Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Garlieston & Cruggleton

The photo above shows how relaxed people are in Scotland. There is a big sign on the righthand side that says "NO BOATS OR TRAILERS" obviously the tranquil setting is good for those with a laid back sort of nature. If a sign like that was disregarded down south the consequences would be grim. At best you'd get away with having your trailer clamped but most likely you'd return to find that your boat had been made into a cube. Still that's enough of that let's get on with nicer things.

Hi and welcome back to my tour of Scotland; it's guaranteed to be free from tartan, bagpipes and there won't be even a hint of monster Lochness or otherwise.

Last week we arrived on the Isle of Whithorn and made ourselves comfortable in a lovely cottage a good caber toss from Whithorn harbour. It's a feature of our holidays that my wife and I spend very little time relaxing in our accommodation because we like to be out and about exploring. I think if you've driven over 200 miles to get somewhere you need to see as much as possible. Terry Anne says that having a holiday with me is like going on army maneuvers, but she's just as as bad as me. We once visited two stately homes and gardens in the same day and ended up literally crawling to bed.

Every night after a good day out we would usually drag ourselves back to our cottage and be fit for nothing but a bit of telly, reading and sleep. In fact we'd be so tired that we'd probably be in bed by 10 every night. I know that's not what most people do when on holiday but it suits us. Anyway the Isle of Whithorn has so many attractions that we found it easy to achieve our usual state of absolute exhaustion.

On the Sunday we thought a leisurely look at Whithorn Harbour would be a pleasant way to start the day
and that was how it turned out. We wondered along the harbour walls looking at the boats and and then had a stroll out across the headland to see where the Wicker Man was burned, and had a stroll around the ruins of St Ninian's Chapel which was built in 1300. We also came across a lovely seat that had been carved out of granite as a memorial to the seven local fishermen who where tragically lost when the Solway Harvester sank off the Isle-of-Man, in January 2000.

Although it was a sunny June day when we visited the harbour the wind was coming from the north and it had quite a bite to it. We decided that we'd have our lunch in the Steam Packet Inn that overlooks Whithorn Harbour and we had a lovely meal.
With or stomaches full of lovely grub and our bones warmed up, we decided to a take a drive along the east coast of the Isle of Whithorn and have a look at the coastal village of Garlieston and also visit Galloway House Gardens.
Do you ever have one of those moments when a word triggers off a song? Well after looking at the map to check the directions for Garlieston I couldn't help but keep singing, "Garlieston, oh Garlieston" to the tune of Galveston as sung by Glen Campbell. Every time the word came up I'd find myself breaking into song, that was until my wife told me to stop it, whilst giving me one of her looks. Anyway,I didn't want to end up like Lot's wife, so I shut up and concentarted on the lovely scenery.

After about thirty minutes of tootling along minor roads we arrived in Garlieston and found it o be a beautiful and quiet place even though we had arrived on a Sunday afternoon in mid-summer. The harbour is big and very pretty with lots of pleasure craft at their moorings. Beyond the harbour wall there is a vast pebble beach and a nice coastal walk can be taken to Cruggleton Castle.

The harbour at Garlieston was used during the second world war for the sea trials of the Mulberry Harbours that were used in the successful landings in Normandy. We walked around the village and spent a while watching the unusual sight of a flock of swans frolicking in the sea water.
Whilst at Garlieston we carried on with our original intention of taking a look at Galloway House Gardens. The car park was just outside the village and we enjoyed a lovely peaceful walk through the trees and shrubs down to the beach. While we were disappointed with the lack of flowers, this was more than made up for by the level of serenity which we enjoyed during our visit. We paid to go in via an honesty box and never saw another soul during the two hours that we spent there. Blow you can see a photo of the deserted beach that can be found at the end of the woodland walk.

By now we'd had enough for one day and decided to head back to the cottage. However, we had to stop on the way back when we saw a curiously positioned church in the middle of a field. It was surrounded by small trees and encircled by a stone wall. A photo can be seen on the right.

Our curiosity got the better of us and even though our legs were already complaining we walked across the field to take a closer look.

Our walk was in vain as the gate was securely locked so we took some photos and left.
I found out later that the church was built in the 12th century and was used by the Lords of Galloway who lived in the nearby Cruggleton Castle.

I leave you with another view of Whithorn Harbour to enjoy until next time.

1 comment:

  1. Love your article. I actually went inside the old church that was owned by my ancestors, the Lords of Galloway. You need to knock at the door of the closest farmhouse, where they keep the keys :)