Westlinton & Longtown

Reiving centre that found respectability

This area which looks so cultivated and prosperous (putting aside for one minute the wretched chapter of foot and mouth disease in 2001) was once so violent that there was no proper settlement outside Carlisle until 300 years ago; that handsome bastion on Longtown’s high street, the Graham Hotel, bears the name of the family who settled the town. They were also amongst the most infamous of reiving families (see p.129), whose very surname was at one stage declared illegal. That is the reason there are some 90 pele towers scattered around this area – the only way of staying alive and keeping your few head of cattle was to put them behind lock, gate and thick stone wall when the riders were abroad. With respectability came not only the Graham Hotel, but high street banks, so if you are running low there are a couple of cash points there. The quickest way to Longtown is to turn right and head up the A6071 fior two miles just beyond Kirklinton, or cross the A7 and turn right just past the Lynebank House Hotel. This takes you onto the Route 7 cycle way, the Lochs & Glens route which connects Carlisle with Glasgow.