Robert Smail’s Printing Works in Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders is a must-visit for anyone interested in the printed word. The Natioanl Trust for Scotland has saved and preserved this gem of a place, which still prints items for local and NTS needs. The ‘guardbooks’ contain a unique record of all the print work done over the last century and upstairs you can see all the cases (upper and lower) of type used in the letterpress machines. And you get to have a go! Back downstairs in the print-room half a dozen machines still run and two more enthusiastic printers ply their long-standing trade as well as explaining everything to visitors. Way over to the West in Galloway you’ll find Scotland’s ‘Book Town’: Wigtown – not to be confused with Cumbria’s Wigton. A dozen or so second hand bookshops plus cafes and other shops make it Scotland’s answer to Hay-on-Wye and I wonder why we haven’t heard of it before. It’s a lovely area of the country, too; plenty of interest and beautiful countryside.
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