I sit down for a brief rest on Balcary Point and enjoy the view looking eastwards over Hestan Island, with Rockcliffe in the distance. Then I climb further up Balcary Hill. The views from here are even more stunning.
On the way up, I meet an English man and his son. They are sitting on a wall, waiting for their wife/mother who is struggling along the slope behind them. We have a chat, and agree this section of the coast is beautiful. The man tells me he owns a property in Kippford (his father used to live there) and they come here regularly because they love the place so much.
We agree not to tell anyone how beautiful Dumfries and Galloway really is.
Onwards. The path rolls up and down, through fragrant gorse, following cliffs high above the sea.
The headland slowly loops around, and now I can look back to where I’ve been, down the slope, to Auchencairn Bay.
A signpost reminds me how tortuous this coast is. I’ve walked over a mile along the cliffs, but am still only half a mile away from Balcary Bay.
Unfortunately, from here onwards the sun is in my eyes, making it difficult to take decent photographs. I’m heading westwards.
After a while, the cliffs begin to fall away. The path heads downwards and runs along the base of the slope, close to the shore. Ahead is Rascarrel Bay.
Down on the pebbly beach, I come across one of those weird constructions that people seem to enjoy making on the coast. It’s a wigwam of driftwood, old fishing nets, plastic bottles, packing cases, etc.
I reach a row of cottages – or beach huts – which takes me surprise because there are no buildings marked on my map. I’m not sure if anyone lives here permanently, although I see someone working in his garden, and there are a couple of donkeys grazing the grass nearby.
Beyond the beach huts is a track. It runs along the edge of woodland. I meet nobody.
Beside the track is a pile of rubbish. At first I think it’s an illegal tip, but then I realise it looks far too neat and tidy. Perhaps it’s one of those ‘tidy up the beach’ campaigns?
The track becomes a gravel road. I was wondering if it was possible to walk further along the shore at this point, but gates and private signs don’t make me feel inclined to try. Anyway, it’s time to head inland and back to Auchencairn.
The gravel road even has a security barrier across it – looks very incongruous in such an isolated area. On the other side of the barrier is the start (or end) of a public road.
This road will take me up to Auchencairn. It’s only 2 miles, but the last couple of miles of any walk are always the most arduous, and it seems a long way. To my right is Rascarrel Moss. Ahead, at the top of a low hill, is a farm house.
As I approach the farm house, what looks like a bundle of rags by the side of the road suddenly leaps into action. It’s a collie. Snarling and growling, it makes a run at me. “No you don’t,” I shout, and wave my pole at it.
As the dog backs off, a young man appears at the farm gate. The collie immediately lies down again and pretends to be asleep. What a fraud! The young man sees me waving my stick and gives me a dirty look, as if I was terrorising his dog!
I walk quickly onwards.
Beyond the farm is a huge area that has been cleared of trees. It looks hideous. I know we need to grow timber, but is it really necessary to log such vast tracts all at the same time and leave such an unsightly mess? Ugh.
Half a mile later I reach the familiar A711, turn right, walk the few hundred yards to Auchencairn, and find my waiting car.
Well, yes, I have only travelled a couple of miles along the A711, but I’ve had a wonderful walk today, through some stunning scenery.
Miles walked today = 12.5 miles
Total distance = 3,164.5 miles