After leaving Garlieston we drove southward on a B road down to the Isle of Whithorn.
The ruins of St Ninians Chapel sits on the slope above the harbour. St Ninian was a missionary to the Picts in southern Scotland. The first chapel built here was in the 1100s to provide for the local people and to serve the pilgrims who were on their way to Whithorn Priory. The current remains were rebuilt around 1300 and were repaired in 1898 by the Marquess of Bute.
On the headland beyond the chapel is the cairn: a white tower which has been used as a navigation aid for several hundred years and in World War 2 was a tracking station for anti-aircraft gunnery practice.
There is also memorial to the Solway Harvester and its crew which sunk in 2000.
Back down near the chapel is a memorial for dogs that people can add stones to if they wish.
St Ninian’s Cave is down on the shoreline further along the coast. The 1973 film Wicker Man was filmed near there. We continued on past Whithorn and on to Wigtown, crossing the River Bladnoch where the distillery sits, before entering the main street. We had last visited it in 2017. Wigtown was designated as Scotland’s Book Town in 1998 and now has several bookshops including the largest in Scotland.
They are celebrating their 25th Anniversary with a Book Festival from 22 September to 1 October 2023. Some shops were not open today, including the Byre Books
but we did appreciate one local person’s efforts to fill as many wellingtons as possible with flowers.
After coffee in one of the local cafes we drove north past Newton Stewart and the head of Wigtown Bay where the River Cree enters the bay then down the east shore. The old military road diverts round Creetown and just after that is a parking space on the shore where we had our lunch. Wigtown Bay also has a Nature Reserve. Towards the end of the parking area was a large granite stone. It stated that Creetown granite had been quarried nearby and used to build Liverpool Docks and also the clock tower in Creetown.
After lunch we continued past the ruined Carsluith Castle, up Loch Fleet, past Skyreburn Bay, Gatehouse of Fleet and just before Kirkcudbright, turned down the east side of the River Dee which enters the bay and down to Seaward where we settled into the campsite. There are views over the bay
and in the distance is Little Ross Island with a lighthouse. Below the road is a beach which I had a wander on and found some sea glass.