What's on

Wild Goose Weekend

Date: Sat 12 October - Sun 13 October

Join us at WWT Caerlaverock to celebrate the return of thousands of wild barnacle geese and pink footed geese to the Solway Firth. This is the second year of the Wild Goose Weekend and this year we are pleased to also be part of the Scotland and the Arctic Festival in Dumfries.

Listen to interesting talks from WWT scientists on the latest research into geese, talks from local authors, guided goose walks and workshops on the reserve and walks to see thousands of barnacle geese flighting in from the Solway mudflats at dawn and out again to roost at dusk.

For families, we are excited to have two professional storytellers here over the weekend, to tell stories in the yurt. There will also be a variety of fun art and craft activities to take part in.

Saturday 12th October


10:30am - Storytelling in the Yurt with Tony Bonning

Join professional storytellers Tony Bonning and Anne Errington for engaging stories in our cosy yurt. This event is part of the Scotland and the Arctic Festival.


11am-12noon - Wintering: As Season with Geese - Talk by Stephen Rutt (local author)

Stephen Rutt will be reading from his newly published book, Wintering: A Season with Geese, and talking about the geese of Dumfries and the process of writing his follow up to his acclaimed debut, The Seafarers: A Journey Among Birds. In the autumn of 2018 Stephen and his partner moved to a house near the Solway Firth in Dumfries. As they settled into their new home thousands of pink-footed geese were arriving on the Firth from the Arctic Circle to make it their winter home. The arrival of huge flocks of geese in the UK is one of the most evocative and powerful harbingers of winter; a vast natural phenomenon to capture the imagination.

Wintering traces the lives and habits of six of the most common species of goose that winter here. With an expert eye and clear, elegant prose Stephen paints perfect portraits of these large, startling, garrulous and cooperative birds. But this is also a compact and beautifully written study of the place the goose has in our culture, our history and, occasionally, on our festive table. A vivid tour of the landscapes they inhabit and a celebration of the short days, varied weathers and long nights of the season.


1-2pm - Goose Guided Walk (1-2pm)

Take a wander with the warden to learn about the different species of geese that visit Caerlaverock during the winter and how we manage the reserve for them.


5:30pm - Wild Geese from Wardlaw with staff from WWT Caerlaverock and SNH

Take a gander with a wander up Wardlaw! As part of the Wild Goose Weekend, WWT Caerlaverock wardens are joining SNH staff to lead a walk up Wardlaw Hill to see the dusk flight of the pink footed geese and barnacle geese. Free with admission.

Sunday 13th October


6:45am - Dawn Flight

Watch the amazing spectacle of thousands of wild barnacle geese flighting in from the mudflats against the dawn sky. The Cathan Coffee Shop will be open early to provide hot drinks and bacon rolls. Bring warm, waterproof clothing, binoculars and a torch. (Free with admission, booking essential)


10:30am - Storytelling in the Yurt with Anne Errington

Join professional storytellers Tony Bonning and Anne Errington for engaging stories in our cosy yurt. This event is part of the Scotland and the Arctic Festival.


11am-12noon - Talk by Brian Morrell (Centre Manager, WWT Caerlaverock) ‘Wild Goose Chase: From Caerlaverock to the Arctic’

Brian Morrell, Centre Manager, will tell the story of the barnacle geese and their fascinating migration from the Solway to their breeding grounds in Svalbard.


1-2pm - Goose Photography for Kids workshop

Learn how to take fantastic photographs of the geese and other wildfowl on the reserve. Bring along your camera or mobile phone. Family event.


2:30pm - Creative Writing Workshop with Dr David Borthwick

Join David Borthwick of the University of Glasgow in a creative writing workshop dedicated to the birds of WWT Caerlaverock. You do not need to be an established writer - only to be present with your senses, a pencil, and some paper. We will be walking a little, talking about geese and other birds, and setting down our descriptions and thoughts.