Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Kippford, Dumfries and Galloway, 3 May 2011

The warm spring weather just goes on and on. It was another beautiful day. Dave and Chris had gone home so I went on a drive into Dumfries and Galloway. It's not too far when I'm up at the caravan as it's straight up the M6 and then along the A75 to Dumfries.

Following the Coastal Route for 6 miles you find yourself at the lovely scenic village of New Abbey with it's ruin of Sweetheart Abbey. The abbey takes its unusual name from its founder, Devorgilla de Balliol, Lady of Galloway, who carried the embalmed heart of her husband, John Balliol (eponymous founder of the Oxford college) around with her for the last 22 years of her life. Her stone effigy, clutchng a heart casket, can be seen in the south transept.

The Coastal Route is then followed along the Solway Firth to Carsethorn.
then Rockcliffe and finally Kippford 



Carsethorn is an old fishing village and emigrant port which time seems to have overlooked. It is from here that Scots and Irish people took their one-way journey from their homelands to America and Canada in the 1790's. When the tide is out on the Solway, it is a haven for sea birds. Rockford is set on a lovely little rocky bay and it is here where you first see evidence of the cockle shells but they are no where near on a par with Kippford.




Kippford is the jewel with it's cockle shell beaches which stretch far out into the Solway Firth. On a sunny day like I had they are absolutely stunning. Also around May all the rhododendrons are in flower as is the sea thrift and they all add  to the beauty of the place.

On the walk along the estuary there is a house where a local artist has created a sort of grotto or makeshift sculpture park full of bizarre carvings and statues that are embellished with, in some though not all cases, glass eyes and teeth. At one or two places faces are carved into the rock face and if you look into one of the carved eye sockets – you'll find yourself looking into a sort of mini cavern  and into the face of a creature staring back out. Crazy, wonderful stuff. I’d find it hard to define but I’d suggest that it’s a sort of mix of Celtic and Voodoo.



 Last year when I came there was a sea otter in the estuary but unfortunately the tide was fully in this year but I did spot a couple of herons.




 A small tub of Galloway vanilla ice cream was enjoyed on my returm to the car

Whinlatter Forest

It must be five years since I last went on this walk and unfortunately it has changed for the worst. The first section hasn't altered on...