Craig, the granite plug of an extinct volcano, stands ten miles
off the western shore of this land of lochs, moors and high hills
in lowland Scotland. Forested uplands cut by ravines form the
hinterland to the peninsula of The Rhins, and beneath its rocky
spine are gardens where the influence of the mild Gulf Stream
allows subtropical plants to grow.
island with 19th-century lighthouse and castle. Its bluish granite
is source of stones for curling.
garden, hawthorn avenue and wooded walk around 18th-century Ardwell
House. The Machars visible across Luce Bay.
bay featuring sea angling and swimming is overlooked by revenue
men's barracks of 1820s and by Auchenmalg to the north.
for 'village on the shore'. It was 18th-century smugglers' headquarters.
River Stinchar's tidal creeks and lagoons provide refuge for terns
and other birds.
Carrick Hills village by the Water of Gregg. Red-sandstone church
of 1891 now private house.
return walk to 2331ft summit was mentioned in John Buchan's The
Thirty-Nine Steps. Walk begins near Palnure.
encompassing two castles were laid out by Field Marshal Lord Stair
and troops in 18th century. Features terraces, lily pond and separate
gardens of Stair family's Castle Lochinch.
museum has an agate containing drop of water said to be 2 million
years old. Granite clock tower commemorates Queen Victoria's 1897
resort, sea angling centre. Seven ancient kingdoms can be seen
from Mull of Galloway. Double Dykes crossing the mull believed
to be work of Picts.
250 miles of countryside topped by 2766ft Merrick. Lochs include
Loch Trool and Clatteringshaws Loch. Features include deer range,
wild goat park, forest trails among glens, waterfalls.
out in 1740s as pleasure gardens for Galloway House, they include
rare handkerchief tree and heronry. Open daily.
fishing centre protected by sea wall, with sea-angling boats for
hire. Village's brightly painted houses are best viewed from bay
road. Galloway House Gardens 1 mile south.
beaches, safe swimming, fishing all attract visitors. Visit boatyard
where wooden fishing boats are built, also distillery. Killochan
Castle, 16th century, lies 3 miles north-east.
Castle of Park to the west overlooks village from across Water
of Luce. Twelfth-century Cistercian abbey ruins retain chapter
house with vaulted ceiling, Gothic windows.
by Water of Minnoch's foaming rapids to reach glen. Road finishes
above the waters of Loch Trool, where Bruce Stone marks 1307 rout
of English by Robert Bruce's men. For the energetic, a path leads
4 miles to the summit of Merrick's 2766ft, highest point in Southern
gardens where exotic trees and shrubs flourish in Gulf Stream
climate. Views over Luce Bay among rocky outcrops and cascading
though unspoiled sailing resort. St Ninian landed on grassy peninsula
(once the isle) in AD 395 on return from Rome. Iron Age fort,
ruined 13th-century chapel.
isolated church where three of Britain's earliest known inscribed
Christian stones stand. Two, praising 5th-century priests, were
being used as gateposts.
castle with keep on western shore. It was moved from an islet
in loch flooded for hydroelectricity.
Stream keeps garden of sub-tropical trees and flowering shrubs
virtually frost-free. Note the avenue of Chusan palms.
a suburb of Newton Stewart, though far older. Ruined medieval
church, ivy covered; also sparious 19th-century church. Churchyard
yew is reputed to be 800 years old.
with safe, sandy beaches. Ruined Kirkmaiden chapel contains local
Maxwell family tombs, and plaque to drowned French naval captain
washed ashore 200 years ago. Gavin Maxwell otter memorial on headland.
with 250ft cliffs topped by 1830 lighthouse. Views from here of
Lake District, Isle of Man and Ireland's Antrim Hills.
stands above shell of cottage where Alexander Murray was born
in 1775. A self-taught shepherd boy, he became professor of Oriental
languages at Edinburgh University.
town with museum of local history including farmhouse kitchen
and blacksmith's forge. Cree Bridge, built in 1813, backed by
7000 acre hill farm offering afternoon tours. Livestock rearing,
the making of 24 miles of dry-stone walls explained. Livestock
includes shaggy, long-horned Highland cattle, Blackface sheep.
castle with chesspiece tower, enlarged in 1844 by Spencer Boyd.
Mural by William Bell Scott follows curving staircase. Pre-Raphaelite
artists including Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted
here. Visits by appointment only.
Logan Fish Pond, excavated 1800, served as fresh fish larder for
Logan estate owners. Land-hungry feudal laird said to have built
up main road above house-top level to drive out locals.
houses line promenade. Ferry link to Ireland before 1862. Irish
elopers were married in 17th-century church. Dunskey Castle ruin
road alongside Galloway Forest Park linking New Galloway and Newton
Stewart commemorates Queen's Silver Jubilee of 1977. Picnic spots,
where first Christian missionary to Scotland prayed after arrival
in AD 395. Crosses are carved into nearby rock.
loch is promontory site of herb garden, now featuring 100 species
set in individual beds. Garden planted beside mounded remains
of Soulseat Abbey.
resort, ferry terminal for Lame, Northern Ireland. Castle of St
John now visitor centre. North West Castle, shaped like a ship,
was home of 18th-century polar explorer Sir John Ross.
diameter Bronze Age circle. There are 19 stones in the circle
and three boulders set in line in the centre. It is thought it
may have been a burial site. Ruins of Baldoon Castle, 3 miles
south-east, the setting for Sir Walter Scott's The Bride of Lammermoor.
priory ruin, said to be built on site of St Ninian's 5th-century
church Candida Casa, or 'white house', retains barrel-vaulted
crypt, roofless nave. Site has been excavated to reveal foundations
of Viking trading settlement, and coins and gaming pieces from
Memorial Stone marks spot where two anti-Episcopalian women who
refused to recant their religion were, in 1685, tied to stakes
in River Bladnoch to drown in rising tide. Working distillery
of 1814, creamery, tiny museum.
If you would like to visit this area as part of a highly personalized
small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me:
to South Scotland