Trip to Mull

After a couple of years of lockdown we finally organised a trip outside Dumfries & Galloway. We had a 5 day stay on Mull with Mull Wildlife Breaks. Each day, we were taken out by mini-bus to see different areas of Mull and Laura our guide pointed out the variety of birds and other wildlife. We also had a boat trip day when we saw sea eagles nesting on Ulva, puffins and other sea birds around Lunga and lunch at Staffa & Fingal’s Cave.

Weathering

The local rocks are made up of massive formations of steeply inclined sandstones and mudstones of the Silurian period dating from around 420 million years ago. These are deep water sediments, known as turbidites, formed by underwater avalanches from the continental shelf into deep ocean basins.

Click on this line for a detailed geological description.

The rocks are prone to weathering in regular patterns of lines of oval depressions or holes along the bedding planes.

Here’s another example where the rippled bedding surface has been weathered into lines of oval depressions.

Betty showing the scale of the rock features

October Coastal Walks

We had a few good walks around the local coastline in October. Here’s a selection of pictures from the walks.
On the path to Burrow Head
There is a good footpath from Isle of Whithorn that gradually gains height along the cliffs to Burrow Head. Here we are enjoying a quick snack stop with Jerry & Cath.
Cliffs at Burrow Head
The cliffs at Burrow Head are quite impressive. The final scenes of the film “The Wicker Man” were filmed up here in 1973 with Edward Woodward coming to a toasty end.

The coast just around the corner from Rockcliffe
The next coast walk was eastwards along the coast from Rockcliffe to Portling. This is a popular stretch of coast and features some fine beaches and rugged cliff scenery. This is the first beach around the corner from Rockcliffe.
Heading towards Port o' Warren
The path continues across farmland with great views eastwards towards Sandyhills and across the Solway Firth to the Lake District.
Port o' Warren
Cottages at Port o’ Warren where we turned inland to get an ice cream at Colvend. The sand and mud flats in the background are the RSPB bird and nature reserve at Mersehead.

Front Bay and Kirkmaiden near Monreith
The next walk was a loop around Monreith, overlooking Luce Bay on the far side of the Whithorn peninsula. We started from the beach car park and crossed Front Bay to Kirkmaiden chapel. There are the remains of an old chapel and the one that you can see poking out from the trees is a memorial chapel for the Maxwell family who lived nearby.

Gavin Maxwell Memorial
The best-known of the Maxwells was Gavin Maxwell who wrote “Ring of Bright Water” about his time with otters on the west coast of Scotland. This bronze otter is a memorial to him. The hill in the background is the Fell of Barhullion and was our destination on this walk. From the summit we looped back round to the left and down into Monreith Village.
Monreith Bay
This is the view over Monreith Bay from near the Maxwell memorial.

Palnackie Harbour
After another coastal walk from Kippford to Rockcliffe and back, we called in on the other side of the Urr estuary at Palnackie. There is a tiny tidal harbour at Palnackie with some unexpectedly large fishing boats tied up there. Palnackie’s main claim to fame is their annual Flounder Tramping competition where competitors try to catch flounders by wading around in the mud and standing on them.
The Dock Cafe at Palnackie
We were disappointed to find that the Dock Cafe was closed the day that we visited but it’s a cute little structure so we’ll have to go back again when it’s open to try it out.

September Miscellany

Through the summer, we have been having regular visits from a sparrow hawk. Here he/she is, perched on the garden fence waiting for breakfast.
Sparrowhawk
A spider web showing off some fresh raindrops from a passing shower.
Spider Web
As summer draws to a close we are starting to get some stronger winds blowing in from the south-west. Here are a few waves rolling into Dead Man’s Bay.
Waves at Dead Man's Bay
The wind and waves bring in plenty of assorted debris from the sea. It’s mostly various kinds of plastic bottles and containers along with bits of nets, rope and other items lost or discarded from fishing boats. We fill a few bags with this stuff a couple of times year from the local beaches.
Beach cleanup

More July Activities

Wine o’ Clock has been taking place most Friday evenings through the year but it’s good to be able to venture outdoors now that we have a taste of summer weather. There are still a few fleece jackets in evidence but some hardy souls are in short sleeves.
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We had a trip to the deep south and one of the highlights was a visit to the amazing gardens at Great Dixter, near Hastings. Here are a couple of pictures of the riotous planting there:
Great Dixter gardens

Great Dixter garden & house

Kirkcudbright was visited by the Kelpies in July and August. These are models of the enormous ones that are installed near Falkirk but they fitted well with the scale of Kirkcudbright harbour.
Kelpies in Kirkcudbright

Following on from the wine-tasting in June, we had a seashore wildlife walk in July, led by local naturalist Jim Logan as another fund-raiser for Kirkandrews Kirk. Unfortunately the weather was atrocious on the day but a small band of hardy souls ventured out into Kirkandrews Bay and discovered a range of interesting shells and marine creatures. Here’s Jim identifying a specimen for Howard.
Seashore Walk

Portpatrick

We had a day trip over to Portpatrick, near Stranraer, to meet our friends Hilary and Jonathan who had sailed over from Largs via Northern Ireland. Portpatrick is probably the most scenic harbour village in Dumfries & Galloway and has some good harbour-side pubs and restaurants too. Here’s the view across the harbour towards the Crown Hotel where we enjoyed an excellent meal and some tasty local beer. The Crown is the black and white building just right of the blue building on the far side of the harbour.
Portpatrick Harbour

Wind & Trees

This is the effect of the prevailing winds on our coastal trees. Here is a hawthorn tree just coming into leaf as the gorse in the foreground is in full flower.
Hawthorn Gorse
Here are a couple more trees right down by the coastal footpath near Knockbrex House.
Trees