131. Ballantrae to Girvan

Today was going to be a shortish walk, which was a relief after two tough days walking in strong sunshine. I deliberated the pros and cons of parking in Ballantrae then begin walking to Girvan to get the bus back. Or driving to Girvan, wait for the bus to Ballantrae the walk back to Girvan. I opted to park in Ballantrae and start walking, aiming for the 12:30 bus from Girvan.

I had previously heard about Ballantrae on  three instances, from the book by R.L. Stevenson “The Master of Ballantrae”, which really did not feature Ballantrae in it at all; the gruesome undertakings of Sawney Beane et al ; and from  my Geology student days re:The Ballantrae Ophiolite Complex.

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Looking towards Bennane Head from the beach at Ballantrae
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What used to be the A77

I started walking at 6:45 and immediately popped into the local co-op to buy a couple of sausage and bacon rolls, which I munched away on as I walked out of the village. The footpath stopped at the edge of the village and so I transferred to the beach, which was quite firm in places. Eventually, I came to higher ground known as  Bennane Head,  where the A77 & ACP detours inland and uphill. I could see the old coast road was still well intact and would be the better option. Barbed wire had been strung across the top of on gates which ran across the old road. Most of the barbed wire had been removed and quite rightly so! The old road was effectively a large cattle pen and also acted as a large dumping ground for animal waste. I rejoined the main A77, above Sawney Beanes Cave, which I did not see. I walked on the grass verge, which was quite wide and closely mown. The road dropped down past a caravan park and then into Lendalfoot on a good footpath.

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Varyag monument

In Lendalfoot I visit the memorial to the Russian Destroyer – The Varyag, which ran aground here in 1920. The ship had an interesting  history, which would take about a page of narrative to complete! A huge bronze sculpture, which commemorates the ship and its crew, sits just off the main road amongst a host of information signs written in Cryllic. The one information board written in English, read as though it was written by the Politburo.The memorial was attended by senior officers of the Russian navy when it was unveiled and is held in high esteem in Russia.

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The old coast road

I continue on a footpath running alongside the A77. When the footpath stops a mile further on I transfer myself down onto to the beach and continue onto Pinbain Bridge. Here I cross the main road, walk through the old quarry and climb steeply up onto the old coast road. Although, effectively a green lane, once the steep bit is over the road is a delight to walk along. I continue to above Kennedy’d Pass where a mobile mast and the ruined house of Kilranny stand. I have a beautiful view down towards the A77 snaking its way into Girvan.

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Looking towards Girvan above Kennedys Pass

I hunker down for almost hour in this spot, because I would be far to early to catch my 12:30 bus and too late to the 10:30. I use my small binoculars to survey Girvan and the road leading to it. I decide to wait till I can see the 10:30 bus coming from Girvan before I continue my journey. I have become very comfortable in this grassy high perch. On seeing the bus I descend towards the A77 and continue along the ACP in an adjacent field. The path emerges onto the A77 at Ardwell and here I simply cross the road and move onto shoreline which offers easy walking.

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Girvan harbour

I cross over some brilliantly folded rock strata, which this area is famous for. I rejoin the road which now has a footpath all the way into town. I stop for a cup of tea and ‘toastie’ as I pass a refreshment hut at the car park as you come into the town. I walk along the sea front towards the small harbour. The short has taken a very leisurely 5.5 hrs.

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=21589

Distance today =  14 miles
Total distance =   2112 miles

 

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130. Stranraer to Ballantrae

Today will see me walking north and out of Dumfries and Galloway into South Ayrshire. It is a beautiful calm and still morning as I set off from Stranraer. The sun is yet to come out of the thin clouds that hide it.

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Old Ferry terminal Stranraer

I walk out past the deserted and desolate old Ferry Terminal at Stranraer, Stena chose to relocate some miles up the A77 to Cairn Ryan, to join P&O in providing ferry services to Belfast and Larne. Not long after leaving Stranraer, I meet a couple and their two Jack Russells, always a sucker for JR’s we discuss dogs and things in general, 30 later I am on my way again. When the traffic from the busy A77 stops, the peace and tranquility is splendid, with the sound of Oystercatchers, Curlews, Redshank, Ringed Plover and a host of other Gulls a welcome change to the incessant noise of traffic.

