In May 2013, the Mull of Galloway Trail - officially opened in August 2012 - became the newest section of IAT Scotland. Developed and maintained by volunteers with the Rotary Club of Stranraer, the 35-mile (56-km) trail runs from the most southerly point in Scotland to Stranraer, then continues north as the Loch Ryan Coastal Path to Glenapp, where it links with the Ayrshire Coastal Path. It has already proved popular with both locals and tourists alike.
Luce Bay with the Mull of Galloway in the distance
The trail has been selected for branding and promotion by Scottish Natural Heritage
as one of Scotland’s Great Trails
, and has won the club category in the Rotary International Great Britain and Ireland 2013 Environmental Awards.
Waymarker with logos and directional signs
The Routes - Mull of Galloway to Stranraer
The Mull of Galloway Trail runs approximately south to north and follows the east coast line of the Mull of Galloway peninsula.
Map of Mull of Galloway Trail, with numbers indicating waymarkers
It starts near Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, built by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of famed writer Robert Louis Stevenson.
Right Reverend Albert Bogle and Mrs Bogle at the information board at the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, with Project Manager Tom Stevenson at right.
From there it turns northwards and continues along East Tarbet Bay, eventually following along the line of the cliff-top dyke. On reaching the Kirk Burn the route crosses a small sleeper bridge and continues on to Maryport Caravan Site.
A walker above East Tarbet
Keeping to the coastline, the trail enters Drummore Village via Cailiness Road, then follows round the harbour and leaves via Shore Street. Continuing on the footpath at Clashwhannan Caravan Site, the route eventually passes through Grennan Plantation and continues along the coastline before passing through New England Bay Caravan Site to cross the bridge at Logan Mill.
Bridge near Logan Mill on the shores of Luce Bay
Following the coastline for a further one kilometer, the trail turns left to enter Longrigg Plantation, then continues north before climbing steeply to meet the access road to Longrigg House and Cottage. The route eventually passes through the village of Ardwell on the footway beside the public road.
Luce Bay with the Mull of Galloway in the distance
Once through the village, the trail returns to the shoreline for a further two kilometers before rejoining the road verge to pass behind Dye Mill Cottage and back down to the shoreline. The route continues along the shoreline of Sandhead Village where there is a general provisions shop, a tea room, a hotel and toilets.
One of the information boards along the Mull of Galloway Trail
The route proceeds northwards along the coast, crossing Sandmill Burn at the Sands of Luce Holiday Park and over and behind the sand dunes to cross Culmore Burn and into Clayshant Quarry. Continuing along the coast the route enters an area of whin bushes where it turns left to make its way inland and out of the quarry.
Luce Bay looking northwards from the trail
The route then follows quiet public roads northwards for the next five kilometers, passing the farms of Low Mye, High Mye, Mosscroft and Barnultoch to enter the access road to High Barnultoch Farm.
Variegated broom at Clayshant
The route eventually enters a small wood with kissing gates at the entry and exit points and emerges onto a public road where it turns onto a track through a wood. After crossing a public road, the trail crosses over a railway bridge and ends at the Tourist Information Office in Harbour Street.
Snowdrop flowers near Culhorn House archway, home of the Earls of Stair before Lochinch Castle
Stranraer to Glenapp
The Loch Ryan Coastal Path extends from Stranraer in the south to Glenapp Church in the north, a distance of approximately 11 miles (18 km). At Glenapp the path joins the Ayrshire Coastal Path which extends for a further 100 miles (160 km) northwards to Skelmorlie.
The walk follows the beautiful coastline of Loch Ryan providing panoramic views of the loch and adjacent lands, where there are large numbers of species of birds and other wildlife such as deer, with wild flowers of varying varieties providing colour throughout the walk.
Glenapp and Loch Ryan
The Loch Ryan Coastal Path commences at the Stranraer Tourist Information Office in Market Street, at the side of which is a plaque on top of a low wall marking the official opening on 7th August 2009 by Alex Fergusson MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. At this location there is also the first of ten information boards sited at intervals along the route.
Having left the Tourist Information Office, the route follows eastwards and northwards adjacent to the main road to Ayr (A77) around the south end of Loch Ryan. After 1¼ miles (2 km), the first waymarker post is sited where the route leaves the main road and follows the shoreline. From this point on, the route is way-marked with arrows showing the direction of the route.
Loch Ryan in springtime
The route continues on the shoreline to Ryan Bay Holiday Park. At the entrance to the park the route veers to the right and again follows the footway at the side of the main road as far as the entrance to Innermessan Farm. Turning left the route follows the Innermessan Farm road past the farm buildings and into the fields through the first of 12 kissing gates.
On reaching the boundary of Cairnryan Ferry Terminal the route rejoins the main road footway past the marshalling yard, terminal building and car park before returning to the shoreline and following the route of the old Cairnryan Military Railway.
Ferry from Belfast approaching the new terminal at Cairnryan in Loch Ryan
At the entrance to the former shipbreaker’s yard and lighthouse the route again joins the main road until past the small cemetery, where it turns left before crossing the Glen Burn by way of a footbridge. Eventually the route crosses a cattle grid on to a stone track which continues to climb to the top of Little Laight Hill. Passing through two kissing gates the route follows a fence line down to a small bridge over the Galloway Burn at the boundary of Wigtownshire and South Ayrshire. Passing through a kissing gate at the corner of a wood, the route veers slightly downhill where it picks up a rough grass track which contours round the slope of the hill.
The route continues to meander with the grass track until it returns to the edge of the wood, where it drops down to a kissing gate which leads to a deep ravine formed by the March Burn. A steep drop takes the route down to a timber walkway and bridge before rising steeply up the opposite bank to a track. On crossing the main road the route turns right along the road verge to the north end of the Loch Ryan Coastal Path and the southern end of the Ayrshire Coastal Path.
All walkers using the trail do so at their own risk and are expected to take responsibility for their own actions, the safety of themselves and others, the welfare of livestock and wildlife, and the avoidance of damage to crops, all in keeping with the recommendations of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.