Today I would be walking onto The Rhins (or Rhinns) of Galloway, a uniquely hammer-shaped peninsular with coast-line facing the North Channel, Luce Bay and Loch Ryan. Although, the Isle of Walney nr Barrow has a somewhat similar shape, The Rhins are much bigger with a coastline extending for 50 miles.
I had stayed in Stranraer overnight and because of the bus timings serving my walking route I had decided to leave my car parked in Stranraer (free parking) and catch the early 6:20 #500 bus to Glenluce. This early start was necessary because I had to catch the 13:20 bus from Drummore back to Stranraer. The walk was going to be a mixture of road, beach and track walking.
It was overcast as as I set out from Glenluce, walking a short distant to cross underneath the Luce Viaduct and over the Water of Luce to follow an old road down to join the A75. A cycleway ran along the busy road until I turned off down the B7084. The A75 has had some upgrading done recently to a dual carriageway status, leaving parts of the old road course as now the B7084. I thought the road would be quiet but no, it was busy even at 7:00 in the morning, with cement lorries and other HGV making for the quarry 4 miles down the road. There was also the odd-nutter who was using the road as his own private race-track; unfortunately, I could hear the nutter coming from a distance and was able to take evasive action.
The road was predominantly straight and flat and bordered the large MOD firing range. By the time i reached the quarry, I had joined up with the Mull of Galloway trail, a 24 mile trail starting at the end of the Ayrshire Coastal Path and running south through Stranraer and then following the east coast of the South Rhins all the way to the Mull of Galloway.
The tide was out when I emerged onto Luce Sands and I was able to walk along the firm sand beach towards Ardwell Mill. Here the path rejoined the road, but not before some stupid routing through a bog, up a hil then down again onto the beach. The trail path was actually quite useless and stopped following it, it was a case of walking on the beach or on the road. I passed through the quite hamlet of Ardwell, before trying to find a turn-off back to the beach. The Trail signs were contradictory, so I amde my own way towards the beach and emerged by the old Windmill ruins at Logan Mills. Here I was able to walk along the sandy beach to Balgowan Point where the beach entered the charming and peaceful New England Bay. I was able to stay onto the beach until Terally Bay, where I had to go back to walking on the road. After about half a mile I was back on the beach all the way to Kilstay Bay where I was able to walk along the top of the sea wall.
It was getting very warm by the time I reached the outskirts of Drummore. I had lovely views across Luce Bay to The Machars and I could rest easy about catching the 13:20, as I had made good time. The walk into Drummore was a delight as a footpath dropped down to the beach away from the road and featured a number of Palm type Mediterranean trees, which did not look out-of-place in this sleepy village. I pass a number of brightly decorated and painted pebbles alongside the path, each is unique and some convey a message or poem. I complete my walk and have an hour to kill. I make for the Queens Arms, the pint of cider does not stay in the glass long. It is now very sunny and hot as I wait for the #407 bus back to Stranraer. I complete the walk in 5.75hrs.
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 = 18.5 miles
Total distance = 1992.5 miles