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On the A77 heading north towards Cairn Ryan

Although the Cairn Ryan Coast Path runs almost alongside the A77, I opt to stay on the cycle/pathway alongside; which was a big mistake! About 2 miles from Cairn Ryan, the cycle/footpath stops for no apparent reason in the middle of nowhere…………..WHY? Do they expect people to stop and turn around?? Absolute madness. It leaves me little choice other than continue on the verge…artics and all! Eventually I find a way back onto the  coastal path. I rejoin the A77 at th first of the Ferry terminals which is the P&O Larne terminal, the European Causeway is just about to be sent on its way.

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Loading up for the Stena service to Belfast
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The old coach road between Ayr to Stranraer

I find a bench and sit down, the tough day of yesterday has left my legs feeling quite tired. As I approach the Stena and Belfast Terminal, the  coastal path turns inland and quite steeply up onto moors. I am on the old coach road between Ayr and Stranraer which was used between the 1700 and early 1800’s. They must have had some fun with getting coaches up and down that hill!

On Little Laight Hill I pass a number of battery installments and searchlight sites from the WW2, all in ruins. I note an interesting stone, the “Taxing Stane” a marker of the boundary between the old kingdoms of Galloway and Carrick also in memory to Alpin, King of the Scots of Daldriada, murdered in nearby Glenapp.

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The Taxing Stane
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Looking across Loch Ryan to the North Rhins

The tarmac soon runs out and I am left out on the open moor. The views are stupendous from this height, I can see across the Loch towards all of yesterdays walk,  Kintyre and Ailsa Craig. The path disappears and I cross Galloway Burn and I am now officially in South Ayrshire. I have spotted some construction ahead which I believe to be a new wind farm. Later evidenced as I spot countless turbines in the dock area of Cairn Ryan. I avoid the site, but am shepherded by new fencing leading me to the access road for the site and a bloke with a clipboard! He points to another access road which is says is where the path goes. I go through a gate and are effectively dumped on the moor. I see one more signs, then its a case of fending for yourself. I reach a burn above Haggistone Bridge and try to battle down through gorse and bracken. The Mull of Galloway Trail has ended quite ignominiously which is only fitting really, as this Trail on the ground leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, as do most of the footpaths in D&G. The concept of Core Paths in D&G is really quite a myth being either a concept in someone’s head or just purple lines on maps  on the Councils own website. In reality few exist on the ground.

I emerge on the A77 in Glenapp and endure another 600m of verge walking along this busy road. At Glenapp church I say hello to the start of the Ayrshire Coastal Path, my guide fo the next  100 miles,  as it weaves its way north up the Ayrshire coast. AND just as I make a new acquaintance in the Ayrshire Coastal Path (ACP),  I acquire another almost immediately! Meet Mark a 58 year old taxi driver from Morecambe who is slowly cycling his way around the coast of Great Britain. Mark too had started out from Stranraer that morning and was also heading for Ballantrae. Mark had left the A77 a few miles back due to it being dangerous. Unfortunately, Mark did not have the adjacent map which he had strayed onto. He was indeed heading back to the A77. I suggested he try following my route on the Ayrshire Coastal Path, as parts of it could be cycable. But first we had to ascend 200m to bealach between Barbule and Sandloch Hill. It was certainly worth the climb, as the vista was breathtaking. At the bealach Mark had cycled off into the distance, but I met him up awhile later where I was due to turn off and follow the ACP down to the shore. As it turned out, the ACP was closed at this section (from 2015) for ground works on a interconnect cable between Scotland and Northern Ireland for electricity. The detour would take us slightly inland then use minor rods all he way into Ballantrae. Mark was apprehensive about the cycle back, I suggested he leave the cycle locked up in Ballantrae, get the bus back with me to Stranraer the collect his car  and back to pick his bike up. He said he wish he had thought of that! I arranged to meet Mark in Ballantrae, as he cycled off.

