Today my sister Anna and her spaniel shaped dog joined me on my walk from Port William to the Isle of Whithorn. It was a lovely day and we were both looking forward to a good long walk. Anna tends to run everywhere at a great speed but managed to slow down enough to keep up with me.
After stopping off for coffee in the morning at a hotel in Port William (naively I had asked for a coffee and the response was “This is Port William you are in”), so made do with a filtered coffee which was just as good.
We set off and soon reached the hill going up to Monreith – we had to back track a little and return to walk up the steps at the end of the beach as there didn’t seem to be a way around the headland. After cutting back on to the main road we stopped at an animal sanctuary for a quick tea and chatted to the woman who ran the place. This is “ring of bright water” country as the author Gavin Maxwell lived around here. Unfortunately the otter that she had on the sanctuary had only died last week. She looked after lots of animals but she said that she was struggling financially to make ends meet and the feed bill for the animals was a lot. I hope that her venture survives.
The next stop on the route was St Ninian’s cave which was a short walk along a wonderful stony beach. The stones on the beach were all worn away into ovals and smooth spheres – many of them with intricate veins of different coloured material through them. I picked a couple of really pretty ones to give to Anna as a little memento of our day out.
The cave itself was really more of a fissure that a really deep cave, and there was no actual evidence that St Ninian had actually spent time there – but from the amount of crosses and carvings etc, it was obviously an important pilgrim shrine.
We climbed back up the cliffs and walked along the tops passing the remains of what I think was Feather Castle – I couldn’t find much out about this place and only the arch remains.
After a great walk we descended into the Isle of Whithorn – a small fishing village of about 300 inhabitants.