New Cumnock in South Ayrshire is the obvious place to start our journey, being the nearest town to the source of the Nith. However, it is also very fitting for another reason: it sits close to the invisible border between Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway (It is no surprise that it is affectionately known as the Gateway to Ayrshire). This makes New Cumnock the place where one journey ends and another begins depending on which way you are travelling.
Anyone travelling up along the Nith will pass this town as they head towards the west coast and the same was true for people in the past. The corridor between these hills has been traversed and tramped along for millennia by the first peoples in Scotland, the Romans, the Scots, the Vikings, the Normans, the English and more. They have left behind not only their stories but their words and place names, their camps and castles, their successes and disasters. All of this has been woven together to create a region with a rich tapestry of humanity that has also played its part in the history of Scotland and further afield. New Cumnock and its hinterland have played host to armies, fuelled the fires of industry and have shown great resilience in the face of the challenges that all places and people face. We cannot think of a better way to start a journey down the Nith.
A good place to start if you want to learn more about the story of New Cumnock is here: https://newcumnockhistory.com/