From Port William to Craignarget……

Rain during the night – what is that about? Still with the exception of a couple of showers in the morning it was breezy but dry. First we went to Port William parking up on the front – a reasonable sized village, not particularly attractive mostly running along the main road which runs along the coast.

A long stony beach running either side of the harbour wall for as far as the eye could see.

The odd little patch of sand, exposed at lower tides so we enjoyed a play.

Beach walking was pretty heavy going and there wasn’t much of a footpath up by the road, so after a while we turned about, wandered around the village a bit and then moved on. Taking in this rather random sculpture and sign pointing out that it is some 310 miles to John ‘O Groats or 970 miles to Iceland, whichever you prefer!

We followed the A747 as it wends it’s way along the coast, quite a beautiful route and pulled over when we spotted a bit of sand.

Another long stretch of mostly stony beach, Craignarget, but somehow much cleaner and far more appealing than Port William.

We stopped, walked and played for some time as the sun was almost making an appearance before calling it a day and heading back to site.

Only about 4 miles for me but plenty of extra miles for Poppydog.

Two thoughts of the day:

I wonder if Poppydog would ever tire of chasing stones? Certainly hasn’t happened so far!

Seaweed always makes a beach look scruffy don’t you think?

The lovely beaches of Monreith….

Not quite such a nice day with a stiff breeze blowing and mostly overcast. Today we paid a visit to Monreith, barely a village just a few houses, but after parking up in a lay-by our first glimpse of the beach from above told us we were in the right place!

As the beach was empty and with the tide on its way in we decided to make the most of the sand whilst we could and enjoyed over a mile of beach all to ourselves.

Happy to make ‘footsteps in the sand’

And just enjoy this beautiful beach.

After a while, we decided to take a walk along the coastal path, as the incoming tide had made it impossible to negotiate our way around to the next beach without going up onto the headland – however these ‘dog botherers’ had other plans!

Not wishing to argue, the long way round and along the roadside it was. On our way we passed this rather beautiful bronze memorial to Gavin Maxwell (naturalist and author) of Edal the otter from his book ‘Ring of Bright Water’.

From the memorial we got our first look at Front Bay, one of two deserted partly sandy bays on either side of ‘The Lag’, a small headland which is completely used as a golf course.

We continued down the lane to the golf course and then followed a track across the course.

Eventually leading to a small car park (note for next time as we will be back) and this absolute beauty! Back Bay.

Soft sands, some hazy sunshine, sheltered from the breeze and stones – we are both very happy!

A rather circuitous 6 mile walk and three fabulous beaches.

Two thoughts of the day:

We have only just begun our Scottish journey but already it feels so remote and very under visited as though we are discovering places for the first time – how exciting.

There are many semi derelict houses around and no sign of anything other than farming by way of employment which is sad – will these little communities survive?

St Ninian’s Cave to Burrows Head…..

A fabulous day and a fabulous walk – life is good. We parked up at St Ninian’s Cave car park which is about a mile up a wooded valley from the stony beach of Port Castle Bay, the location of St Ninian’s Cave.

An empty beach was too much to resist so a little while was spent chasing stones before we took the coastal path eastwards towards Burrows Head.

After a bit of a clamber up onto the cliff top, the first 100m or so was a fight through gorse and hawthorn, we nearly gave up but it was so beautiful up here with great views back down onto the beach – you can see St Ninian’s Cave at the far end of the beach.

All along were breathtaking vistas down to little inaccessible coves with bluebells and our first siting this year of sea pinks adorning the cliff edges.

Poppydog loves to roll around in the springy grass (she has to stay on the lead up here but is happy running around on her 8m lead).

Burrows Head (the most southerly point of the Machar Peninsula), was a bit disappointing with a rather soulless holiday park on what I guess is the ruins of some past military (probably WWII as buildings brick and ugly) presence. Also the stone cairn was behind fencing and not accessible from the coastal path.

