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  • Fog
  • Larbrax Bay
  • Killangtringan Lighthouse
  • Gate
  • Killantringan Bay Winter
  • Descent into Bay
  • Open Bay

Look out for  

Old salt pans
Around halfway to Portpatrick lies Salt Pans Bay. In the 17th and 18th centuries Scottish salt was made by boiling seawater. Salt pans were the large, shallow, rectangular iron pans used to do this. The Laird of nearby Galdenoch Castle contracted this particular saltworks, one of several around the coast.

Stone age goats
The goats seen wild on the Rhins were introduced to these lands in the Neolithic period. These hairy, hardy little goats were valued by Vikings, Saxons, and Celts. For thousands of years these animals were kept for milk, meat, hair and tallow. 

Mysterious caves
Around halfway from Killantringan Lighthouse to Portpatrick you will find the adjacent bays of Laird’s Bay and Port Mora. There are two small caves a Port Mora. The caves provided locals with a waterfall and are thought to have seen religious use. Dropping Cave was named for the water falling over the entrance.

Dropping Cave was reputedly a healing cave where bathing in the water could “kill or cure”.  The Monks cave was inhabited by a hermit. Imagine living here! Enjoy your visit to the coast, but always remember to be careful especially if you are visiting caves.

 

Killantringan Lighthouse

You start this section at one lighthouse but pass another. A lighthouse that has seen interesting times. Only a month after starting operation in 1900 the Principal Lightkeeper fired a rocket from Killantringan to summon the Portpatrick lifeboat for a fishing boat in distress.

During low tide you can see the partial remains of the 800-ton cargo ship Craigantlet. She ran aground here in 1982 with the keeper again raising the alarm, though evacuation was be Sea King helicopter. Unlike Corsewall this lighthouse was decommissioned in 2007.

Just before reaching the lighthouse, do take care to look round Killantringan Bay with many rock pools awash with starfish and seagooseberries.

Life on the coast

The cliffs around the north and west of the Rhins offer a slender but special purchase for wildlife

Maritime Heath

Maritime heath is found on cliff tops, particularly on the Atlantic coast, where strong, salty sea winds keep the vegetation clipped short. Such clifftop vegetation is probably the closest to an unspoilt natural habitat that can be found in the UK. See if you can spot some of the brilliantly named Crowberry, Spring Squill, Yellow Horned poppy, and Sea Spurge.

Mad as a March Hare

If visiting in the Spring keep a watch out for boxing hares. Brown hares can reach speeds of up to 40mph and get rather boisterous at this time of year. Remember to keep your distance and keep downwind.

Wildlife around the North Coast

Corsewall point can be good for spotting Grey Seals. These seals spend most of their time at sea feeeding on fish. If you spot one lazing around on the Rhins coastline they're likely resting after a good meal. Please give them plenty of space to have their nap, and keep dogs away.

Oystercatchers are easy to spot around the Rhins with their large, orange bills or the white stripe on their wings in flight. Nearly half the European Oystercatcher population chooses to winter in the UK, and the Rhins is a popular breeding spot. They like rocky shores and move inland a little at this time. Both adults take turns at incubation, and after hatching feed chicks with earthworms.

Despite the name, adult Oystercatchers don't only eat oysters. They mostly enjoy a healthy diet of cockles, mussels and other shellfish. Please take care to give nesting birds a wide berth.

  • Oystercatcher Breeding
  • Grey Seal
 

Portpatrick

This section ends here in Portpatrick,
nestled in a bay on the West Coast.
 

Portpatrick

Historically a port connecting the area with Ireland, Portpatrick is now a quiet but colourful town nestled between harbour walls and surrounding cliffs. Don't miss the Portpatrick Folk Music Festival in September. The Southern Upland Way starts here and continues for 212 miles, all the way to the east coast.

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StartPortpatrick
FinishCastle Kennedy
OS Explorer Maps309 Stranraer and The Rhinns
310 Glenluce and Kirkcowan
Distance21.5 kms / 13.5 miles
Height Range0 – 156m
Total Ascentabout 400m
Information ShelterNorth end of Portpatrick Harbour
SuppliesA modest selection of shops in Portpatrick and one in Castle Kennedy.
None on route.
Public TransportTrains and ferries to Stranraer. Buses from Stranraer to Portpatrick and Castle Kennedy. Taxis between Stranraer and Portpatrick.
CyclingThe section along the coast path is impassable to cyclists as it is very narrow. The rest of the section is suitable for mountain bikes.