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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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

 

 

 

 

124. Glenluce to Drummore

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.

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Luce viaduct

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.

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Luce Sands

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.

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New England Bay
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Kilstay Bay

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.

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Drummore

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=21277

Distance today =  18.5 miles
Total distance =   1992.5 miles

123. Port William to Glenluce

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.

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St. Finians Chapel

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.

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Translation: Port William 6 miles/ Glenluce 8 miles
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Thousands of small flat pebbles capping off wall

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.

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Looking back towards Auchenmalg from The Mull of Sinniness

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=21272

Distance today =  14.5 miles
Total distance =   1974 miles

121. Garlieston to Port William

My second day walking around  The Machars, with a sunny hot day forecast and 90% of the walk being off-road. My B&B was in Port William where I intended to finish todays walk. I parked at the harbour and waited to catch the 8:20 #415 bus to Garlieston. At only £2.30 for a 50 minute bus ride it turned out to be excellent value for money.

I started walking in Garlieston and proceeded along Core Path #428 telling me that Portyerrock was 6 miles away. I continued along a woodland footpath along the shoreline and emerged at the small bay at Cruggleton. The tide was out, so I was able to walk across rocks, sand and seaweed to the far side. I entered Cruggleton woods and emerged soon after into the bright sunshine. Ahead I could see the whole coastline down to Cairn Head, some 7 miles away.

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The remains of Cruggleton Castle
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Belted Galloway

In a short time I came to the remains of Cruggleton castle, which dates back at least to the 12th century. Very little remains of the castle today and what is there is predominantly overgrown with vegetation. The path continues through a procession of small fields each with a style or kissing gate and hosting either sheep or cattle. Eventually i arrive at Portyerrock which is just a collection of a few house and old mill and walk about 300m along a lane before following another Core Path #355 for the remaining 2 miles to isle of Whithorn. Passing over the slight brow of Stein Head, I can look down on the small fishing village of Isle of Whithorn. The village is famous for the site of the St Ninians chapel, now in ruins, it still attracts Pilgrims and visitors alike.

I head along another 2 miles which would take me over Burrow Head, the most southerly point of The Machars. From Burrow Head I see the Isle of Mann, only 15 miles away and west towards the Mull of Galloway (the most southerly point in Scotland). I have now more or less rounded the Machars and will begin my journey in a north-westerly direction. I head through a small holiday park and continue along the coast.

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St. Ninians Cave
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Raised beach below Fell of Carleton

I emerge at a small inlet called Port Castle Bay, the beach is empty albeit for a fisherman trying his luck. I walk past him and enquire if the path continues past St Ninians cave. He does not know. The core path I was on, shoots inland, but I wish to continue along the coastal route. I check out St. Ninians cave, which is nothing more than a small recess in which the saint prayed. There are numerous homemade crosses made from driftwood lying around. The outcrop that held the cave blocks my way, the cliffs are steep and would require good scrambling skills. I opt to go inland about 300m and pass through a small wood out into a field full of cattle.

I regain the coastline along the cliff top, with the huge difference being there is no longer a path to follow. I walk alongside fields of grass and barley. Its tough going especially when I come to a fence or wall. Eventually I spot on the map a track that descends down to the beach, I reach the track and drop down to a raised or storm beach, which has lots of vegetation and enormous amounts of flotsam/jetsam, ranging from beer barrels to council litter bins. It is obvious that this section of coastline receives few visitors.

The walking is generally easy over pebbles, cobbles and vegetation. After about 2.5 miles I realise that I must find a way back up the cliffs, as eventually the beach runs out. I soon spot a well-worn track leading up the cliff-side. I follow the track which runs parallel to coast until I can see the Golf Course at St. Medan. St Medan is a delightful little 9 hole course, which sits on a small spit of land with a prominent hill, The Lag, at its centre.

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The Lag at St. Medan
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Looking north from Port William

I drop down to the small road leading up from the golf course and visit a small memorial to Gavin Maxwell, who hailed from this area. The monument is of one of the his famous otters, although I did’nt recall a name. The view onwards is amazing, towards Barsalloch Point where I’m heading next. I walk across a small footpath which takes me into Monrieth. I am now on the A747 which will deliver me to Port William in about 3 miles. As ever, I keep a special watch out for traffic, which although light, passes me at high-speed.

I complete a very tough day in 8hrs.

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=21182

Distance today =  23 miles
Total distance =   1947.5 miles