316 pm Wigtown to Garlieston

It is possible to walk to Garlieston along the B7004. The road isn’t very busy. But I decide to walk through some adjacent Forestry Commission woodland instead. Kilsture Wood.

21 Kilsture Wood, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

First I sit on one of the picnic benches, near a little car park, and eat a picnic lunch. Then I set off along the woodland paths. It’s a beautiful place. Full of bluebells.

22 bluebells in woods, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

When I meet a couple of ladies out walking, we agree the bluebells are magnificent, and they seem even better this year than normal. The splashes of blue carpet – and the scent they give off – is gentle and potent, full of ancient magic and mystery.

I take masses of photographs, including a self-portrait.

23 self-portrait in bluebell woods, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

My woodland diversion lasts for just over a mile. Through a gap in the trees I catch sight of the water in Wigtown Bay, and remember this is supposed to be a coastal walk.

24 sea and blue bells, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

All too soon I must leave the wood and continue my walk along the B7004.

Road walking is so boring, especially when you have to keep looking out for traffic. It’s only a couple of miles to my next turn off, but the road is an anticlimax after the lovely woods, and seems to last for ever.

I even resort to counting my steps – 217, 218, 219 – something I try to stop myself from doing – 343, 345, 346 – because it doesn’t help the time pass any quicker – 456, 457, 458 – but once you start – 598, 599, 600 – it’s hard to stop – 731, 732, 733.

25 B7004 to Garlieston, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

My turn off is a dead-end road leading to Innerwell Point. I’m hoping from there I can follow a Core Path all the way along the shore to Garlieston. The sign looks promising: Public Path, Garlieston 4.5 miles.

26 Public path along Wigtown Bay to Garlieston, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

This lane is very pleasant. The wind has dropped. It’s quiet. Just some farm traffic. Farmland. A screen of trees. Hills in the distance.

27 road to Innerwell Point, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Near the end of the road I come across plastic-covered fields. Wonder what they’re growing here? The strips of shining silver look weird against the warm-brown of the earth, but I like the geometrical patterns.

28 Plastic fields, Innerwell, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

I startle a deer grazing by the side of the road, and it goes crashing off into the undergrowth. More plastic fields. And there’s Wigtown Bay ahead.

29 looking over Wigtown Bay, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

At the end of the road, a collection of private houses overlook the sea. What a wonderful place to live! I’m pleased to spot a well-signed footpath. Apparently it’s just over 3 miles to Garlieston.

30 path to Garlieston, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Someone has tacked a sign onto a tree. KEEP TO THE PATH. It’s a polite sign, even though – once again – I  do wonder about the famous ‘right to roam’ law in Scotland.

31 polite sign, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

I follow the path, climb a slope, and enter another stretch of woodland. This is wonderful. Bright sunlight filters through the trees, lighting up a carpet of stunning bluebells. I thought Kilsture Wood was amazing, but this is even better.

32 path among bluebells. Shore Wood, Ruth Livingstone walking to Garlieston, The Machars, Scotland

The next 3 miles is totally blissful. One of the most amazing stretches of walking so far. Peaceful woods, the gorgeous scent of bluebells, masses of deep-blue flowers, the song of birds and – below – the gentle swoosh of waves on the shore.

33 shore walk through woods to Garlieston, RUth Livingstone in Scotland

Best of all, despite the clear path, the bright sunshine and the beauty of the scenery, I meet not a single person. Three miles of uninterrupted loveliness – and I seem to be the only human being in the universe.

34 path among bluebells, walking the coastal path to Garlieston, Ruth hiking in Scotland

At times the carpet of bluebells gives way to drifts of white flowers. Wild garlic.

35 wild garlic, Ruth's coastal walk, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

It’s funny how I was feeling tired and a little dispirited while walking along the B road, but now I’m full of energy and invigorated again. I love woods. And woods full of bird song and bluebells are just… words seem inadequate. Wonderful. Magical.

It’s a shock to see open fields ahead. Not wanting to leave the woods behind, I sit on a tree stump and have another rest and a snack.

36 Ruth hiking the coast to Garlieston, The Machars, Scotland

Then, onwards. I’ve nearly reached Garlieston. I follow the path along the edge of fields, and over a slope covered in bright gorse. The golden colour of the bushes seems jarring after the gentle blue-violet of the bluebells. It almost hurts my eyes.

37 gorse and bluebells, Ruth walking to Garlieston Bay, Scotland

More woodland. More bluebells. I could keep walking for ever…

38 Shore Wood, Garlieston, RUth hiking in The Machars, Galloway, Scotland

… but I soon emerge on the edge of Garlieston Bay. Lots of open space – water and sand –  and bright light. A man is walking his dogs along the beach.

39 Garlieston Bay, Ruth's coastal walk, Galloway, Scotland

On the other side of the bay is the village of Garlieston.  I leave the path and walk across the sand.

40 Garlieston, Ruth's coastal walk, Galloway

When I reach the far side, I take photographs looking back. The landscape glows in the afternoon sunlight. The bay is a perfect horseshoe shape, rippled by semicircles of incoming waves.

41 Garlieston Bay, Ruth's coastal walk, Galloway, Scotland

Garlieston has rows of pastel coloured houses, a caravan site, many B&Bs, restaurants, and a working harbour. It’s a beautiful place.

42 Garlieston Harbour, Ruth hiking in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

I reach my car. It’s in a parking area, next to a trailer with a large boat on one side, and a trailer laden with canoes on the other, and just under a sign that says “NO BOATS OR TRAILERS”!

no boats or trailers, Ruth Livingstone's coast walk

Across the road is a bus stop. This is where I caught the morning bus into Wigtown earlier today. It was windy and cold, and I sat on a step sheltering behind the sea wall. This afternoon, a man is sitting in exactly the same place, petting his lovely spaniel.

43 bus stop, Garlieston, Ruth walking around the coast of Scotland

I wonder if he’s waiting for the bus too? But I don’t stick around to find out. Time to drive back to Bladnoch – the village I walked through this morning – where I spotted a friendly looking pub. I’m hungry.


Miles walked today = 15 miles
Total around coast = 3,258 miles

Route: morning in red, afternoon in black.


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, Doctor, woman, etc.
This entry was posted in 19 Dumfries and Galloway and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to 316 pm Wigtown to Garlieston

  1. Hanna says:

    The bluebells are so poetic. They really touch the heart. Wonderful images, Ruth.

  2. Anabel Marsh says:

    Garlieston: another place we were too late for lunch! An attractive village and I wish we’d done that walk, it looks lovely – though we’d probably have been too early for the bluebells. However, John gets tetchy if not fed regularly so we drove on to the cafe in Wigtown. (He doesn’t know about your blog so I’m safe, he won’t read that). 😉

  3. Rita Bower says:

    The bluebells look stunning – if I ever make it to Scotland, I’ll remember to go in bluebell season! I had a similar experience coastal walking in Devon, through bluebell woods – absolutely amazing.

  4. teabeestrips says:

    Beautiful pictures

  5. babsandnancy says:

    Oh the bluebells – they are a great reminder of what a truly wonderfully beautiful island we live upon. They were intensely magnificent down in Sussex this year too. And in Cornwall when we were walking. I just failed to capture them on camera.

    • I’ve discovered it’s quite hard to take decent photos of bluebells. You have to either aim for a close up, or pull right back to capture the blue carpet effect, using the limited patches of sunlight you find in the woods.

      • babsandnancy says:

        Well you’ ve managed it well. I do have many good ones from over the years on walks with the children and dog.

  6. Eunice says:

    Bluebells and birdsong – sounds absolutely heavenly 🙂

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