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

 

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