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Sunday, 27 April 2008

Wigtownshire Ramblers- Killantringan

Saturday the 26th April,and todays walk was to start at the Killantringan lighthouse.
No one else going from Newton Stewart today,so i made my own way over to the west coast of the North Rhins.
The weather was dull,damp and overcast and the forecast wasn't good.

Seventeen well wrapped walkers today.The walk leader informing us of a change to the original planned walk.
The original walk was coastal and northwards from here.Now because of the weather the new route was to take us through the Dunskey estate to Portpatrick,and back along the coast path to Killantringan.

Leaving behind the scenic Killantringan bay we set off eastwards.
Todays group consisted of the diehards,a visitor from Wishaw i think it was,and some younger members.A notable absentee was our chairman who's gone off to the south of France.He'll be in such a hurry to get back!

After a few hundred yards of tarmac road we turned south heading for the Dunskey Estate.A farmer,on the now familiar quad bike was checking on the newer additions to his livestock.

In spite of global warming we still have springtime.

This is lovely rolling countryside,and the pace is steady enough to enjoy views such as this whitewashed cottage.

Now we're just entering the Dunskey estate and here's something i haven't seen since i was a teenager-dead moles lined up on a fence.
Surfing the net i see that molecatching is still an honourable occupation.Molecatchers it seems are not in the business to eradicate them,but to manage them.

Budding Catkins,Bluebells and Wild Garlic are more evidence of the time of year.

It's still dull and threatening,but the weather never seems to be a problem to this happy bunch.

As we pass the now mostly unused back entrance,i can see back to Dunskey house where the present Laird still resides.I couldn't get a photo,so i'll be back for another visit sometime.Maybe he'll invite me in for tiffin.

Now we're headin through the Dunskey/Portpatrick Golf club and it's started drizzling with rain.I'm in trouble for saying i thought we'd miss it.

History of Portpatrick Dunskey Golf Club
It was in 1902 that Mr CL Orr Ewing MP, owner of the Dunskey Estates, realised the possibilities open to Portpatrick and set about the provision of a Golf Course. In the Autumn of that year he surveyed the ground with Mr Charles Hunter, of Prestwick. The Club - Dunskey Golf Club - was opened in April of the following year, 1903, extending to over 100 acres.

I'd like to think i'll get a game here one day.

In my view,Portpatrick has become a victim of it's own popularity,although most people would disagree with me.
I once had an hour long conversation with a lifetime resident of 84 years,who told me that if he'd somewhere to go he'd leave.There are very few locals left,most selling up to make a profit.And locals couldn't get houses anyway at the prices they're fetching.No hope for first time buyers.Even ex local authority houses are quickly snapped up by outside money.The Stranraer Police apparently refer to Portpatrick as 'Little England'.

It cannot be denied though that Portpatrick has the feel of being somewhere special.

Now we pass the imposing 'Portpatrick Hotel'.It has it's own nine hole golf course adjacent to the Portpatrick Dunskey Golf Club's eighteen holes.

I've included this picture,from a previous visit to the harbour,to show how imposing it is.

Now we're heading north out of Portpatrick where the Coastguards are abseil training.They stopped when they saw us coming.

This is the starting path of the Southern Upland Way for anyone walking west to east.
The other end of the Southern Upland Way is at Cocksburnpath,midway between North Berwick and Berwick on Tweed on the east coast.Oh that i were younger and had started rambling earlier.

Now we're approaching Port Mora,locally known as Sandeel Bay where we'll lunch.
There were beach huts here in days gone by.A few of todays walkers are quite knowledgeable about Sandeel Bay.

These caves looks interesting-but first refreshments.

Refreshed,a lot of the walkers explore the caves.

This one on the right has a legend of being once occupied-one knowledgeable rambler put a name to the supposed occupant,but my memory has deserted me of that name.

Drinking from the waterfall on the left was thought to be a cure for various ailments.
An exploration by the Society of Antiquarians of this Ouchtriemakain Cave and other caves in the region back in April 1930 makes very interesting reading.
It can be found at
Time to head on and time for a detour for a few of us to look at the graves of members of the Orr-Ewings of Dunskey.

These are on the headland between Port Mora(Sandeel Bay)and Port Kale known locally as Lairds Bay.
The Orr-Ewings are descendents of William the Conqueror,and these graves are of military or naval members of the family.Whether one of them is the Lt A.Orr-Ewing that made four attempts to escape Colditz,succeeded once but was recaptured,i don't know.I'll take a closer look on my next visit.

The other walkers are down below us.

On into Laird's Bay.This is a Coastal Interpretation Centre housed in an old cable telegraph building which was built in the 1850s when a cable was laid between Scotland and Ireland.I'd never heard of an Interpretation Centre but according to Wikipedia it 'is an institution for dissemination of knowledge of natural or cultural heritage'.So now i'm a lot wiser!?Does that mean it's something like a museum?Taggart-Sorry ye've lost me.

Another very scenic bay.Apparently a lovely walk down from Dunskey Glen.One for my visitors.

Now leaving Lairds bay the path rises steeply.Chains have been set up to allow the walker to haul himself to the top...

...and more chains..

..and up here there's a lovely view back down to Lairds Bay.

Chains negotiated,now for the stile.

The weather's warming up,the sun's coming out and there's this lovely view of Killantringan lighthouse.

Now on the undulating cliff path there are still lovely views and for those with weary legs the end is in sight.

It's really warming up now,and waterproofs are being packed away.

Now we're at Portamaggie or sometimes Port-a-Maggie,and there's something in the water.Shipwrecks have been numerous along this coastline.

This is what remains of the most recent.It was the 26 February 1982 when the 800 ton container ship "Craigantlet" bound from Belfast to Liverpool ran aground on the rocks in Port-a-Maggie Bay, just below the lighthouse. The Principal Lightkeeper was the first person to raise the alarm. The crew was airlifted to safety by a Sea King from 819 Squadron at HMS Gannet, Prestwick. Because of the nature of her cargo, several containers were marked with hazard code numbers as they contained dangerous chemicals. Due to the danger of breaking up and spillage, the area was considered unsafe. An emergency unmanned light was in use during the 6½ weeks it took to make her safe.

Now we've a final look at this beautiful landmark....

...before the last short leg back to the cars.

Nobody's in too much of a hurry now that the sun's come out.

And there's still time for a final photocall...

...and a final picture of Killantringan bay for comparison with the one i took at the walk start.
What a brilliant walk this has been.


  1. wow!
    somegorgeous new photos since i last visited your blog. i love em.
    also some reaslly lovely words to accompany the pictures.
    i can't wait to visit. it sounds like there's a load of new places to take us to explore.
    amazing. also really glad your you tube videos are being used and seen as they are also ace.

  2. May I use your photograph of the cable telegraph building at Killantringan on my cable history website, with a credit and link to your blog?

    Do you have any other photos of this building, perhaps showing it in context?



  3. For Bill.
    No problem using that picture.I'm not sure if i took anymore.I'll check my pictures later,and if i've anymore,i'll let you know.


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