Leadhills is located high in the beautiful Lowther Hills and was founded on lead mining. It is Scotland's second highest village (after nearby Wanlockhead) lying at a height of 395m or 1295ft above sea level.
Lead mining gave the village its name –and its prosperity - but gold has also been found nearby. Leadhills is a geologists delight. Over seventy different minerals can be found in the area surrounding Leadhills, some rare and only found nearby.
Gold panning takes place in all the burns around Leadhills and tips and instructions can be gained from local experts.
The Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway is Britain's highest adhesion railway almost 1500 feet above sea level. Enjoy a journey on the narrow gauge railway which operates from Leadhills to Wanlockhead. The 2ft narrow gauge railway built along part of the trackbed of the old Caledonian Railway is now operated by a dedicated band of volunteers.
The Leadhills Golf Course is a 'must' for every golfing enthusiast to ensure you have played the highest golf course in Britain situated at 1500 ft/456m above sea level.
For the historian, the Leadhills Miners Library is the oldest subscription library in the UK, and was founded in 1741 when twenty three miners clubbed together to set up the Leadhills Reading Society. The small museum displays books from the Leadhills Reading Society's library and material relating to the use of the library and to the lives of its subscribers.
The Scots Mining House is probably the only surviving small house that William Adam built offers tea, coffee and home baking, local crafts and gifts on a Saturday afternoon.
You can also explore the Lowther hills from Leadhills and have fun rambling or climbing. The views are well worth the walk and stop over in the Hopetoun Arms Hotel to relax and enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of coffee in front of the open fire.
As one of 'Scotland's high places' Leadhills is ideally placed for touring Glasgow, Edinburgh, Loch Lomond and the coast, little more than an hours drive away.
Brief History of Leadhills
Lead was mined in Leadhills from the 1100s, and around 1500 the village also had a gold mine from which nuggets as large as 60g were extracted. By the 1660s the lead mines were owned by Sir John Hope, and profitable enough to justify building or improving roads the full 50 miles to Leith, to allow the ore to be exported.
The coming of the railway in 1901 was not enough to return the mines in the area to profitability, and mining activity in Leadhills ceased in 1928.
The end of mining could have resulted in the loss of the village but Leadhills' freehold ownership of much of the land by the occupants ensured the community survived and today the population is on the increase, with many young families making the village their home.
Leadhills has a number of unique claims to fame. In 1741 it became home to the UK's oldest subscription library when 23 lead miners clubbed together to set up the Leadhills Reading Society. Membership was not cheap by the standards of the day, with a joining fee of £0.15 and an annual subscription of £0.10. This was an innovation picked up by other communities nearby including Wanlockhead and today the Library holds an excellent collection of books from its early years.