Worried about heavy showers but hoping for breezy sunshine, a select party of 6 ramblers left picturesque Rockcliffe by the coastal path, heading past the much sought after seaside villas towards Castlehill Point.
Along this path we passed the grave of Joseph Nelson, a seaman like his rather more august namesake Horatio. Joseph was a crew member of The Ann, a vessel lost with all hands on January 2nd 1791. His body was only washed ashore some months later and was buried close by. Threading through the gorse lining the path we soon emerged onto open ground above, approaching Castlehill Point. Stopping at the point, we could see a wide panorama from Criffel, the RSPB reserve at Mersehead, Southerness lighthouse and across the Solway Firth to Skiddaw in the Lakes, Saint Bee’s Head on the Cumbrian coast, all the way to the Isle of Man. The walk along the coast resembles a switchback, up and then down to Torrs Hills.
On the return journey, the climbs seemed rather harder, with a stiff pull up Torrs Hill, passing the Needles Eye natural arch at the base of the cliffs below.
Then it was back down to the pretty seaside hamlet of Portling. We carried on along the sun-kissed cliff top path, passing another memorial to another long lost ship and the ruined building at Gutchers Isle, back over Barcloy Hill.
Next week’s walk is an 7.5 mile Category B walk (moderate) on Saturday 12th August, ascending Knockdolian from Ballantrae Shore car park at 10am (NX 082 825). Meet for car sharing at the Breastworks, Stranraer at 9:30am or at the Riverside, Newton Stewart at 9am. If going directly to the start of the walk please inform the walk leader. New walkers welcome after phoning the walk leader on 01776 840636.