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Caerlaverock Stories

This year at the Stove, we are looking at the towns connection to Caerlaverock Castle, exploring the routes there from the town centre, the heritage and history of the site and it’s importance in the history of our region, drawing new connections and opening up the site to new audiences.

What are your connections with Caerlaverock Castle? What do you know about it, what are you memories of time spent there? What local myths and legends are connected with the site?
We are looking at stories: stories of history, environment and communities, trade routes and pathways, ways of living then and now.

To kick things off we’ve been meeting with local partners, gathering creative projects and looking at how we can be part of expanding the narrative of Caerlaverock.
The core theme of the project is Living on the Edge, exploring ideas of Peace, War, the Living Landscape and the Wolves at the Door – Caerlaverock is more than just a castle at siege but has a long and winding history – how much of it do you know? Caerlaverock is more than just a castle.

To launch this new conversation, we are mapping some of these histories, routes and pathways to and from the Castle in the Stove café. Pop in between the 6th and 28th of March to add some of your own, and help us build a bigger picture of Caerlaverock’s past – and future.

Do you remember your earliest visits to the castle? Do you have any great images of the castle or grounds that you could share? What does Caerlaverock mean to you? Get in touch, or let us know using #LivingCaerlaverock.

We will also be hosting a conversation between project lead Katharine Wheeler and Sally Hinchcliffe of Cycling Dumfries about routes to and from the castle, slow travel and alternative transport options. This will be a free event on Friday, 13th March from 5pm – come and join in the discussion! Full details here

A performance of Solway to Svalbard, led by musician and composer Stuart Macpherson in Caerlaverock Castle in 2019

The Stove is working with Historic Environment Scotland as part of their work to develop Caerlaverock Castle as a significant place in our region, specifically around what this place means to our communities to develop skills and learning opportunities.

For more information, contact [email protected]

Musings News

My Dumfries Story

From Jimmy Russell

Jimmy Russell has been working as part of the Our Norwegian Story (ONS) project since the beginning of this year, researching and compiling stories and histories of Dumfries’ Norwegian Connection. Following a recent call out, Jimmy is also closing the ONS Trail Launch this weekend, with his performance, My Dumfries Story at 6pm this Saturday, 15th April.

‘The research I have been doing for Our Norwegian Story has been surprisingly broad, bringing together stories of Norwegian soldiers’ military, sporting or romantic exploits and the legacy of each. Between scanning photographs from Dumfries Museum’s collection and scouring the Ewart Library archives, I have interviewed Doonhamers with memories or memorabilia from the 1940s. These folk have lent some personality to what could otherwise have been an interesting yet passionless exercise.

King Haakon reviews forces, troqueer Holm Field march past 1940

One of my favourite discoveries was tracing, through use of old photos and digital maps, the route that Norwegian arm recruits marched from their training ground at Troqueer Holm field to their base at the old mills in 1940 during King Haakon’s visit. At the intersection of Rosefield Road and Pleasance Avenue the king was photographed standing by a tree as his troops went by, and that spot hasn’t changed much in the past 77 years! Another special moment for me was finding images of a football match between Norwegian and Polish soldiers, probably during 1941-42 Inter-Allied tournament, which took place on the playing field of St Joseph’s College – my old secondary school!

While writing the website content for ONS I have been inspired by personal stories I have heard as much as learning about the broader situation of Norwegians fleeing to Britain. With My Dumfries Story I want to create an accessible and emotive link between those fading individual memories and the official history. By sharing the journal entries of an imaginary Norwegian living in wartime Dumfries I want to draw a composite sketch of the exile experience. Part of this process has been retracing the steps of Norwegians between various points on the trail and wider map, trying to walk in the boots of those welcome foreigners and capture what might have been felt in writing and drawing.

My background includes a degree in Scottish history and philosophy, museum and art gallery work, as well as creative writing and performance. I am also well travelled and interested in issues of migration. Hence the experience of working on Our Norwegian Story and My Dumfries Story in parallel has been both professionally and personally rewarding. I hope the results generate a greater interest in the rich, surprising history of Dumfries, but also in oor toon’s place within international contexts.’

Find our more about the Our Norwegian Story project here, and for details of the Trail Launch this weekend please find out more here, or join our Facebook Event. All events are free to attend, and no booking is required!

News Project Updates

ONS Market & Recipe Swap

Looking over the next few weeks on Our Norwegian Story so far – The project kicked off on June 17th the with a wonderful array of specialities from Norway as well as this side of the ocean for our Recipe Swap and Market. Those who turned up shared stories over warm waffles with Norwegian blueberries, Kransekake and some scotch favourites like Chranachan, writing down some recipes for you to enjoy at home.

All of the Recipes have now been up-loaded to our project page here:

Saturday the 17th June saw us join Dumfries’ annual Guid Nychburris celebrations with more waffles, cinnamon buns and a special Norwegian Market kindly put on by Alex of Edinburgh based Nordic Affar – – where you can buy all the Norwegian classics from Brown Cheese to Salted Liquorice.

More food to come at Septembers Scottish/Norwegian film Shorts and Pot Luck night on September 15th at 7pm, information to follow.

Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Recipe Swap gathering
Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Sharing our Recipes
Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Enjoying Norwegian stew
Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Norwegian food swap at the Stove , Dumfries
Waffles and blueberries
The stove
Norge Hus at The Stove
Cinnamon buns!
Our Norwegian Market
Nordic Affar joins us at The Stove
Sharing Stories

ONS Artist in Residence

Those of you who attended our Norwegian Skill Share, Dugnad at the beginning of the month may have met our new artist in residence, Kirsten Bertelsen, who has joined the Our Norwegian Story team.


