Portpatrick December 2010


Helen Rose Hill Diary

In the autumn I visited the south west of Scotland based in Portpatrick. This is an area I have never been to and it had been recommended to me over the years. In my pursuit of visiting places in Scotland that I have not been to when I was Munro bagging, I spent a weekend in Dumfries and Galloway. There are no Munros south of Loch Lomond so although there are no Munros in the Portpatrick area, there are lower hills and sea cliffs.

It is about a three hour drive south from Glasgow to Portpatrick and this was intended as a social and relaxing weekend with easy walks. We were based at very comfortable bed and breakfast accommodation in Portpatrick.  Portpatrick is a very pretty little seaside village looking out over the Irish Sea to Northern Ireland.  The guest house was on the higher part of the village so the views were good over the sea. There are many walks around the village but we had only had a short weekend trip.

On the first day we walked the first part of the Southern Upland Bay starting from Portpatrick and finishing at Stranraer . The Southern Upland Way is 212 miles long and finishes at Cockburnspath on the south east coast of Scotland. As an aside, Cockburnspath is famous as an artists’ colony from 1883 to 1886 when the Glasgow Boys painted there but artists continued to visit until the 1960s. The route started from Portpatrick and wound up the cliffs at the north of the village. There were dramatic views of the cliffs from the path. We followed the path around the top of the cliffs and descended to a smalll beach with a derelict broadcasting station dating back to the early BBC. From here we ascended to moorland and walked on towards Kennedy Castle but left the path and made our way into Stranraer to visit the obligatory tea room before taking the bus back to Portpatrick.

The following day we drove south to the Mull of Galloway to visit the lighthouse there on a windswept cliff top. You will recall in the previous article, I visited Cape Wrath in the far north and this was the most southerly lighthouse in Scotland. In the space of a month  I had travelled the length of Scotland! An interesting sight here was seeing snails climbing up a door frame. We walked around the coast from the lighthouse, a space walk around the top of the cliffs. It was very exhilarating and we completed the morning with a visit to the Lighthouse Cafe for lunch.

Fortified with lunch, we drove a little north on the Rhinns of Galloway to visit Logan Gardens. Logan is unrivalled as Scotland’s most exotic Garden. With a mild climate washed by the Gulf Stream, a remarkable collection of bizarre and beautiful plants, especially from the Southern Hemisphere, flourish. We wandered around the walled garden and the woodland garden with its unwordly Gunnera bog. It was a delightful experience and in complete contrast to my other favourite garden at Inverewe in the north west of Scotland.

It was a relaxing weekend in good company exploring a new part of Scotland for me and with a good variety of activities from walking to discovering a botanic garden.

Coming attractions; Hadrian’s Wall and Gray Mares Tail

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