On the Trail of Merlin

Press release   •   Mar 20, 2018 14:42 GMT

A MAJOR new trail uncovering the true story of Merlin and his ties to the south of Scotland has been unveiled today (March 20th).

The legend of Merlin the wizard is known the world over by the newly launched Merlin Trail explores the true story of a real man who lived during the Dark Ages in southern Scotland.

Made up of four weekend sections which can be walked or driven, the trails each have different themes covering more than 30 sites across Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders, and stretching to East Lothian and the Central Belt.

To support the trail, a new website provides information on each location and signposts visitors to other attractions and areas of interest in the local region.

The route has been developed by the Arthur Trail Association to encourage visitors to learn more about the story of the real man behind the legend. Merlin was a man of learning and one of the last great Druids of Dark Age Scotland whose story was later embellished and became known the world over as part of the legend of Arthur.

The launch of the trail coincides with the opening of a new permanent exhibition at Moffat Museum, which will offer insights into how people lived during a little-known but dramatic and dynamic period.

VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director Paula Ward, said: “Scotland’s history and culture is one of the top reasons for visiting Scotland. The creation of a new Merlin Trail across the south of Scotland offers visitors the opportunity to delve into the past and discover more about the real man behind the legend of Merlin, at the same time as enjoy the great outdoors and the magnificent scenery on offer in the region.

“The information boards, informative walks and website make it easy for visitors to include part of the Merlin Trail on their holiday or short break to Dumfries & Galloway, as well as recognising the growing interest in Scotland’s history and heritage.

“Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure that current provision meets future demand. The opening of this new trail demonstrates a real commitment to further enhancing our region’s tourism offering and attracting more visitors to the area.”

Robin Crichton of the Arthur Trail Association said: “We have designed this Merlin Trail so that visitors take on the role of detective, discovering a little-known period of cultural and historical heritage.

“Born in the 6th century, of royal blood, Merlin’s place in society was ordained until he lost everything and was forced to go on the run. He survived as an outlaw, hiding in a cave shelter at Hartfell near Moffat for over a decade.

“I hope the worldwide fascination with Merlin will inspire a significant increase in visitors to this magical part of Scotland with its unique cultural heritage.”

For more information on the Merlin Trail and accompanying book, visit

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to

2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People 2018 will be the next of the Scottish Government’s series of themed years, following the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
  • Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
  • Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
  • The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
  • oParticipation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • oEducation – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • oHealth and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • oEquality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
  • oEnterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
  • oCulture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
  • Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.