A two-day trip back to Scotland would see me completing my journey around The Machars and begin my exploration of The Rhins of Galloway.
The day before I travelled up to Scotland was a phenomenally hot day throughout the UK. The downside to this, apart from the oppressive heat was that a series of large thunderstorms were forecast to sweep across Southern Scotland the following morning. I was a bit apprehensive about this on the drive up, especially as I saw the early morning skies darkening as I drove west along the A75. As it turned out, I only passed through one or two storms which were not that bad.
To get to Port William and resume my walk around The Machars, I had to park at Glenluce, take the 8:18 #X75 bus to Newton Stewart, then catch the #415 bus to Port William. Todays walk was going to be quite short and mainly along the A747, which hugs the coastline for most of its length.
I got off the bus at the harbour in Port William and immediately headed for a hot food takeaway cafe, which I seen on my previous visit. I bought a lovely sausage, egg and tattie scone bap, which was delicious and which I ate ‘on the hoof’ over the next mile. The rain, although light, had stopped as I started walking leaving the sky dull and overcast – and offering little in the way of views.
The first 8 or 9 miles was along the A747. The road was not quiet, neither was it busy, I just had to concentrate on traffic coming either way, which became quite tiring after a while. I tried a section of beach walking, but the size and shape of the large cobbles/pebbles meant for uncomfortable and slow walking.
Apart from the odd isolated farmhouse, there was nothing of note to see until I came upon the 10/11th century ruins of St. Finians Chapel. Not much was left of the Chapel which was very simple in design and enabled Pilgrims en route from Ireland to pray before proceeding onwards to St. Ninians Chapel at the Isle of Whithorn.
I passed old milestones with only a single letter and number indicating the possible destination and distance with an arrow or facing the direction of travel. They were nearly all carved from granite and seem very old. As the road came over a brow and dropped down to much flatter section, I walked alongside a hand-built retaining wall. What caught my eye was the fantastic detail and painstaking chore of capping-off the top of the wall with thousands upon thousands of small flat pebbles, which where freely available on the close-by shoreline. The wall stretched for about 100m and it certainly harked back to a time when perhaps attention to detail and eccentricity meant something – anyway it was different.
After passing through the scattered hamlet of Auchenmalg, I noticed The Cock Inn, undoubtedly amusing to some, I did not batter an eyelid as I have a similarly named drinking establishment – The Cock Hotel, close to where I live. As I passed through the grounds of the Cock Inn, I left behind the A747 and headed along a coastal path of some 2.5 miles around the wonderfully named Mull of Sinniness. The core-path certainly was there and was a path, but was overgrown with long wet grass and vegetation. I reverted to climbing fences and walking in the adjacent field.
The path eventually dropped down a steep bank into a small hamlet called Stairhaven. Here I spoke to a chap for a while about his solar panels and renewable energy in general. The sun by which time had finally started to come out of the clouds and things were beginning to heat up again.
As I continued along the small single track back road at Kilfillan Point I could hear splashing coming from about 200m out into the Bay. I could easy make out that these were Gannets diving for food. Using my small binoculars, I watched this activity for a while, as I had never seen this before.
The small road eventually met the A75. Fortunately, a cycle way appeared and went beneath the A75 and appeared alongside the access road into Glenluce. In Glenluce I found my car, changed and headed to Stranraer where my B&B was for the night. It had taken 5 hours to complete the walk.
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 = 14.5 miles
Total distance = 1974 miles