Read all about “The Finest Walk in Scotland” from the owners of Lochside, Rockcliffe, South West Scotland
Just a mile from your front door is the start of the walk with that bold title – from Rockcliffe to Sandyhills – so let’s do it!
One of the benefits of the Galloway coastline and its little bays is that, although the full walk is a leisurely full day outing, you can drive from one end of the walk to the other in less than ten minutes!
That means if you don’t want to spend a whole day on the walk, you can “dip in and out” and do a “mini” hike from either end or from Portling in the middle and still see most of the sights.
From pretty Rockcliffe you head east with the sea and the English coast to your right.
The Rugged Galloway coast with its many coves was famous for smuggling with characters like Captain Yawkins, who is said to have sold his soul and the souls of ten of his crew, to the devil in return for the safety of his ship, the Black Prince. Heading up to Castle Point you will pass the grave of Joseph Nelson, a sailor from Whitehaven who was shipwrecked there in 1791.
As you walk up the hill heading towards Port o Warren Bay and look over the cliffs you will start to see the Cormorant colonies on the white topped rocks. (The “white” tops of the rocks are due to the fact that cormorants have yet to adopt a “scoop your poop” policy!)
This is my favourite point of the walk. As you climb the narrow path and reach the top of the hill (at the most pointless directional sign in the world) turn round and look back at just the most amazing view, over to England to the south, west out to the Irish sea and the rolling Galloway hills to your right.
If you want to deviate from the guide books and time your walk to coincide with low tide you can then come down into Port o Warren and carry on the miles of deserted beach for the remainder of the walk to Sandyhills.
On a crisp winter day you can pick out the lakeland hills to the south but today although Scotland was beautiful, the outlook over England was gloomy. (Not a political comment, just the weather forecast!)
We live in a digital world, and yesterday your trip to work probably consisted of M25’s, A4’s wifi passwords, Pin codes and the like –
But today you know you have have started to relax on your holiday when your trip takes you past Gutcher’s Isle, Long Tongue and Cow’s Snout till eventually you walk along the beach, past the smuggler’s coves, through the Needle’s Eye and finish up with an ice cream in Sandyhills shop! Just lovely.
Is it the finest walk in Scotland? Well these things are all in the eye of the beholder but just over an hour ago I was fishing in the loch at the bottom of the garden and now I am on a cliff- top looking out over a gorgeous sea view with only the sound of the seagulls above and the cormorants for company. Is it the finest? – who knows, but it sure is fine.
Next month…. Cycling. The Tour of Britain comes to town.
Book your stay at Lochside and you too could enjoy this walk