Another 2 day trip to Scotland as I continue my walk around the Scotland’s coastline. I was looking forward to todays walk, as I will be walking mostly off-road.
I left Shropshire early to catch the 07:05 Stagecoach #502 bus from Gatehouse of Fleet to Kirkcudbright. At a cost of only £2.20, this offered excellent value for money. I get off the bus at the harbour in Kirkcudbright, its cool and overcast – great walking weather. I cross the River Dee by the concrete bridge, which although solid-looking is quite ugly. I walk for a short distance along the A755 before turning down the B727, which at this time of the morning is quite quiet.
After a couple of miles I come to Nun Mill Bay where i need to locate the start of a footpath at Mill Hall Glen. It is not obvious where the footpath begins. I ignore the private signs and walk past a number of retirement homes. I make out at the end of the road a footpath sign pointing to a small gap where my footpath begins. This pathway will lead for a couple of miles through Senwick Wood and although slightly overgrown in places is a delight to walk through. The path eventually emerges at the remains of Senwick church and graveyard. I spend sometime exploring the graveyard and the written inscriptions on the headstones. I see that some of the stones are very old, dating from the early 18th century and giving ages of people who would have been alive at the time of the Restoration.
I emerge alongside a small caravan park at Balmangan, which I pass by heading up towards the brow of a hill. The view from this modest height is excellent with a sweeping panorama across to the hills of the Lakes, across to the Isle of Man and down on Ross Bay with its small promontory of Meikle Ross and the small island of Little Ross with lighthouse. I follow the road around the Bay and find a footpath sign pointing to Meikle Ross. Although only 90m high I divert off the path to ‘bag’ the summit. I complete almost a full circle of Meikle Ross and continue along the coast skirting Mull of Ross, finding a path of skirts, with occasional signs and kissing gates.
I make good time and eventually arrive at Brighouse Bay, where I have the small beach to myself. I follow a path through a wooded plantation running alongside a caravan park and a picturesque golf course. After about 3 miles the path signage begins to disappear and the gates begin less well used. I head inland, getting stuck in some enclosed fields with their barbed-wired fences either side of a stone wall. I eventually pick up the green lane towards Kirkandrews. At Kirkandrews I come across a small kirk, built as a castle!
The Lych gate has a mock portcullis, as does the entrance porch, there is a mini-turret tower which hides the chimney. The kirk provides services to all denominations and is apparently a favourite wedding venue. As I pass further down the road I pass a farm with more buildings in the same gothic style, barns and milking parlours as castles! Locally called the “Coo Palace”, this is yet another building of the Manchester industrialist James Brown, who at the turn of the 20th century a number of these rather idiosyncratic, often whimsical follies around the Knockbrex estate. Personally, I think the buildings look ugly, especially as they use a very dark stone , with light mortar. I carry along the road towards Knockbrex, as I see no evidence of any footpath, although the shoreline is only 80m away.
As I reach Carrick, the sun emerges from the clouds and is now quite fierce now. I decide to take an extended break of 30mins. I sit and take in the glorious views of the Islands of Fleet, in particular Ardwell Island, lying about 400m offshore.
I carry on towards White Bay at Sandgreen, where I walk along the small beach before turning inland through the caravan site and onto a straight green lane which will take me past Cally Mains. Aft passing the farm at Cally Mains I begin to pick up the roar of traffic from the A75. The lane passes underneath the busy A75 and emerges outside the Cally Mains Palace, now a Hotel, country club and golf course. The golf course is not on my map, so i head down one of the tracks along the fairways, before emerging in Grassie Park in the centre of Gatehouse of Fleet. It had taken me a leisurely 8.5hrs to cover the distance.
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 = 23 miles
Total distance = 1839 miles