Day 150: Port Kale to Stranraer
Distance: 25.30 miles
Ascent: 1923 feet
Weather: Foggy, Damp Morning, SLowly Becoming Sunny By Late Afternoon
Accommodation: Static Caravan Ryan BAy (Kindly Offered)
It had rained quite a lot last night, so it was great to be in the little cable hut. I had hoped to be off early this morning about 6 but when my alarm went off at 5 I was in no mood to move, I was really tired. In the end I still left quite early about 7:15 but it had for some reason taken a lot of effort to get moving.
The weather had finally turned and on leaving the hut it was very foggy and very damp, not really raining but plenty of moisture in the air. I decided to set of in a dry weather set up as I hoped any wetness would dry out as soon as the fog lifted. The climb out of Port Kale was quite steep but beautiful and the path to Killantringan Lighthouse was simple to follow and very eerie walking through the foggy condtions. I spotted a deer below which panicked and ran onto the boulder beach where it really struggled but somehow managed still to just about walk.
At Killantringan Lighthouse I had a decision to make, either head inland and follow the lanes, or as it was low tide I may be able to get around to Larbrax Bay along the beach. I decided to take the beach route. The first part across Killantringan Bay was very easy across the smooth sand but at the end I had to get around several small headlands. If I am honest I was not confident about this as it clearly involved some rock scrabbles which are not easy with 15kg on your back. But each rocky outcrop I came to either had a little sandy route through or was covered in small barnacles making it grippy enough to walk across and I made it safely to Larbrax Bay. I was also surprised to see what appeared to be a giant circular salmon fish farm rig that had washed ashore.
At Larbrax Bay I took the track up from the beach and at Meikle Larbrax farm I turned left onto a farm track, which was better quality than I expected always fenced off from the cattle and followed parallel to the coast. It was a nice walk across the moors and passed a little loch. This lane took me to Galdenoch where as well as a couple of buildings there was a castle ruin. This ruin in fact seemed intact enough that if someone wanted to do a grand design it could be turned into an amazing house or B&B though it would cost a fair amount of money.
After this point it was essentially just about keeping as close to the coast as I could, because the forshore was not an option due to tide and rocks, there was no path along the cliff (and I was not in the mood for climbing barbed wire fences for 20 miles!), so lanes and farm tracks were my only options. I think I took the best option I could, though as you can see from the map it probably is about as long a distance as I have had to leave the coast for the whole walk.
After Knockoudie I finally started to head back down to the shore at Lady Bay. This was a very secluded bay and the haze was finally starting to raise. This would have been a great place to wild camp if it was later in the day. The path along the shore from here was not overly distinct but followable and it took me to Jamieson’s Point. At Jamieson’s Point I was able to take a lane up to Kirkcolm.
I grabbed a few bits in the little village shop and asked if I could sit in one of the chairs and eat it which they let me do. A woman walked in who it turned out was quite incredible (unfortunately I have forgotten her name) and had strangely heard about my walk. At 70 years of age and having lost several family members including children to cancer she decided to cycle the whole way across Canada (I think about 3500 miles) to raise money for a cancer charity, now 80 she had just completed a practise ride before entering the shop for an upcoming 24 hour bike ride that she was going to do.
The sun had finally come out and I now had a coastal route all the way to Stranraer, the first couple of miles were following a road before at the golf course a path followed along the edge of the fairway (or that’s what I told myself anyway). After the golf course there was a little bit of pebble walking before a seawall took me into Stranraer, ferries for Northern Ireland leave from here.
Jack (from Sands of Luce Holiday walk) was going to join this evening for one last time as I would be leaving The Rhins today, so rather than taking a wild camp spot I decided to carry on to the holiday park as it would be easier to meet. This last couple of miles were lovely in the late afternoon sun.
I arrived at Ryan Bay Caravan Park and pitched up. Jack had driven over and had bought me some lovely healthy pasta courtesy of his wife Amy, my third meal in 3 days. It is strange how this walk works I had always said I would not camp on my rest day, but for some reason contacted Sands of Luce for my last rest day which in turn led to meeting some lovely people, getting offered a bed, having 2 lovely BBQ’s, sleeping in the amazing Cable Hut. These 3 days heading around the Rhins have been amazing (in fact I am only 10 miles or so from where I set of after my rest day.) It may take a day or two to get used to the normality of the walk again.
And there was time for one final kind offer from this area. I was typing up the diary in the bar when a couple of people started chatting to me about the walk, not only did they donate more than £100, but one of them was going to waive my cost of pitching and then the other one offered me a static for tonight, which weirdly I didn’t accept straight away as I had already pitched the tent but then realised I was being an idiot as the static had a comfy bed so accepted.
So a fairly long day, not always feeling coastal, a goodbye and a kind offer.