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Sunday, 21 October 2012

Wigtownshire Ramblers Garlieston to the Isle of Whithorn October 2012

Saturday the 20th of October.
We're meeting up at the Isle of Whithorn to catch the bus back to Garlieston from where we'll do the coastal walk back to the Isle. We're a group of 17 today. The contingent from Stranraer arrived at the same time as the bus, but we made it. This is a fairly regular walk where we alternate the start and finish. Here's a link to a 2010 walk.
The author of today's walk report will be the 'Organizer', and her report will be published below.

Although the rain had stopped, it was still wet underfoot, and we were warned it would be muddy.

There were one or two people enjoying the dry morning as we made our way through the village to the coastal path

After passing Galloway House Gardens we rounded Rigg Bay.
The couple and their dog were the only people we encountered until we neared the Isle.

After passing through a damp and slippery wood we got our first glimpse of the remains of the 13th century Cruggleton Castle.
The Galloway House Estate has a number of properties for holiday hire, and Cruggleton Lodge is one of these. 

Lovely ladies and blue sky,'s a really nice day.

The stiles and gates are nicely maintained.

The view back and across Wigtown Bay

The arch has recently been repaired to stop it falling down. It must have been touch and go.

Lunchtime in the sunshine.
Here's what the Canmore Web Page has listed.

Walking in the company of the 'Weaver' and the 'Farmer', I learned the difference between Maize and Corn.
No points but you can guess if you like what the above cob is.

The first of two WW2 'pill boxes' we came across.

Thanks to the walk leader and the lady on the left above, I get in the picture.

This is a small 'Buccaneer' fishing vessel going by the name of Molly.
It's too small for it's present owner and is up for sale on the website 

The second 'pillbox' and the outlines of an ancient fort and a settlement.

Portyerrock Mill
During the walk we'd heard a few curlews and other sea birds. The heron flew up from just in front of us, but I was a bit slow with the camera.

After a short walk on tarmac, we're back on the shore at Cairnhead Bay. 
This was the site of an important facility in the construction of the Mulberry Harbour.
I came across a comprehensive american naval page which states that "six floating pierheads for OMAHA (I guess they mean the landings) were constructed by the British at Cairnhead".
We saw the Jet Skiers again near the Isle.

A couple of drystane walls gave me an opportunity to take lots of pictures.

Steinhead trigpoint S8232, complete with flush bracket. Apparently it's the 'Southmost non primary pillar in Scotland'

Heading down to the Isle of Whithorn.....

..........and back to the cars.
A very pleasant walk despite the mud. 

Here's the organizer's report

Wigtownshire Ramblers 20th October           Garlieston to the Isle of Whithorn
Seventeen members arrived at the Isle of Whithorn to board the bus to Garlieston in order to walk back to the Isle. Everyone was in high spirits as the forecast was for dry weather. There was the usual banter between those who had a bus pass and those not yet old enough to qualify. One lady passenger getting on at Whithorn was surprised to see the bus so full and was almost persuaded to join us.
On our arrival at Garlieston the walk leader warned us about the conditions underfoot and the vast amounts of mud ahead. Not to be deterred we set off at a good pace along the harbour and past the luxury flats development noting that there were still some available to buy.  Going through the gate leading to the coastal path we followed the shore. Galloway House soon came into view. It was looking impressive through the autumn colours of the trees lining the path. The house was built by the 6th Earl in 1740 and it is said that he chose the site because nowhere else in the shire could he have his home surrounded by such fine trees. 
Walking on we disturbed a toad that had been hiding at the side of the path and was not at all pleased to discover that his camouflage had not protected him from the keen eyesight of some in our group. Photos taken we moved on through the woods taking various routes to avoid the worst of the mud. At the top of the path we emerged into bright sunshine and panoramic views over Wigtown bay. Remains of wartime mulberry harbour constructions could be seen in the water. In front of us, the distinctive arch of Cruggleton castle, our lunch stop destination, beckoned. After fortifying ourselves with sweeties provided by our leader we set off across some very squaggy fields and soon arrived at the Castle. Cruggleton is one of the oldest castles in the county and was a place of great size and strength belonging to the Lords of Galloway. It was reported to have at least eight towers. After passing through the hands of various owners it came into the possession of the Agnews of Lochnaw but by 1684 it had fallen into ruin. 

After lunch the path lead around waterlogged fields which had recently been ploughed and to the side of a crop of maize which looked as if it had suffered badly from the recent poor summer. The walkers reflected on the hardships that the weather had undoubtedly caused to the farmers this year. We now spotted an old wartime observation tower which proved to be an irresistible photo opportunity for our camera toting members. Walking diagonally across the next field in order to avoid some cattle, one particular walker, who had managed to avoid the worst of the mud so far, managed to get well and truly splashed, much to the hilarity of the rest of us. Skirting a field of kale the path now went up onto the headland overlooking Howe Hole of Shaddock. Out to sea a fishing boat named Molly was visible, busy amongst the buoys of the lobster creels. 

The path now emerged onto the road at Portyerrock Mill where a choice of route was offered. Four members decided that they had walked far enough in the mud for one day and headed back to the Isle along the road whilst the rest of the group went down onto the beach to continue the walk along the coast. After negotiating shingle, tussocks and watery pools we paddled through a burn taking advantage of the running water to clean off our boots, only to be told that there was yet more mud ahead. A lone heron flew off, calling out its annoyance at being disturbed. We then turned inland through a wood and crossing more fields climbed stiles over two stone dykes. The route then took us up towards the headland overlooking the Isle. Suddenly, around the headland four jet skis appeared, their riders obviously having a wonderful time dodging in and out of the coves. As we continued one of our members pointed out a trig point to the side of the path. The mournful cries of several curlews accompanied the last stages of our walk as the welcome sight of the Isle came into view.

It was with some relief that we tidied ourselves as best as we could before heading, by car, into Whithorn and the Visitor Centre café. There we were efficiently served with delicious scones and cakes.

The next walk will take place on SUNDAY 28th October. Meet at the Breastworks car park in Stranraer at 9.30 am or the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart at 9.30 am for car sharing. The walk will begin at 10am at new Luce Village Hall. Formore information telephone the walk leader on 01671 40122. New walkers will be warmly welcomed.


  1. Curious arch Jim. It seems to be all on it's own there - any idea what it's about?

  2. Aye Sandy, that's about all that's visible of Cruggleton Castle. It's got a very interesting history.
    Underfoot and covered in grass there seems to be plenty of walls and chambers. Perfect for excavation.

  3. Mud,Mud glorious mud comes to mind for both our walks,however look on the bright side it is going to be dry this week according to the forecasters but turning rather chilly later.Maybe time to get the brass monkeys looked out!!

  4. Looks a nice varied walk along a great section of coast.We were down in your direction on Sunday Jim on a clan raiding party to nab some of your southern womenfolk as you seem to have too many.Total haul=One dead sheep.

  5. After twenty-fours (on and off) hours of trying to get on your site JIm, I've finally arrived (my connectivity is playing up merry hell)
    Anyhow, terrific walk with some spectacular photos.
    You all look so happy (which is a good thing of course!) and good to see you in the pic too.
    Oh to answer your question on maize or corn in that photo, well all depends on where one parks their boots hey?


Thanks for all your comments. I may not get to reply to them all, but you may be sure they'll be appreciated.

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