Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Getting your timing right!

This is a series of photos I took of the coastal area west of Dumfries. When the cloud is down over the Cumbrian Fells, you can usually find a bit of brightness on the other side of the Solway Firth

Carsethorn is the first village on the coastal run which at one time was an out port for Dumfries and was a haven for smugglers. During the late 1700s and early 1800s there was a very high level of emigration to the American and Australian Colonies due to the hard times in Scotland plus the Highland Clearances and Carsethorn was one of the main ports of departure. On a clear day you can see the Lakeland Fells and Silloth across the Firth.

A few miles farther along the coast is the village of Southerness with it's caravan sites and golf links. The only thing of note apart from its varied coastline is the lighthouse.

It is at present the second oldest lighthouse in Scotland. The lighthouse was commissioned by the Town Council of Dumfries in 1748 to assist in the safe passage though the Solway Firth of ships heading to the Nith Estuary. At that time roads in South West Scotland were quite sparse so the bulk of trade even between local villages, was carried out by sea. Dumfries was a major port and there were regular connections with Liverpool and, especially, Ireland. Construction was completed in 1749. The lighthouse was first lit around 1800 and was decommissioned in 1936. The light was extinguished due to financial reasons between 1867 and 1894. 

When the tide is out there are some lovely photo opportunities of both the lighthouse and rocky coast and I maybe spent a bit too much time there as I had to bypass the next village of Rockcliffe as I knew the tide would be in. Instead headed for Kippford which is famous for its cockle shell beaches in the hope I would get there before they were swallowed up but unfortunately I had got my timings completely wrong.

On the way to Kippford I called in at Sandyhills Bay and witnessed a sea rescue by the local coastguards. A couple with their dog had been caught out by the speed on the tides and had become stranded on the rocks. I arrived just as they were getting out of the lifeboat to receive a stern lecture by the local constabulary, this was then followed by a red-faced interview with the local press!

I still enjoyed my day out and walk along the Solway Coast despite my cock up with the timing of the tide, it's a lovely unspoilt area.

Solway Firth from Carsethorn

Solway Firth from Carsethorn



Southerness lighthouse


Southerness lighthoue


Sandyhills Bay

A journey of two halves.

It was one of those all too frequent occasions when the weather forecast had a big wad of thick cloud and rain hanging over Cumbria whilst ...