A. Paterson Designs
For all Planning permission and Building Warrant applications. Domestic, Commercial, Industrial, and Agricultural. Changes of use, new build and extensions. Preparation of Deeds Plans, drainage and topographical surveys and SAP calculations.
Contact DetailsAdrian Paterson
All Saints, Challoch
Sunday Services 9am Holy Eucharist, 10.30am Sung Eucharist first in the month 10.30am Choral Months. Daily 8am Morning Prayer, 5.30pm Evening Prayer. Feast days 7pm Holy Eucharist.
Allison Motors Ltd
fuel, repairs, car sales and car wash. Opening hours : Port William Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm; Saturday, 8.30am to 4pm. Bladnoch, Monday to Saturday, 8.30am to 6pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm
All electrical maintenance and repairs.
Contact DetailsAlan McGhie
16 Boyach Crescent
Isle of Whithorn
In the eighth century, Bede wrote of Whithorn as shrine established three centuries before he wrote : “an episcopal see, called after S. Martin the bishop, and famous on account of the church where he rests in body, along with many other saints..The place belongs to the province of the Bernicians (Northumbrians) and is commonly called The White House. It received this name because he built the church there of stone, not a common practice among the Britons”.
The shrine was visited in later centuries by Scottish kings and queens : Kenneth II, Kenneth III, Robert the Bruce seeking a cure for leprosy, James III and Margaret of Denmark, and almost every year of his reign, James IV. Our tradition of welcome is 1500 years old : come and experience it!
As a landmass easily accessible from the sea, Galloway inevitably has a long history of settlement from prehistoric times. It has significant remains from prehistory.
Barsalloch Fort – Mesolithic and Iron Age
Some of the earliest evidence of human occupation in Galloway was found on the raised beaches north of Monreith. A celebrated local archaeologist, Bill Cormack, did a great deal to discover and pursue these findings, which date back to 6000BC. There is parking and access to the fort.
Drumtroddan Stones and Cup and Ring markings – Bronze Age
Car parking available beside the farm Drumtroddan consists of two possibly connected features dating from the Bronze Age : a group of standing stones are about 400m from the cup and ring carved stones, and the summit of the Fell of Barhullion (surmounted by the remains of an Iron Age camp) may be the focus of this grouping. Cup and ring markings are common in Galloway, as also in Ireland, Brittany and north West Spain. They are marked on the Ordnance Survey maps, but please bear in mind that some are on farmland, where there may be no formal access agreements. You may also see cairns on various summits in the Machars, sometimes built by walkers or shepherds, but occasionally these are the remains of burial cairns, often robbed for field dykes and building materials.
Isle of Whithorn fort and promontory forts – Iron Age
Even the casual walker on the grassy peninsula at the southernmost point of the Isle cannot fail to notice the features of the landscape which seem to be man-made. The lower field past the children’s play area shows signs of possibly mediaeval rig-and-furrow cultivation, but as one climbs across the regularly shelving steps up to the white-painted Cairn, one is going back in time to the Iron Age, when the extremity of the peninsula was a promontory fort, along with other sites particularly along the Western coast of the Machars from Burrow Head northwards. Archaeologists working at Whithorn have hypothesised that if the Isle was already a stronghold, the church at Whithorn might have grown up within the lands and protection of a local chieftain, though no excavation as yet has taken place at the Isle fortified site. After Whithorn’s development as a Christian centre, the fort might have been reused during the Dark Ages to protect the monastery’s thriving trade by sea.
Rispain – an Iron Age farm steading
For many years, local antiquarians supposed that the impressive earthworks at Rispain were of Roman origin, with their virtually square design. Modern understanding of the Romans’ limited intervention in Scotland, and recent excavations have revealed that Rispain was in fact a fortified farm of the native British people, containing several roundhouses, and with room for a settlement of families and animals. It may be visited by parking at the farmyard and passing through the kissing-gates to the causeway leading into the site.
Mediaeval – Barhobble church: NX 310494
A lost chapel, with both Dark Age and mediaeval remains has been found at Barhobble in Mochrum parish. The remains, which have been left open for visitors to see, date from the 12th century and comprise a church used prior to the construction of a church building at Mochrum. The Dark Age cemetery, which surrounded the earlier church here, included evidence of pagan symbols and practices, which may have continued alongside Christian practices.
Chapel Finian, Mochrum, NX 278 489
On the coast road north of Port William are the remains of an 11th century chapel, possibly used by pilgrims on their way to Whithorn. St. Finian was a major influence on Columba and there is evidence that he may have come from Galloway. A version of his name also recurs in other towns, such as Kilwinning.
The motte of Druchtag and Cruggleton – Norman / Early Mediaeval
Just outside the picturesque village of Mochrum stands the motte of Druchtag, a deceptively steep earthwork, which would once have been surmounted by a wooden defensive structure, of a type brought to Galloway through the influence of Norman settlement. Druchtag was in fact the first monument to be taken into state care, thanks to the influence of Sir Herbert Maxwell of Monreith, who was the first landowner to volunteer antiquities for custodianship by what eventually became Historic Scotland. Thanks to him too, Wigtownshire was the first shire to be documented in the monumental series of Inventories of Ancient Monuments, first undertaken in 1912?
The stone castle at Cruggleton too, with its associated earthworks, would, as we know from excavations undertaken there in the 1970s, have replaced predecessors in wood and other materials. Presumably, the road leading from Whithorn and named “Castlehill” may refer to Cruggleton Castle, for many years at the centre of power struggles between the lords of Galloway and powerful interests, including the Bruces.
Tower Houses – mediaeval and late mediaeval.
Those interested in the distinctively Scottish form of architecture known as the ‘Tower House’ may see interesting examples at Sorbie Tower (pictured above) and near the White Loch of Myrton (private access). Other properties at Castlewigg and Ravenstone, now private and sometimes ruinous, also included parts of older buildings from this period, subsequently developed into eighteenth century mansions, with later Victorian additions. A late example, when the necessity for fortified houses had largely passed away, is at the Isle, which is one of the last tower houses to be built in Scotland, with a date of 1674.
The South Machars is fortunate in its variety of beaches.
Rigg Bay at Garlieston, entered through the important landscaped gardens of Galloway House, is one of the best beaches for small children.
At Monreith, there is a variety of beaches to choose from. At the St. Medan’s golf course, leading down past the bronze otter monument to Gavin Maxwell , there is a wide bay which can be reached from the golf course car park, and the historic St. Medan’s Church. At low tide, the beach reaches right over to the lowest houses in Monreith village, just to the north. On a jutting headland, you will be able to see St. Medan’s Well, where water drips gently out of the cliff above ; for centuries, it was known to cure whooping cough.
There is also the “Back Bay”, which is reached by following the road which cuts through the golf course to the car park. Here, if you go as far as the cliffs jutting out into the water, you will find deeper water for swimming. Do remember, however, that the Solway Tides move fast, and you may find yourself cut off if you do not keep an eye out.
For those with a head for heights, a small path may be found up over the cliff, which gives spectacular views of the sea and where seabirds may be watched from the top of the grassy cliffs. North of Port William, too, there are also sandy beaches, where you may park on the grassy foreshore, popular with picnickers.
St.Ninian’s Cave or Port Castle beach is stony, but its sea-washed pebbles have a fascination of their own.
The Bladnoch Inn is a small, friendly inn, ideally located by the banks of the River Bladnoch and just a short distance from Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town, in Galloway, southwest Scotland.