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Quirky shop Ballantrae

The final couple of miles down into Ballantrae were tiring even though they were on road and downhill. The minor roads joined up with the A77 as we crossed the River Stinchar into Ballantrae. I met up with Mark as we sat on a bench outside of the local church as the lorries thundered through the village in a monotonous procession. Oh what joy, I would be sharing the self same tarmac with them tomorrow. The walk had taken 8.75hrs

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=21583

Distance today =  20.5 miles
Total distance =   2098 miles

129. Mains of Airies to Stranraer

It was back to Scotland and I intended to spend 2 nights in Stranraer from where I would complete my walk around The Rhins and move north out of Dumfries and Galloway and into South Ayrshire. On my previous trip to The Rhins I had made a determined effort to try to get around close to the shoreline. Today I would be rounding the northern tip of The Rhins and walking back along Loch Ryan to Stranraer.

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Looking north from Mains of Airies with Ailsa Craig in the distance

I drove up early , parked in Stranraer and caught th 9:10 #412 Community Transport bus. It dropped me again at the end of the road leading to Mains of Airies. I walked down the road, past the farm and some cottages and when I reached the shore I turned north. Immediately I am in a field full of cows, I opt to walk in the adjacent field and they are not interested in me. The terrain is rough, with longish wet grass. In no time at my feet are sodden. Oh well.

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Corsewall lighthouse

At Dounan Bay I pass by a cottage, there is a car in the garden, but nobody around, and 4×4 on the smal beach. Perhaps they were out fishing? After climbing around Laggan Hill I get a good view onwards towards the lighthouse at Corsewall Point some 3 miles away. The ground between me and the lighthouse is reasonably flat, but a couple of fields have cattle in them.

The going underfoot has been quite good with little gorse and bracken, and I have had little need to climb gates and fences. By now I have  a very good view of Ailsa Craig, stuck out in The Irish Sea like an upturned blancmange.  I also have good views of the Isle of Arran. I can see the Kintyre peninsular and the coast of Northern Ireland but they are a bit hazy. I hear the deep dull thud of huge diesel engines as  a P&O Ferry, The European Highlander bound for Northern Ireland sails past just offshore. I pass through the first group of cattle without any problem, the second group are a different though, they are very “frisky” and interested in me. I keep a fence between me and them as I walk towards the shoreline. Fortunately they do not follow me.

I admire the former Stevenson lighthouse at Corsewall point, which is in wonderful condition and is now a hotel. A few cars are visible in a small parking spot, which is the end of the public road. I continue ahead, with the terrain  getting slightly more difficulty, with steep slopes and gullies. I see a group of cattle had passed though creating a path for me, albeit very muddy. I meet up with the said cattle at a small cove, they appear to be young bullocks and they are interested in me. However, I am perched on small outcrop looking down on them. I consider my options, the easiest one is simply to drop down to the beach and walk over the rocks, which I do. Again they did not follow.

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A Stena Ferry from Belfast enters Loch Ryan

At Milleur Point, the northernmost point of The Rhins, I encounter more cattle, some with young calf’s, they are noisy as I approach, I follow an adjacent field inland a bit before skirting around them. I am now heading south alongside Loch Ryan and I am rewarded with great views across Loch Ryan towards the hills of South Ayrshire. I can easily see tomorrow’s objective, Ballantrae, further up the coast.

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Warning of Ferry “Wash” at Lady Bay
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A Siberian Husky friend I met at Kirkcolm

I descend into the small Lady Bay, where a few tourists are fishing, dog-walking and sun bathing; the sun by this time was getting very hot. I walk along the beach to Jamieson Point. From here I will heading inland towards Kirkcolm, as I detour around Corsewall Gardens. I do actually walk into the grounds, right up to the “Big House” until I realise my error. I retrace my steps and find the old Kirk and graveyard. The old kirk is just a couple of walls totally overgrown, but some of the tombstones are very old and interesting.

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Castle of St John Stranraer

I emerge onto what is the A718 which runs all the way into Stranraer, which I can now see some 5 miles away. The next 5 miles are spent hopping between the road and the shore. The road is not really busy, but it is annoying to be constantly checking for cars. The A718 veers off inland  slightly when it comes to a golf course. I remain on the shoreline which takes me all the way into Stranraer.

