309 Auchencairn to Dundrennan

It’s Easter Sunday. And so… of course… it’s raining. I decide to go for a short walk today, my hubby will go for a short bike ride, and we’ll enjoy a lazy afternoon together.

There are no obvious paths along the coast, and so I’m staying inland – a mile or so from the shore – and with be sticking to country lanes and tracks. Luckily there is no wind, so I walk under my big green umbrella (Nicholas Crane style).

The rain is only one of the problems. It’s actually very foggy too. No views. In fact, it’s hard to see beyond the hedge on either side of the road, and so I keep my camera stowed in my rucksack.

No villages on my route today, only farms. I start off down a road that leads to Drungans Bridge, then Nether Hazelfield, where a nice young farmer in a battered van gives me a wave.

As I climb higher, the mist gets worse. Such a shame. I think there would be wonderful views… if only I could see them.

I follow a track up to Dons Knowe House, and get a little muddy, before joining a lane. Past Gallow Hill, Upper Rerrick, Rerrick High Row, the ruins of Rerrick Church and Rerrick Low Row. (Good use of a single name here, I notice. Why be imaginative when you can recycle?!)

At Rerrick Low Row, I was half considering walking down a track to the coast at a place called Port Mary, and then making my way along to the edge of the MOD firing range, where I would join another country lane. But it’s so damp and miserable, I decide to stick to my original plan and head straight back towards  the good old A711, and the village of Dundrennan.

As I come down the hill towards Dundrennan, the rain stops. Hooray! There is a picnic spot next to the road, along with an information board suggesting a circular walk around the village. Here, I stop to pull my camera out.

You can see how lovely the view would be – looking at Dundrennan village over the ruins of an old abbey – if only you could actually see it!

01 Dundrennan in the mist

Because the rain has stopped, I decide to deviate along part of the suggested walking route. This involves going down a steep lane to a place called Fagra Mill, where there is a ford over a little stream (Abbey Burn). Luckily there is a bridge over the burn too, so I don’t need to get my feet wet.

02 Fagra Mill, Ruth's coastal walk, Dundrennan

In fact, despite the dismal weather, and the pervasive dampness of the mist, I’ve managed to keep fairly dry. Hooray for umbrellas!

From Fagra Mill, I turn right up a lane and reach the A711. Hello old friend.

03 back on the A711 to Kirkcudbright, Ruth Livingstone

At the turning is an information sign. The MOD range is open. Good. I hope to be walking through there tomorrow. But… oh no… I reread it carefully… it’s the road that’s open. Hmmm. Does that mean I can walk through the ranges tomorrow, or not? It’s not clear.

04 MOD sign, Burnfoot Beach, Ruth's coastal walk in Dumfries and Galloway

The alternative to walking through the ranges is to slog along the A711, which runs along the inland border of the MOD land. The road route would be shorter, but walking through the ranges would be far more pleasant!

Anyway, I’ll worry about that tomorrow. I turn right along the A711 and head towards Dundrennan. The abbey is very impressive. I go down for a closer look.

05 Dundrennan Abbey

Unfortunately, it costs £5 to go inside. I know that’s not much, but I would only spend a few minutes there, so it’s really not worth it.

06a Dundrennan Abbey entrance, Ruth Livingstone's coastal walk, Scotland06b Dundrennan Abbey information sign, Ruth's coast walk in Scotland

I take photos of the exterior, the large entrance arch, and the information board.

‘A splendid monastery where Mary Queen of Scots spent her last hours on Scottish soil.’

Ah. How interesting. I’m almost tempted to go in… but then I remember there is a café in Dundrennan. Onwards.

The café has an odd name – The Crown and Anchor – which makes me think it used to be a pub. Anyway, it’s very pleasant. I have a pot of tea and a cream scone, and then a large slice of cake.

The young waitress is a local girl, and she tells me the MOD ranges are usually open at weekends and bank holidays. She goes there regularly to walk her dog.

It’s stopped raining. I walk along the street to find my car, which I’ve parked near the church. I look up to the hills above the village, and imagine how lovely the walk would have been, if only it wasn’t raining this morning… Ah well. Can’t expect sunshine every day.

07 grey countryside, Ruth hiking in Scotland

Next to the church is a red phone box. Like many phone boxes in Scotland, this one actually has a working phone inside. I don’t need it, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

08 phone box in Dundrennan, Ruth Livingstone

I pick up a txt from my husband. Since it’s stopped raining, he has decided to extend his bike ride – so much for our quiet afternoon together!

Settling down in our B&B, I make myself another cup of tea, tuck into my chocolate Easter egg, and watch JK Rowling’s latest film, Fantastic Beasts on DVD. The film is, actually, quite fantastic, with some great acting, and I enjoy it very much.

Walked today = 5.5 miles
Total around coast = 3,170 miles


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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5 Responses to 309 Auchencairn to Dundrennan

  1. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, did you stay in the Old school House in Dundrennan with Bev as your host?

    • We stayed in a B&B near Dalbeattie, just over the bridge. I guess you stayed at the Old School House? It was hard to find somewhere to stay, because we booked late and it was bank holiday weekend.

  2. Hi Ruth,
    Glad walking in Scotland is going (mostly) without incident – I am glad the core routes have enabled you to avoid too much road slog (I am amending my projected route accordingly!)

    Also, I have to concur – I don’t normally do fantasy movies, but ‘Fantastic Beasts’ (I love Eddie Redmayne) was a real treat – and you have got to have a bit of ‘me’ time on a walking holiday. I took a day off Cornwall Coast walking last week and investigated the Lost Gardens Of Heligan – fabulous – and the name alone was enough to pique my interest…keep on walking (indubitably!)

    Best wishes, Gemma.

    • The core paths are really handy, but tend to be short and patchy. Also, a lot of them are marked as incomplete on the map, which means they don’t really exist yet. Certainly worth keeping an eye on the website.

  3. Karen White says:

    Dundrennan Abbey looks so interesting and is rather beautiful. There’s not many working phone boxes in my part of the world though I did come across one recently in the village of Micheldever. I loved Fantastic Beasts, especially all the magical creatures.

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