First day on the Mull of Galloway Trail and it felt great! It was varied, easy and required some dynamic route planning which kept it interesting.
We have been looking forward to this trail (a lot) since we first started the Clyde Walkway in Glasgow as it’s remote(ish) and coastal! Since we walked some of the South West Coastal Path we have come to love coastal walking. Today was not a disappointment!
We slept in the car park at the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, which was a cold windswept peninsula. The campervan was rocking all night with rain hitting the side making it sound like we were in a drum. Sarah doesn’t like the noise of rain but I’m the complete opposite, I find it comforting and the noise makes me feel cozy, especially when I’m in a tent. I even have the noise of rain hitting a tent on my phone to listen to at night if I can’t sleep. Eve sits in the middle and doesn’t like it nor dislike it.
We started walking a lot later than planned, because we were all so tired. We didn’t get to the Mull of Galloway until nearly midnight.
When we set off this morning it was cold and very windy. I had every layer of clothing on that I carry excluding my puffy jacket and Eve soon added layers such a gloves thinking it wasn’t that cold and I was making a fuss! One nil to me I think!
The route started by taking us from the car park straight down close to the waters edge. We walked over grass that was long, and we expected to get wet feet within minutes. It was so windy that I think it was blowing the grass dry. Although it was raining lightly on and off constantly for the first couple of hours we actually stopped to take our waterproof socks off. It felt good to get them off.
We walked past a huge badger set. It was huge, to the point I was worried Eve was going to fall in it. We spent some time talking about badgers and Eve has requested to do some badger watching, something I used to do on occasions with a friend years ago before I met Sarah.
The issue with waterproof socks, like any waterproof footwear, is you can often get wetter from sweat than you do from the precipitation or dew. They also give Eve blisters if we wear them too much.
We were soon on our first beach and Eve being Eve went straight to the sea demanding that we ‘touch’ the water as apparently “we can't miss an opportunity as good as this one”. My only request was not to get soaked. We stayed dry with only our hands and cuffs getting wet. Thank goodness
The walk continued around the coast following a lovely grassy trail. The views were beautiful and the wind was starting to settle down. We both started to warm up. We even stopped for a break, sitting in the grass looking out to sea talking about the Mull of Galloway Trail. Eve was definitely enjoying it as we had already been singing Christmas songs. Eve made me recite the 12 days of Christmas more times than I can remember. It wasn’t even lunch time and I was exhausted with Eve’s enthusiasm.
We stopped for our second break on a area of flat mown grass close to a campsite where we had our first snack, some sausage rolls that we baked yesterday. Yum. But then we saw Sarah drive down the road so we had another break sat in the van. We even had a cup of tea!
Eve has been so happy and carefree today its been delightful to watch. She has been going off ahead, singing, dancing and endless talking about anything and everything. It’s absolutely exhausting for me but it’s so nice to see Eve thriving and enjoying the freedom only being outdoors and having an adventure can bring her.
The next section took us through some fields, still on the coast looking out over to the hills of The Machars. The whole area looked magical, with the sun breaking through the clouds lighting up individual hills like they had a spot light on them
This area had cows, hundreds of cows, bullocks and bulls. Luckily we didn’t have to walk though any of them as the bullocks were feeling just as happy and playful as we were. They were going nuts, running, jumping and pushing each other. Eve was fascinated, watching the cows playing, from the relative safety of being behind an electric fence.
Then we saw Sarah coming over the horizon (actually it was along the very rocky path). She had parked up a few metres away. We didn’t stop this time for a break but it’s always so nice to have a cuddle and Eve certainly appreciates seeing her mum, even just for a few minutes.
The route then lead us through the small coastal village of Drummore with a small harbour. There isn’t much at Drummore except for a small village pub that looked busy with people watching us through the windows as we walked past.
Somebody in Dummore has set up a small sculpture trail with hundreds of painted rocks and roof tiles along with a few other artistic sculptures that look like they have been made with ‘stuff’ that has been found on the beach. It was lovely
The route then followed the A716 all the way to the end of todays section. There are a few areas that do not follow the road directly but we had some issues navigating to stay on the trail. There were a lot of waymarkers that were missing as we found a few laying on the ground that had been broken or fallen off.
There is some work being completed on the sea defences that I think might have damaged some of route marker posts.
The best thing with a trail that follows the coast, is as long as you keep to the coast as much as you can, you can’t really go that wrong so that’s exactly what we did.
Although we knew we were not precisely on the trail due to things such as brambles covering the path it didn’t really matter. We walked for about two miles along the beach to avoid some of the road walking.
I think in the section between Dummore and New England Bay they could put the whole trail along the beach with an alternative slightly inland if the sea is particularly rough, instead of criss crossing the road. If you decide the walk the Mull Of Galloway Trail that’s what I would advise.
The maps and route descriptions available on websites such as walk highlands and other sites don’t correspond to what’s on the ground and the way some of the way markers point. There are a few small sections of unavoidable road walking, but theses had paths or wide grass verges to walk along or step on.
The best thing about walking this section was we saw some seals basking in the sunlight. To begin with we thought they was a few pieces of rubbish until they moved and started swimming. Eve was very excited and wanted to phone Sarah immediately, which she did.
It wasn’t that long until we saw Sarah walking towards us across the beach. We walked the last few hundred metres back to the van together collecting some pretty rocks on the way. It was lovely.
Sarah being the absolutely awesome person she is had the van all ready and set up, Eve’s bed was ready with some clothes to change into and the kettle ready to make a cup of tea! I love my wife so much!
We got back to the van just in time as the rain started to come on again. We got changed had dinner and are not sat watching the last of the light fade over the sea. Perfect!!!
Today has been absolutely epic and we are all absolutely exhausted. Even writing this post is a real challenge as my fingers just don’t want to press the right letters and I keep losing my train of thought. Hiking the coast is special and there is something about it that no other trail can give. It’s unique and has such a beauty and elegance about it. The British coast is magical and mystical with something to get excited about around ever corner. The diversity in landscapes and trails is wonderful and never boring. We feel so privileged to be able to do this and do it for such an amazing cause… Scottish Autism
I’m off to make a cup of tea, sleep well and we will see you all on the morning.
Ian, Sarah and Eve
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