An excellent walk, over quite demanding  terrain, with an abundance of livestock to contend with along the way. I take 7.75hrs 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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=21576

Distance today =  19 miles
Total distance =   2077.5 miles

 

128. Knott End to Lancaster

It was back to the English leg of my journey around the coast of Great Britain. I drove to Knott End on Sea and parked in the large free car park there. As I opened the car door, so did the heavens and so it continued for the next couple of hours!

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LS Lowry sculpture Knott End
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Looking back across the River Wyre to Fleetwood

Very few people were around the ferry terminal where I began my walk. The rain added to the gloominess of the place. I quickly took a photo of the stainless steel sculpture of LS Lowry and dog, who apparently used to sketch his drawing at Knott End. I continued walking along the promenade, with the sea some distance away, across marsh grass. I decided to seek shelter in a wind shelter during one particular heavy downpour. The footpath continued out-of-town along the Lancashire Coastal Way(LCW). The persistent rain and clag ensured I could not see any distance.

I arrived at a parking area at Fluke Hall, where I could see some Traveller families had pitched a few tents. Here the LCW continued along the road inland. I exchanged a few words with them about the weather and then continued below the grass-covered sea wall on the seaward side. I had seen a small notice saying that public access to Lands End ( another parking area almost 2 miles away) was allowed. However, I could see construction workers working just below the sea wall on the landward side about a kilometre away. I remained on the seaward side, which was very easy walking. By the time I had got the place of work they had disappeared over the other side of the seawall.  I continued on to Lands End and rejoined the seawall and could see signs advising that the sea wall was closed due to construction. Well I had not walked along the sea wall, so everything was ok.

From the Lands End car park I had decided to see how far I could get along the grass covered sea wall. I could see a stile allowing access down to area below the seawall, so just kept on. Eventually, I came to a small channel that required me to climb back up onto the sea wall and cross the channel. The field I emerged into had an old sign on the gate warning of “Bull in the Field” and another damaged sign that said “No Public Access”. The field I walked into was full of young bullocks. I lengthened my walking stick and proceeded to pick my way through them. One or two of the cattle became quite frisky, so I simply stood my ground and pointed my stick them, not letting them get up a ahead of steam or get to close. They followed me for a while at a respectful distance, before coming bored and eventually ignoring me. The only fence I climbed was a barbed wire one. Because I was walking along at the base of the sea wall, nobody could see me. Eventually the sea wall came to the Cocker Channel which headed in land to join the A588 at Cocker Bridge and enabled me to re-join the LCW.

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Tony, Coastal Walker

The Path then set towards Pattys Farm and then along a road to a caravan park at Bank End. Here, at a kissing gate, I came upon a fellow walker called Tony. It soon transpired that Tony was also walking around the coast of Great Britain, albeit in a rather eclective way. He had already achieved a grand total of some 4000+ miles and estimated he may even top 6000 to 7000 miles. We exchanged information about routes in the local area and after some 30 minutes of chatting we said farewell. This chance meeting was very nice and uplifting. Unfortunately, Tony does not have a website or blog. But if you are reading this, Tony from Abingdon, then good luck with your journey. We may even meet again, as we both have stretches of coast both of us have not yet walked.

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Cockersand Abbey

About 5 minutes, after meeting and chatting with Tony, I stopped and another 10 minute  chat with a dog walker. I continued on to Cockersand Abbey, although there is little of the left . The weather by this time had become very sunny, with a strong wind blowing in from Morecambe Bay. the views had also opened up with the Nuclear Power Station at Heysham dominating the view north.

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Glasson Dock
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Lune Estuary

By the time I reached Glasson Dock I had well and truly entered the Lune estuary. Withe tide well out, the Lune was lost in a sea of mud and sand. Beside the small Dock itself onto the Lune, Glasson had a small marina situated behind a further set of locks, which in turn had further  locks linking to the Glasson branch of the Lancaster Canal. At Glasson Dock I joined the route of an old railway line, long since disused, to Lancaster. The route is now a popular cycle (NCN #6) and walk way. I followed the LCW and NCN 6 all the way into Lancaster, where after getting some refreshment I caught the 15:17 #89H bus back to Knott End. The walk had taken 5.75hrs.

