Mull of Galloway

Mull of Galloway

Mull of Galloway

The original idea while on a holiday in the Rhins was to do a section of the Mull of Galloway Trail heading north from the lighthouse.  However, this seemed to follow the main road  for a lot of the way and looked a bit dull compared to a circular route I found right at the end of the peninsula.  It’s not everyday you can see five countries from one spot!

Cafe

Gallie Craig cafe

View down from the cafe

View down from the cafe

We parked in the car park between the lighthouse and the best-sited cafe in the world 1.  The fact they also do nice food and coffee is a pleasant addition!  I ordered a tuna baguette and was warned it would take 10 minutes because the baguette needed to be baked: the only problem was it came with salad – Jazz doesn’t like salad. As it was blowing a gale we had the outdoor seating to ourselves and at great risk to myself I took a photo from the terrace down to the rocks below: honestly, the things I do for you, Dear Reader.

Kennedy's Cairn

Kennedy’s Cairn

West Tarbet

West Tarbet

Wrecked ship's boiler

Wrecked ship’s boiler

Our clockwise circuit of the Mull follows the cliff path (yikes!) around to West Tarbet.  It passes Kennedy’s Cairn – this is a listed building but no-one has a clue what it is for, although obviously there are plenty of theories.  Apparently locals prefer to drag their boats overland here 2 rather than play with the tides around the Mull 3.  The west bay at this pinch-point is lovely but most people drive straight past as they want to get to the coffee house.  The fact that there is the old boiler of some ship that didn’t make it smashed up against the rocks reminded us that this is an unforgiving coastline, and a magnet for me.

Lunch spot

Lunch spot

The path follows the clifftop (more yikes!)  and dips into secluded rocky bays to give the legs a nice workout.  We decided to use one as our lunch spot away from the wind: calm and tranquil with a lovely view over to the Isle of Man, a nice lunch from Gallie Craig, and the place all to ourselves – this walk is getting seriously good.

Galloway Hills from Portankill

Galloway Hills from Portankill

Lighthouse through the wall

Lighthouse through the wall

The path returns to the clifftops and the D&G path people have done a good job with signs.  Halfway along a field (keep an eye out) we are directed over the field to join a track that crosses the peninsula and emerges on the east side at Portankill.  There’s some folklore about this area but it’s so naff I won’t bore you with it here: instead enjoy the view over Luce Bay to the Galloway Hills.  We now follow the Trail back to the lighthouse.  It descends to East Tarbet and then along the cliffs (don’t look down Kev) until it reaches the lighthouse boundary wall that just keeps going down to the sea.  Whoever built that wall was talented and didn’t didn’t know the meaning of vertigo.  So a quick turn here and the final climb back to the car park.

Looking towards Isle of Man

Looking towards Isle of Man

Looking towards Ireland

Looking towards Ireland

This isn’t a particularly long walk but it took us 4 hours basically because cliff ways like to take you up and then down a lot.  And the scenery is superb so you’ll want to stop and look.  It easily gets a 5 star rating.

 

Notes:

  1. I haven’t been to every cafe in the world but any contender would be hard pressed to beat Gallie Craig perched above a cliff straight into the sea.
  2. Tarbet being an old word meaning “I don’t have a change of underwear with me”.
  3. See later photo for the watery fun around there!
Distance:10km
Effort:
Scenery:
Do It Again:
Duration:4 hours