Bob MacDonald tells us about the Siller Gun contest which was held on Lochar Moss outside Dumfries and dates back to the 17th century

Bob MacDonald, born 1924, interviewed by Caroline Milligan on the February 2014 at Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries, his daughter Heather also present.


Ref: DG17-4-1-2
© European Ethnological Research Centre, 2017.


Bob, is showing some old photographs of interest to Caroline.

BM:  Oh, that was the Siller Gun.  Now, they dinnae shoot for that now.  Marilyn’s, they used tae go tae the Lochar Moss an if ah had a foot in the Army ah’d have a go maself an ye fired fae aboot three hundred yards, two tae three hunner yards, at a range in the Lochar Moss, and ye didnae get any money for it but Marilyn’s father, ma father-in-law, he won it twice, he run the Army Cadets, in Dumfries, voluntary, in fact he got awarded the-?

H:  British Empire Medal.

BM:  Aye, the British Empire Medal, for that, a quiet auld man but an excellent shot, fae the First World War, he won it twice, the Siller Gun.

CM:  And there would be a lot of prestige, was there, if you won that, yea?

BM:  Oh aye.  Yea, very quiet auld man, wasn’t he, Tam?

H:  Very quiet.

BM:  And the unfortunate thing about the Siller Gun, it was done in the Lochar Moss, outside Dumfries.

H:  Out the Georgetown Road.

BM:  Out the Georgetown Road.

H:  At the end there.

BM:  Right on the Lochar Moss, an it was done away wi, an it was the fault o a priest from St Andrew’s. for some reason he took the boys a walk, which was a private school, in these days, he took them by an the flags were up, aw ranges in the Army put flags up, red flags, ‘Keep Clear’, he took the boys across an some shootin wis gaun on, an nobody, ah don’t think there was anybody injured, that was it cancelled for evermore.  It’s a shame, so the Siller Gun was done away wi, the Siller Gun dates away, way back to the seventeenth century.

CM:  Yea, ah had a wee read about it because ah knew when you came into the shop you brought the-.  It’s sad that it’s no longer-.

BM:  They’ve done it a wee, they done it a wee, wee bit at the Nunfield Range up the Edinburgh Road but it was never the same.

After looking at more Dumfriesshire photographs Caroline asks more about the Siller Gun.

CM:  I was going to ask you about the Siller Gun, so did you go along to those celebrations when you were a young man or when you were-?

BM:  Well, the High Street was packed.

CM:  Yea.

BM:  You’ll see the High Street was really packed wi them, but it was quite a celebration, mainly they went up the Mid Steeple, an he made a wee speech, pair auld Tam made a speech, thanking them very much but the High Street was completely packed in the old days.

H:  It was done at the same time as the Guid Nychburris celebration.

CM:  Ok, so it was-.

BM:  Exactly, aye, done at the same time as that-

H:  Aye, that week.

BM:  …so ye had a big crowd there aw day an it was always durin the good weather.

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