 

Distance today =  20 miles
Total distance =   2058.5 miles

127. Mains of Airies to Portpatrick

My final day on this trip would see me take on the northern coastline of The Rhins. I was determined to try to do a complete section along the coastline. To do justice to this section I had decided to break the section from Portpatrick to Stranraer into two sections. The final section I would complete on my next trip. Most blogs I have read on this section seem to stay on the roads which is some distance from the coast and misses out on probably the most rugged and best bit of The Rhins coast.

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Start of the walk

Because this area is very rural I decide to reverse my route, starting further up the coast at Mains of Airies and walking south to Portpatrick. I caught the 9:10 #412 bus from Stranraer, which is a service operated by the local Wigtownshire Community Transport charity. The bus runs twice a day on a Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat. I was the only passenger and the driver was telling me how the charity works, it was good to be supporting this service. I got dropped off at the end of the road leading down to Mains of Airies. The road passes through a farm and a few cottages, before it hits the coastline. The forecast rain appeared as I turned south heading into a stiff breeze which was with me for the rest of the day.

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Rare footpath infrastructure
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Standalone bridge – in good condition

The walking was quite easy and the big difference between this area and the rest of the Rhins, was that one side of a stone wall (which ran parallel to the shore) was an area of rough pasture, which cattle appeared to have grazed. If the grass got too long then I would simply climb a fence and walk alongside neighbouring fields. I found vestiges of old footpath signage, the odd dilapidated stile and a surprisingly good footbridge crossing a wee burn. The entrance to the footbridge was totally choked with vegetation. I passed through a number of enclosures with cattle in them, including bulls, with no problem. I did not see any  evidence that other walkers had passed this way and save for livestock, I only came across the odd red deer.

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Deer fence access gate…….or not
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Ingenious home made cattle grid

The first real obstacle was surprisingly a 9ft high deer fence! I could have climbed it, but decided to walk alongside it as it was going my way. I eventually came to a metal gate and pedestrian gate – both of which had been fenced over! The irony of it was that there was a footpath indicator on the gate post. I re-crossed a similar deer fence a half mile further on, which I easily scaled.

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Knock Bay with Killantringan Lighthouse ahead
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On Southern Upland Way descending into Lairds Bay
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Approaching Portpatrick

After passing a few sheltered little bays I could now see Killantrangan Lighthouse in the distance. This was important as this was where the Southern Upland Way (SUW) hit the coast and continued south onto Portpatrick. I thought I managed the section without any difficulty as I approached Knock / Killantrangan Bay. A steep drop onto the beach with dense vegetation blocked my path. I tried a number of ways of getting down to the beach and other than a long detour inland the only option was down. I opted for an easy slope with a thick covering of reeds and ferns. I don’t think I have ever walked through anything so tall. The reeds and ferns where about 8ft tall and my progress down the slope to the shoreline was slow. I eventually emerged on the beach and headed towards the lighthouse. I still had to climb back up to join the road that ran to the lighthouse. It was great to join the Southern Upland Way and be treated to a nice easy path all the way to Portpatrick, but what felt much better was the fact I had been able to stick to the coast on this section.

The SUW offered some interesting walking as it dropped down into Port Kale through steep rocks, before passing around to Port Mora and the curious twinned buildings of the former Coastal Interpretation Centre. I later found out these buildings housed the telephone and telegraph cables between Scotland and Ireland. Due to increased demand and traffic a second cable was run to Donaghadee on the Irish coast in 1893 and second similar building was attached to the first.

Portpatrick was as I had left it yesterday, still quite busy, but with quite a steep breeze still blowing, not so many seating outside as yesterday. I opted for a coffee and a slice of carrot cake before catching the #386 bus back to Stranraer. It had taken 6 hrs 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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=21384

Distance today =  14 miles
Total distance =   2038.5 miles

126. Port Logan to Portpatrick

Today I was hoping to follow as much of the coastline as possible. However, having read other blogs of people who had tried before, my hopes were not that high.

