Stranraer and the beautiful waters of Loch Ryan….

An absolute beauty of a day, still a cold wind blowing but with the sun shining and blue skies, we coped! Today we needed provisions and as shops are a little thin on the ground here on the Rhins, we headed for the only town – Stranraer which sits at the top of the little strip of land that joins the Rhins to the mainland. The town is looking a little run down and we found parking on the front on derelict land from the now disused ferry terminal (the ferries now terminate further up the Loch as keeping the channel clear at Stranraer was proving unviable) and set off eastwards to Cockle Shore.

The tide is on its way in but this wide (and to be fair quite ugly) concrete walkway, over which the tide was lapping on our way back, lead onto cockle shell backed beach with stony and course sand patches.

White horses topped the turquoise seas as the wind blew up the Loch off the sea and in the distance two ferries are just visible as one heads in and the other heads out on their journey to Ireland.

At the end of the bay we picked up the Loch Ryan Trail heading north, the path leaving the shoreside briefly and then rejoining it down this beautiful valley at Innermessan (once a thriving village, now just a couple of cottages and farm remain).

From up on the cliff top we had views down on the small crescent of Ryan Bay.

And beyond across this beautiful blue Loch to the Rhins and sea beyond.

This was our turning point as further north we shall explore from our next site. As we headed back into Stranraer the sea was beating against the concrete walkway we had used earlier with the brisk inshore breeze adding a touch of white to this otherwise blue scene.

There is a beach on the Rhins side of Stranraer but we shall explore that another day – 7 miles and a bit of shopping is enough for me.

Two thoughts of the day:

It is a shame to see so many once significant coastal towns run down by a change in fortunes with little that is apparent for any future revival.

Think we might have a day off tomorrow and just enjoy the splendours of New England Bay.

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