Kirsten Bertelsen (b. 1966, Denmark) lives and works in Copenhagen. She graduated from MA Psychology at University of Copenhagen, Denmark (1991-1998) and BA (Hons) Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College, UAL, London (2012- 2015).

She setup Gesamtkunstwerk Aps (2008-2015), an independent cultural agency specialized in strategic development of arts institutions, and their relationship with local communities. She has worked in association with the Danish and Scandinavian Arts Councils and is currently working on a 10 year/long term art trail in the region of Sör Tröndelag in Norway.

Over the last 3 years, she has developed a project in Norway, working to link young London based artists with the region Sør Trøndelag north of Trondheim. Every summer four artists travel to the island of Stokkøya to work for 4 weeks. The residency is part of a long term plan to ignite the area, instilling a sense of belonging amongst the residents on the island, which will hopefully encourage younger generations to come back and settle when they have graduated with their degrees from universities in the bigger cities.

Exhibitions include Strangelove Moving Image Festival, London (2015), Metaphoinica Film Festival, London (2015), The Kings Cross Curious Festival, University of the Arts, London (2015), One to One Charting the Personal Terrain, The Rag Factory, London (2014) and In Between States, Mile End Art Pavilion, London (2013).

25 2016 The Stove Norway by Ronnie Galloway _MG_9546
Norwegian Skill Share – Rope Making and Knot Tying with Cluaran. Image: Ronnie Galloway

As an artist, she has a strong interest in the role art can take outside the bigger cities and how artistic methods can contribute to an investigation of values about place and about belonging. She takes pleasure in research both from reading, and studying archival material, from talking to experts, and from listening to the stories of local people. Kirsten is from Scandinavia, and has been working intensively in Norway making her a great asset as Our Norwegian’s Story artist in residence to help bring this part of Dumfries’ story to life. So if you have any questions or stories please do get in touch. She will be living in Dumfries for 2 months during Autumn, and she will be very happy to meet you.

Kirsten Bertelsen – [email protected] – 07583548048


Our Norwegian Story – exploring cultural connections at The Stove

As Scotland continues its fascination with Nordic culture, The Stove Network in Dumfries has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for their project, Our Norwegian Story, which will map a trail through Dumfries’ town centre celebrating its links with Norway during WWII. This is another example of a local arts project being successful in bringing national investment to the area to create activity in the town centre for the benefit of local people and businesses. The Stove has been awarded funding by Heritage Lottery Fund for a series of public events highlighting ‘Our Norwegian Story’
During WWII Dumfries’ population was nearly 20% Norwegian harbouring the headquarters for Norwegians in exile and as a result became the birthplace of the Scottish Norwegian Society we know today.

075 Major Myrseth
Norway House, or Norges Hus in Dumfries. Note the shot down German tail fin attached to the front of the building.

The project comprises of a series of imaginative public events, led by the artists of The Stove Network, that create opportunities for Dumfries to tell its Norwegian Story. Work begins with participation in Dumfries Museum’s Viking event Summer Wandering on Saturday May 14th when The Stove building becomes Norway for the day. June will see a Norwegian Market as part of the town’s Guid Nychburris celebrations. Other events planned to highlight this important relationship include football in the town square hosted by local club Greystone Rovers, Norwegian skill-share and story-telling events, musical composition workshops, performance, creative mapping, as well as the launch of the Norwegian Trail itself in March 2017.
Working with research and design collective Lateral North the project will use this important part of Scotland’s history for people to learn about the stories of our past in a way that can also help re-imagine our future and connect to the wider Nordic Scottish Connection.

poland scores BW135.95.14.22A small

Project Leader Katharine Wheeler says, “We are very excited to have received funding for this project and be able to start our programme of events. It allows us to record, preserve and learn about this part of Dumfries’s story in a contemporary context as well help to re-establish connections with Norway providing exciting new cultural opportunities”
Stories and memorabilia gathered during the life of the project will be included in an online archive to provide a lasting legacy for future generations to access and share. The trail itself will be an interactive app that guides local residents and visitors around places of particular significance, learning about this part of history in a fun and contemporary context.


The Stove Network are currently seeking a creative practitioner to work on Our Norwegian Story on a ‘Research-Led Residency Commission’ – details on how to apply available here
Anyone wishes to find out more about the project and its calendar of events should contact Katharine Wheeler at [email protected] or call 01387 252435.


Norway House

At the beginning of the month, The Stove turned into Norway House as part of a project with research and design collective Lateral North. Over the course of three days, the Stove turned into a temporary house exploring Dumfries’ Norwegian Connection.


Norway House at the Stove became a place for exchange and conversation, for storytelling and remembering.

We had a lot of people coming in who remembered the excitement of the Norwegians arriving from when they were children of 7 or 8.  That they would sometimes offer lift to the kids on their way back to where they were staying, which was various places around Dumfries but mostly the Troqueer Mills, there was a farm on the outskirts of Dumfries towards Lincluden, where the horses were kept.

We had a lady come in whose husband had lived in a house at address at 7 Nellieville Terrace when he was a boy and whose front room was used as the Norwegian Bank.  He remembers the King visiting his home and often talked about the Norwegians visit,  They had wanted to record or share his memories before he died but never managed it, I will now pass her detail onto Beverly Thom, who is writing a book of these stories so that it can hopefully be recorded.

The manager of the Greyston Rovers come in, they have been playing Norway regularly since 1951 when they were the first team to go play in Europe after the end of the war, keeping up the connection.

Norway House is part of an ongoing project, Cultural Wayfinding which looks at alternative ways of looking at and explore Dumfries’ culture and history, and hopes to build new connections with Norway into the future.

If you would like to stay in touch with the project as it develops, or would like to add your story to our growing Norway House project, please get in touch with [email protected]

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