Posted by: natsevs | June 1, 2010

Ardwell to Stranraer

As I left my spot in Ardwell there was a sign saying ‘no camping’. No-one gave me any bother though and a policeman had reccomeded that spot after all.

It was all on the road down to Dunmore, which was depressingly boring. Once there, though, I nipped into Scotland’s southernmost store for some lunch goodies. The coast road led to a dirt road then a path along the front. This path then disappeared as I’d come to expect of these paths. I made my way along the beach instead, which was really rocky so pretty tiring.

Past Maryport the beach became pure rock and I was climbing up and down continuously. After a good while, I managed to find my way onto another path along fields on the clifftop. It took me to the road heading down to the Mull of Galloway, Scotland’s southernmost point. After walking round the lighthouse I went into the cafe and bought myself some caramel shortbread ice cream.

On the way back up the headland the path hugged the cliffline then hit the road again. This bit was slightly frustrating as all roads led up and I wanted to get across. I managed to cut across fields in parts but it could have been easier.

Once I got to Clanyard it was a lot more like it and I was able to go along a farm track through to Port Logan. A herd of bullocks followed me in one of the fields but I left them confused at a cattle grid. My phones were almost now out of battery and I had at least one more night of camping. I’d also discovered my solar panel was broken – it is not reccomended.

I got to Port Logan at 5.45 and went to the pub for food and to charge my phone briefly. Had the usual cheapest thing on the menu, fish and chips, and talked to some locals. The landlord said the camp spot I was aiming for would be the best option so that’s where I headed. I followed a path but the farmer seems to have grown gorse bushes right in the middle of it. The spot in Ardwell Bay (different ardwell) was pretty good. There was a woman collecting driftwood there when I arrived and she chatted to me briefly and told me she’d seen basking sharks there before.

Breakfast the following morning was a bag of cookies and half a roll.  I walked up out of the bay then along a coast path until I hit a valley and it stopped. Again. I had to go back on myself then crawl under an electric fence to find my way to the road. The roads took me all the way to Portpatrick and I was able to buy some proper food there. I stopped on the sea front to put on a jumper and enjoy a steak slice.

The Southern Upland Way starts from Portpatrick and follows the coast for the first part up to Blackhead Lighthouse. There were quite a few ups and downs and at one stage I arrived in a bay where the path, again, disappeared. After a look around I discovered it was actually there, but hidden. The steps went straight up the cliff and I was able to continue on to the lighthouse.

From there the path went onto the road then inland. I, however, continued along the roads northward. I was accompanied by a view of Ireland all day. I got out to the coast proper again and made my way along the shore to South Cairn, arriving there at around 6 and starting to feel the day. I crossed fields to North Cairn, over a few fences, then was on roads along the top of the Rhins around to Kirkcolm. I didn’t get there until half 7 to bring the day up to 10 hours and was absolutely knackered. The last hour was killer but I did see deer and a red squirrel, as well as now having impressive views of the Ayrshire coast.  After a roast beef dinner at the b&b I collapsed.

I’d planned a lie-in in the morning as I only had a six mile jaunt to Stranraer to complete today. My sister, however, didn’t know this and rang at 8am, plus I had to have breakfast at half past anyway. Breakfast incidently was very big and pretty good. It was beach all the way to Stranraer except for one quick detour in to a bridge over a river. On the beach was a little dug out nest with one egg in. It didn’t look too safe there but I guess the parents knew what they were doing.

I was in Stranraer by 11.30, dumped my bag at the b&b then spent a good while in Morrisons enjoying the luxury of a supermarket. When I got back the room was ready and very impressive, we’d been given a free upgrade. I should mention I stopped in Steanraer because my mate Andy Moon was coming up to walk for the week, he arrived around two after an epic train journey up from Portsmouth. We pretty much watched tv for the rest of the day apart from a pub tea watching football.

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