Saint Helena’s Isle walk for ramblers

Some of the ramblers on the Meikle Ross & Brighouse Bay walk
Some of the ramblers on the Meikle Ross & Brighouse Bay walk

This week’s walk for Wigtownshire ramblers is a 7-mile Category C walk (leisurely) on Saturday 25th February, around St Helena’s Isle, noted for its snowdrops, and the Glenluce area.

Meet at 10am at the Glenluce Golf Club or for car sharing at the Breastworks, Stranraer at 9:30am or at the Riverside, Newton Stewart, also at 9:30am. If going directly to Glenluce Golf Club please inform the walk leader. New walkers and visitors are always welcome after phoning the walk leader on 01776 840636 for further information.

With a forecast for rain until at least midday and a guaranteed lack of sunshine, 21 ramblers gathered last Saturday for a walk around Meikle Ross and Brighouse Bay. We duly trotted off along the eastern edge of the bay, until we reached a gate into a field and turned uphill over grass. Through another gate, we carried on upwards over the brow to gain a prospect of Ross Bay and the Dee estuary beyond flowing through Kirkcudbright Bay, though the inclement weather gave only monochrome views through the mist.

Shortly we arrived back on the shore at Ross, which we followed around Ross Bay until a field gate provided access to a clear track leading over the hill through two walls until it ran out in an open field. Below us, through the mist, appeared Ross Island.

The island and its lighthouse slowly came clear as we swept down the grassy slope toward the sea. From here we made our way up the first of three small hills on the peninsula, the Ree of Ross, looking directly back over the island; then it was down and up once more, ascending Meikle Ross, the highest of the three, as the weather drew in further with increasing wind and rain. The conditions were not conducive to lingering, except to take on board an energy giving sweet or two at the top, a vital tool of any walk leader wishing to maintain morale levels among their followers.

Next we crossed a low-lying section, following a kindly farmer’s advice to keep to the field on the northern side of a boundary wall, on the other side of which was the ominously named Fauldbog. Once across, we negotiated the slopes of the Mull of Ross in increasingly wet and windy conditions, hightailing it off the top in a direct descent back to the Brighouse Bay car park, for lunch and review of our intentions for the afternoon. Some, more soaked than others, decided to call it a day and go home to dry out, despite a slightly more optimistic look to the skies, leaving only eleven hardy souls to continue the rest of the day’s plans.

Happily there was no further rain and we walked along the coast path besides the Brighouse Bay holiday park and its associated golf course, in a keening wind that certainly shivered the timbers. However, our pace was brisk enough to generate our own heat protection and we enjoyed the increasingly spectacular coastline, with waves crashing on the rocks below, throwing up spume, and the crying gulls wheeling overhead, all very atmospheric in the continuing poor visibility.

Past the Borness Batteries and turning inland at Borness Point, we followed the path over Borness Bar, where four splendid black horses moved as dramatic silhouettes through the mirk. Once back on hard track, we finished our ramble through Southpark Farm and back to Brighouse Bay car park, arriving a whole lot drier than we had left after lunch. Our endurance was rewarded by a splendid tea provided at the nearby home of one of our fellow ramblers.