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Deserted Boat House close to the Fish Pond

Again caught the 8:55 #507, but this time getting off at Port Logan, where the weather was dull and calm with overcast skies. As I walked around to Logan Fish Pond I met my Dutch lady friend who had kindly given me a can of beer yesterday. We exchanged a few pleasantries and then went our separate ways. Soon after passing the Fish Pond I got my first taste of what was to come. Having burst through the overgrown path I came upon a deserted Boat House. I walked over the deserted shoreline which was strewn with plastic of all shapes, colours and sizes, picking my way from one small inlet to the next. I could see evidence of someone else coming this way with the grass trodden down, but it was faint and intermittent.

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Either Little Bridge or Devils Bridge

I alternated between walking in the adjacent fields and the gap between the water and the omnipresent electric fence which seems to be everywhere on The Rhins. The cliffs got steeper and I came upon a lovely natural sea-arch, from reading my map it could have been Little Bridge or Devil’s Bridge. I rounded the Mull of Logan and arrived above Port Lochan. I had to drop down to the beach here. Further up the beach I could see an old dilapidated caravan, that appeared as a permanent feature. I saw a small herd of cattle further up the beach, but between me and them was a mass of thick gorse and ferns. I had reached the road end at Port Gill, but could go no further as the occupants of the property had used the track as a duck come geese enclosure. So it was the gorse and bracken for me! It took me about 15 minutes of struggling on my hands and knees to get through the entanglement. Passing by the cattle I took a dirt track onto a green lane which went through a couple of gates to the farm at Drumbreddan. However, just before the farm I took another green lane which ran parallel with the shoreline about a field away. I came to another single track tarmac road, but crossed over into fields. I noticed an old kissing-gate long since overgrown and the ‘tell tale’ finger post with “gone missing” pointer.

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Easy walking………………………………….
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or maybe not!

I continued past Kenmuir Farm along a track that led into a field. I walked to the edge of the field and looked down a steep drop into Float Bay, where a private cottage with lawns and decking almost down to the water’s edge, barred my route, even if I could get down there. I retraced my steps and crossed a steep ravine and emerged in field heading for the small farm of West Ringuinea. Amazingly, I found a stile with protection from the electric fence totally overgrown. A tiny bridge alongside the stile was obliterated by vegetation but had rotted away. I emerged on the road exhausted and decided to stay on the road for the next couple of miles.

I passed a series of individual farms, all named on my map and chose a track near Kirklauchine going over Bailie Hill to get back to the cliff-line. The track emerged onto the cliff tops amongst a mass of gorse, I continued along the adjacent fields before coming to a steep ravine with thick gorse blocking my way. It was back to the road and I emerged about half a mile further down the road, very weary, I had to slog back through knee-high wet grass. The rain started in earnest, which did not help. I opted to stay on the road all the way into Portpatrick. How

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Dunskey Castle

ever, on passing the Knockinaan lodge turning I came across a footpath sign with kissing gate advising me that Portpatrick was only 2miles away. So it was along the coast again. The path was pretty good compared with what I had been walking on for most of the day. The path skirted a campsite and passed by the gloomy ruins of Dunskey Castle perched high

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Railway cutting on the old Stranraer to Portpatrick route

on the cliff-top. A short distance on and the path joins the route of the old and long since dismantled Stranraer – Portpatrick railway. The rail route goes through a very impressive cutting through solid rock. The footpath follows the rail for a short distance crossing an equally impressive wooden footbridge with a huge drop down to the sea. A short while later I am rewarded with a superb view down onto delightful village of Portpatrick.

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Looking down on Portpatrick

I had over an hour to wait for the next bus back to Stranraer, so I decided to get a beer. I popped into the Crown Hotel and ordered a pint of 16-21, a local Portpatrick brew, and the number of the local RNLI lifeboat, which the village was celebrating. The walk had taken 5.75 hrs.