A welcome dunk and drink for Poppydog in a stream as we set off on our way back,

Once back down on the beach, Poppydog got her freedom as we wandered along the beach for a closer look at St Ninian’s Cave. The Cave was the secret retreat of St Ninian (Scotland’s earliest saint) around 400AD and has been the site of religious pilgrimages since. Quite a magical place with many wooden crosses and memory stones left by earlier visitors.

Just look at that view!

A final play in the sunshine on the beach before sending our way back up to the car – a lovely 8 mile walk.

Two thoughts of the day:

Such a bonus to a beautiful walk when we find little treasures like this Cave.

The coastal path needs a good strim! Just thought I’d mention it, if anyone out there could oblige?

The Isle of Whithorn….

At the risk of sounding repetitive – another amazing day. Lots of folk going home today, but not us – no we are off to the Isle of Whithorn a few miles down the coast. The tides are a bit against us this week, being high in the afternoons when we tend to be at our most active!! So we got away as early as we could and arrived to see the tide half way in over a not very attractive beach of green slimy stones and lots of seaweed – ah well!

The village itself is pretty and tidy, mostly centering around the large bay and harbour with a couple of cafes and not a lot else.

Beyond the harbour is this seemingly solar powered lighthouse.

And just a bit further around the remains of St Ninian’s Chapel.

We continued along the coastal path, northwards, giving us a spectacular view back of at the Isle of Whithorn basking in the sun, surrounded (though no longer an island) by glittering seas.

After a few miles walking along the grassy cliff top (unsurprisingly not seeing a soul) we arrived at Doctors Rock and a stony little cove which we could get down to. Poppydog was ready for a dunk and of course, to chase stones.

We continued through a little strip of woodland at Cairn Head.

And down onto Cairnhead Bay, another stony beach with distant views across to Cruggleton Castle.

At this point we turned about as the path turned inland to join the main road for a stretch and made our way back to the village. The tide is now fully in and completely covering the beach.

Lovely to see the local children jumping off the harbour wall, especially as the Lifeboat appeared to be on exercise in the bay.

Ok so not much to write home about beachwise but a lovely 5.5 mile walk nonetheless.

Two thoughts of the day:

There doesn’t appear to be a ‘coastal path’ as such, just a series of paths that may or may not join together!

On the same note, I had noticed the lack of paths marked on the map but apparently we have the ‘right to roam’ pretty much anywhere – not sure what I think about that!

Wigtown – Scotland‘s National Book Town….

Another stunning day. We need a few bits and bobs from the shops and the nearest is a co-op in Wigtown, so off we went. A funny place really, even though an A road passes through the centre any Sat Nav will send you around the B roads to bypass it! Even the sea has moved on! What was originally the coastline is now deep marshland or farmland with the restored ‘harbour’ looking rather forlorn and totally under utilised!

We started our walk with a visit to the Martyr Stake, the site where two women were ties to a stake and left to drown in 1685with the incoming tide for being ‘Covenanters’ (have looked that up but still don’t quite get it so I will not try to explain!).

From here we tried to follow the River Circuit but that ended in a dead end. However we did atleast get to see the sea!

Instead we wandered back into town. We found it to be a gracious, sedate small town with a very wide Main Street, seemingly lined with terraced houses, though every third house appears to have been converted into a shop – mostly book shops!

It is in fact the Scottish National Book Town! Who knew that? According to the lovely owner, Ruth, of Well-Read Books of Wigtown (visit if you can and you will be made most welcome) this honour was bestowed upon the town just 20 years and that, along with subsequent book festivals held annually in September have helped the town recover from an economic downturn to the gentile place it is today. What a lovely story and very friendly place – well worth the visit and an enjoyable 5 mile walk.

Two thoughts of the day:

I love how quiet and peaceful it is everywhere even on a sunny Easter Weekend.

How nice to be able to take a stroll around the bay of an evening just because!