situated close to the River Annan 14 miles east of Dumfries and 26 miles north of the Scottish/English Border. The town was founded in the 18th century by the Johnstone’s of Lockerbie; by 1750 it had become a significant town hosting Scotland’s largest lamb fairs. Lockerbie became a burgh in 1863. In medieval times Lockerbie was famous for the ‘Lockerbie Lick’ or a slashed face due to the battles between the Johnstone and Maxwell clans. Today Lockerbie is internationally known for the tragedy of the terrorist attack on 21st December 1988 when a bomb exploded on board a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet Pan AM flight whilst flying over Lockerbie, killing the 243 passengers and 11 villagers. The Dryfesdale Lodge Visitor Centre Trust has exhibition rooms with a memorial to the victims of the 1988 tragedy and a tribute to the strength of the community, there are also displays of pre-historic origins and heritage. Surrounded by scenic countryside Lockerbie is a popular tourist resort with the railway station close to the town centre and several hotels and holiday accommodation to choose from, there is busy high street with many shops and plenty places to eat. Architecturally interesting buildings include the Town Hall, built in 1880 from a distinctive red-stone in Scottish Baronial style with an impressive clock-tower. The town of Lockerbie lies tucked away in the verdant locale of Dumfries and Galloway. But it was brought to the world’s attention on the 21st December, 1988, when Pan Am Flight 103, bound for New York, was destroyed by a terrorist bomb, killing 270 people. 270 people were killed (Eleven from Lockerbie) when the fuselage of the jumbo jet came to a rest in Sherwood Crescent. 20 years on, the senselessness, the rawness and the barbarity of the atrocity still has the same chilling resonance. Former Libyan intelligence officer, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, is currently serving 27 years in Greenock prison for the bombing. There is little closure for the people of Lockerbie: al-Megrahi protests his innocence and is appealing the conviction, and the sense of loss is one that will take generations to heal. A visit to Lockerbie today is one that both captures this poignancy, and one that sees a small, vibrant rural town that has carried itself with tremendous dignity throughout its troubles. The town’s memorial gardens stands in tribute to the fallen, and the same could be said of the town itself, whose sense of community has never been stronger. Lockerbie’s location in the Scottish Borders has been one of historic importance. At the perimeter of tribal boundaries as well as national borders, Lockerbie was a settlement on one of the most visited trading routes through Scotland’s history. The Iron Age ruins at Burnswark are said to have belonged to the Novantae tribe, and with the remains of an Antonine fort close to the site, it would appear that Lockerbie’s appeal was shared by tribe and empire alike, as the Romans made the way north, and ultimately to defeat. King Edward I was another visitor to the area. When making his way home after tasting victory at the Battle of Falkirk, 1298, he set up camp at Lochmaben, and erected a peel on the south shore of Castle Loch. It is not so much its strategic importance that makes Lockerbie attractive to its contemporary visitors; it is the tranquility and the unspoiled surroundings that make the town a great stop-off when discovering Dumfries and Galloway. Lockerbie swings in late October, when its Jazz Festival showcases both domestic and international artists, and those seeking the ultimate retreat from the tyranny of modern living and a little spiritual healing can make the 15 mile drive north to the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery. Europe’s oldest Buddhist Monastery welcomes people of all faiths, and set against the River Esk, it is the ideal venue for reflection

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On this day:
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