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=21378

Distance today =  16.5 miles
Total distance =   2024.5 miles

 

125. Drummore to Port Logan

I was back in Scotland, this time planning 3 days continuing my walk around the Rhins of Galloway. I decided to base myself in Stranraer for three nights and hoped to get all but one of the remaining sections of the Rhins completed.

After parking in Stranraer I caught the 8:55 #507 bus to Drummore. The bus ony had a couple of passengers and we made good time down to the south Rhins. The sun was still behind the clouds as I set off past the harbour at Drummore, but not before calling in at the local store for a sandwich and cake. I continued along the Mull of Galloway Trail, but spent equal time walking along the beach. I could see the lighthouse at the Mull from some distance, but I still had to cover 5 miles to get there.

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Looking ahead to the Mull of Galloway above East Tarbet
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Looking back to the Mull from Kennedys Cairn
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Kennedys Cairn

After rounding Calliness Point I came to Maryport Bay, which did not really look like a bay, just another piece of shoreline. As the bracken and undergrowth grew ever higher I headed for the beach again. By the time I reached Portankill, I had to leave the beach and climb the steepening shore cliffs. I passed a sign which indicated that St Medan chapel and cave was nearby. I had a quick look down towards the shoreline but could see nothing. St Medan was an 8th century Irish princess and has a number of stories and myths associated with her. The path led to a delightful cove at East Tarbet and was not more than a 150m from West Tarbet which faces onto the North Channel of the Irish Sea. From this neck, the Mull rose as a gentle slope with the single track road snaking its way to the car park. By the time I reached the car park, the place was very busy. There was a multitude of information signs to read, but one particular caught my eye. It was of a plane crash in 1944 of Bristol Beufighter which killed two RAF airman and reminded me of a similar crash which I had come across in Dundrennan also involving a Beaufighter. I continued past the Visitor Centre and headed down to Lagvag Point the tip of the Mull. From far below I could hear and see a number of tides battling it out creating quite a maelstrom. Views across to the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland were outstanding. After walking around the Stevenson lighthouse it was time to start walking north. This would be my furthest south in Scotland and I was staggered to learn that I was almost as far south as Workington in Cumbria.

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The Old Post Road to Port Logan

I had decided  to continue across to Kennedy’s cairn, a large structure from the late 19th century whose purpose is not clear. I continued to walk north along the road. Apparently, the path along the west coast was non-existent and I had read that one farmer had run his barb-wired fence right to the end of the cliff-top. I also noticed that some public-footpath signs were ‘missing’. It is easy to bypass one fence, but having to deal with 30+ of the buggers with stone walls and double electric  fences is no joke and it gets very tiring. I walked north along the single track road to wards Kirkmaiden, which was actually quite busy with all the visitors to the Mull. Around two miles after leaving the Lighthouse I passed, unknowingly the 2000 mile mark on my walk around the coast.

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Thou shalt not cross!!
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Amusing scarecrow – Port Logan
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Cheers, it certainly went down well!

When I reached Kirkmaiden I turned left and headed west along  a quiet   single track road that led back towards the coast at Clanyard. At Clanyard there is nothing much other than a couple of farms/cottages and the ruins of Clanyard Castle. Nothing much remains of this Gordon stronghold which was abandonded in 1684. After Clanyard I turned up a green lane called the Old Post Road, which ran all the way to Port Logan. Half way along this green lane I came across a locked gate with a large agricultural trailer blocking the gate. Alongside the gate was a distinct sign that said “Public Footpath”. I don’t know why anybody would want to do such a thing. Anyway I really enjoyed the walk down into the lovely Port Logan. Although not very busy, a few group of people where on the beach. I headed towards the bus stop, where with an hour to kill I thought I would get a drink. Unfortunately, the Port Logan Inn was closed due to running out of money for the upgrade. I struck up a conversation with a nice Dutch lady, we spoke at length about this and that. Before she left she produced a can of beer from her bag and gave it to me. It was a really nice gesture and I did enjoy it, even if it still was Budweiser! It took 5.75hrs to complete this 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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=21375

Distance today =  15.5 miles
Total distance =   2008 miles