G is for Gretna Green

Published July 17, 2010

Gretna Green was a tricky one. I wasn’t 100% sure it counted - given that the rules of the alphabet challenge say it should be attractions rather than places that are worthy of a visit. I thought I could spin it that the anvil thing was an attraction, but that is technically called the World Famous Blacksmith’s Shop. None of those letters are a G.

In the end, I went for it because there is something called the Gretna Green Group Ltd, which makes me think it is an attraction rather than a place. Plus it was on my route home.

Gretna Green

Way back when I was still planning the wedding between myself and Mr C, Gretna Green was one of the options. We were keen on the eloping part of the wedding, and you can’t get more secretive than a place where hundreds of underage kids rushed to get married. Oh wait, it’s supposed to be romantic.

We went for the cruise ship route, though, so I was interested to see what we’d missed out on. Boy am I glad we didn’t go for it.

Gretna Green

Let me start at the beginning, though. As an attraction/place, there is not much to do at Gretna. It’s mostly made up of shops - interesting shops, I’ll grant you, but nothing spectacular. There is a large shop selling pretty much anything in tartan, there’s a pub, and there’s a very nice food shop featuring posh organic type food that is expensive but real quality.

Even though there isn’t much to keep one busy, there is an overwhelming sense of peace there. I can’t really explain it, but I suppose just knowing that hundreds of people would rush up to cross the border, see the sign and know they had control of their future, it sort of affects how you feel about a place.

What also affects how you feel about a place is the number of Japanese tourists that are brandishing cameras and elbowing each other out the way. Now, something that had never really occured to me when I considered a Gretna wedding is that there will be people there. In my head, it was secretive and quiet, but in reality, a wedding car pulled up, a bride got out, and a million camera flashes went off.

Gretna Green

Who’d want that?

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to the Blacksmith shop because someone was quite inconsiderately getting married and being photographed throughout the process. They try and tell you that the weddings are private and to show respect, but it makes no difference.

I certainly don’t recommend going to visit Gretna Green at all, but I also don’t regret going there. It was good to see what it’s really like, and strike the illusion of what we’d missed out on by going for the boat option.

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