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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Wigtownshire Ramblers-Portpatrick to Stranraer (SUW) January 2011

It's Saturday the 29th of January and todays walk is the first section of the Southern Upland Way (SUW).
It's a year to the day ( 30th Jan 2010 ) since we did this walk in reverse.
2010 Walk

The majority of walkers gather at the Breastworks car park in Stranraer in time to catch the bus to Portpatrick.A few others are already at the walk start.
It's a frosty but wonderfully bright day.

There's a couple of odd birds swimming in the harbour as we head to the very beginning of the SUW.

We're a group of 20 walkers today.A climb up the steps brings us on to the cliff path north.

Behind us is a tranquil scene.

Here's a coincidence,the Coastguards are training just as they were last year.We watch and talk to the co-ordinator for a while.

Continuing on past the Dunskey golf course,some of our local walkers keep an eye open for lost golf balls.(Maybe even their own)

The lovely Port Mora with it's waterfall and caves comes next.We come across quite a few walkers today.

Now on to Port Kale and the Killantringan Cable Hut.
Atlantic Cable

The rocky steps and chains come next....

...bringing us up to Ouchtriemakain Moor and our first view of Killantringan Lighthouse.

I get my picture taken (thanks Scoop)

The lighthouse seems close,but it's one of those optical illusions.We've still to round Portavaddie and Portmaggie Bays begore we reach it.

Standing prominent is the wreck of the Craigantlet,while the rust gathers on the foghorn and it's pressurised air tanks.

Just past the lighthouse are the lovely beaches of Killantringan and Knock Bay...

...we stop for lunch overlooking them.
Basking sharks were being viewed from here last summer.

Now we turn inland.We'll be walking on tarmac for the next few kilometres.Bully couldn't care less about us.

Reaching the B738 we take a moment out.There's a lot of smiling happy faces today.

Back on the move,a couple of hundred metres brings us to a minor road and Knock and Maize.
A standing stone,very young lambs and a house designed by one today's walkers were the talking points on this stretch.

Just past Knocknamoak we turn down the farmtrack which will take us to Glenstockadale Several.

Since reaching the B738,the landscape has been dominated by the wind turbines at Craigenlee.
I found an interesting PDF published by D & G Council prior to it being built.
 North Rhins Wind Farm

The ducks on this pond looked quite inanimate.
On closer inspection they were quite inanimate.Wooden ducks !

The road up to Glenstockadale.

Now we reach the cairn on top of the hill I always get confused with.
This is not Slewtrain Hill, although similar in appearance this is Mulloch Hill.
That's Slewtrain sitting above Knockquhassan reservoir  in the next picture.

From here we can make out the ranges of the Galloway Hills.

Now we head over Broad moor on the southern-side of the reservoir.
Through a gate we came across one of the 13 Makars Kist's found along the length of the SUW.I've blogged this subject before.
The newer walkers of the group,and those building a collection each took away one of the 'Merks' found in the Kist.
More information can be found on this webpage.

After crossing the Crailloch burn we're back on a tarmac road which takes us past the Hillside Piggeries (now a poultry farm and a garage ) and Gallowhill Farm..... overlook Stranraer and Loch Ryan.We're getting stretched out a little,but our walk leader counts us all in as we finish the walk.A number of walkers finish it in style with tea and scones at Stir-it.
A very well led and enjoyable walk today.The beautiful weather was an added bonus.

Well more than a footnote really.It's an excellent report for the press composed by Spinning Jenny.
On a sunny but cold day seventeen ramblers assembled at the Breastworks in Stranraer before boarding the Portpatrick bus for a leisurely start to what proved to be a most exhilarating day.Three ramblers already at the walk start swelled the number to twenty. The harbour bore its picture postcard outfit in the brilliant and clear light of the morning and as the bus took the company along the Portpatrick road the sight of lambs gambolling in the fields really gave a foretaste of a spring soon to be with us.

Walking started in earnest with the steps up to the Portpatrick Hotel, along the Southern Upland Way. This hotel looks over the north end of the village, built to a design by J.K.Hunter for Charles Orr Ewing, laird of Dunskey estate, in 1901.

An early rest was taken after this exertion to watch the coastguard training on the cliffs just past the old Post Office radio station. Suspended half way down the cliffs a trainee was watched by an even more precarious and brave soul who leant out from the top of the cliff secured only by a rope.

The path was still icy in places but the views were glorious as the ramblers passed by Sandeel Bay and the Dupping Cave where the waterfall splashed over the rocks before the water made its way quietly to the sea. The day had brought many walkers out and it was heartening to see the path so well used.

The next bay, Laird’s Bay, holds the terminus for a submarine telephone cable which was first laid in the 1850s. The white painted Victorian hut which marks the spot is at the end of a track leading up Dunskey glen but the Southern Upland way continued along the beach and up a steep chained path once more to the cliffs.

It was a pleasant walk from here to the lighthouse at Killantringan, along grassy slopes and in and out of gullies to the last rise overlooking Black Head and the little remaining of the wreckage of Craigantlet, a Cypriot coaster which sank here in 1982.

Along past the lighthouse, lunch was taken in a sheltered gully with views of Killantringan sands and Knock house on the bluff above.  Taking the walkers away from this welcome rest the road now led upwards and inland to gradually gain a view of the windmills on the moors. The path skirts around the windfarm, ever upwards, passing a large standing stone on the corner where a minor road departs from the B738 ( formerly the A764 ), and eventually the tarmac is left for a softer way underfoot.

Along this moorland path a pause was taken to inspect a kist, containing tokens of the ‘New Hoard’. These tokens are to be collected all along the Southern Upland Way, each kist containing coins designed by young artists – in this case the waymerk sculptor was Alice Mitchell, poet.

The high point of the moors is the viewpoint on Mulloch Hill where a splendid panorama in all directions gives views of Ireland , Kintyre, Ailsa Craig and Arran , Cairnryan and the Merrick , with nearer views of Knockquhassan Reservoir, the next objective.

From here the walkers were told it was all downhill to Stranraer – but it seemed to some that the way to Greenfield and the old piggeries at Hillside contained quite a few uphill sections. However, Glebe cemetery was soon in view and Stranraer, still looking like a picture postcard in the bright afternoon sunshine, welcomed the company back – for some the added incentive of scones at Stir It tea room helped to quicken the pace.


  1. You have sun! I'd forgotten what colour looked like.

  2. The wooden duck looks more animate on the photo!

    The pictures of the lighthouse are stunning - maybe it's because I love the sea and coastal sceneries. Lovely weather you had!


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