After yesterdays exertions it was nice to know I would not be walking as far today. Overnight it had rained quite heavily so I knew I would probably be in for a soaking, particularly from wet undergrowth. I made a very early start by driving from Dumfries to Dalbeattie, parking there and then getting the 07:00 bus #372A to Sandyhills. The cost was only £2.15, fantastic value and probably a route that is subsidised.
I arrived at Sandyhills under leaden overcast skies, with a light persistent drizzle that would be with me for most of the walk. There is a well defined and signed coast path from Sandyhills to Rockcliffe, which I found easily by the caravan park. The path climbed steeply up and across Torrs Hill before dropping down to the small hamlet of Portling. My next hill, White Hill, was slightly more substantial, although the path cut over its shoulder. From White Hill I had a final look back towards yesterday walk across Mersehead beach and could also make out the lighthouse at Southerness. Ahead I could see Rockcliffe and Rough Firth. The path kept well to the cliff edge all the way to Barcloy Hill, before making a right turn to head into Rockcliffe along the banks of Urr Water, which twisted and turned all the way to Dalbeattie.
Before I entered Rockcliffe, I seemed to have taken a different footpath which led me around a small campsite. I emerged back on the path and continued past holiday home lets. There was little to Rockcliffe along its shoreline, other than a bus stop and some toilets. I took one of the two main paths that link the village with nearby Kippford or Scaur.
One of the paths is called the Jubilee Path, I took the other which started just next to the public toilets.
Kippford or Scaur contain more facilities than Rockcliffe, including an hotel/pub The Anchor, a yachting club, RNLI life-boat station. I remember visiting and staying in Kippford 41 years ago as a student on a Geology field trip, surprisingly it appeared little had changed.
A single road leads out of Kippford or Scaur to the main A710. I followed this road safe in the knowledge that I would only walk about 50 metres along the A710 today! I knew this because at Barnbarroch, a newly constructed/ signed Core Path #20 through the Dalbeattie Forest indicated that Dalbeattie was just 2.5 miles away. Great I thought! I noticed on the information board that regular post markers would indicate your position. I was heading for postmarker 13, which would bring me close to the outskirts of Dalbeattie
However, at post #17 the forest road made a sharp turn left, but the newly constructed finger post pointed straight ahead up an hill along a much smaller but well trodden path. I ummed and rrrred. The head was saying follow the finger-post, the heart was saying stay on the main road. The head won and for the next 2 miles I was beating myself up for making the wrong decision. I knew where I wanted to be, but forest roads are notorious in taking you directions you may not necessary want to go in. Anyway, the long and short of it was I probably walked an extra couple of miles more than I should have before I emerged on the outskirts of Dalbeattie. The walk of just 12 miles had taken me 3.75 hours.
NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:
Distance today = 12 miles
Total distance = 1748 miles