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Driving through The Machars

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 20 May 2013

Monday 20 May, driving through The Machars

In the morning we wait for the call from the local garage who wants to know the size of our tire and a while later a mechanic appears with a new tire. After that, we drive to the garage to pay the bill and we can go on our own way again. After Elisabeth insisted that all wheels are properly tightened again.
Port of GarliestonGreat, we can get on the road again and today we will explore The Machars, the peninsula south of Newton Stewart. Via Wigtown, a place known for the many secondhand bookshops and therefore also called the bookcity of Scotland, we drive to Garlieston on the east coast of the peninsula. Garlieston is now a sleepy village but in the past it was an important port for the import of products to this part of the country and in the 2nd World War it was part of the secret Mulberry Harbor project.
The coast and the seabed are very similar to those in Normandy where the Allies wanted to invade France and the project aimed to build quickly artificial harbors for supplying the army after the invasion. Three prototypes were developed in and around Garlieston. More information can be found on Wikipedia .
Nice house at Galloway House Galloway HouseNot far from Garlieston is the Galloway House, a 1740 country house with extensive gardens (20 hectares) on the Bay of Wigtown. The mansion itself can not be visited but the gardens can, although officially they no longer belong to the territory of the mansion. We take a long walk, although it is slightly fresh. But it is in any case dry and after the rains we have already had that is a relief.
Gardens of Galloway House Gardens of Galloway HouseThe gardens at English and Scottish castles and country houses are generally well cared for. Often a trust has been set up to guarantee the management of the gardens, because the maintenance of such areas is very expensive and can hardly be paid by private owners. On this estate there are also a few houses that you can rent and which are an important source of income for the trust.
South coast of The Machars Coast of GallowayThen we follow the coast to Isle of Whithorn on the south side of the peninsula but of course I also drive along all sorts of roads in the hope that we encounter something unexpected or surprising, but in vain. As in many Scottish coastal towns, the harbor is the center and there is a small fleet of lobster fishermen.
St Ninian 's chapelNear the village is the ruin of the chapel of Saint Ninian from 1300, which replaced an earlier chapel from 1100. It was a halting place for medieval pilgrims on their way to the Whithorn abbey and named after Ninian, a Celtic bishop who was perhaps the first Christian missionary in Scotland to convert a large number of inhabitants. He built the abbey in Whithorn and was also the first bishop of Galloway.
Beach at St. Ninian 's cave St Ninian 's caveA bit to the west we take the walk across the pebble beach to St. Ninian's cave, a shallow cave where St. Ninian would have lived as a hermit. The cave is about 10 meters deep and 3 to 7 meters high and this place also became a place for pilgrims to visit and draw cross on the walls or leave stone crosses, some of them from the 10th and 11th century can still be seen in the museum at the Whithorn abbey.
For the cave of St. Ninian Cross of stonesAnd, as we can see in and out of the cave, there are still many crosses made with the smooth pebbles of the beach. We ourselves are a little less devoted and go for beachcombing which mainly produces a few nicely colored and smooth pebbles. If you are not walking well, it is a difficult walk here.
Church in GallowayWe drive criss-cross through the inland and then back along the west coast of The Machars to our house. We come across this church but we have not written down where exactly and despite tracking on streetview we have not found out yet. There are also so many churches in Scotland... that we took a picture of this one was because it was the only interesting thing we did see on the ay.
View from our cottage View from our cottageAt the end of the day the sun breaks through the clouds and we can sit outside on our porch and enjoy the green view for some time. According to the weather reports, it remains fairly dry the coming days but it is still fresh.


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