This post is part of a paid partnership with Gateway to Galloway to showcase the Lighthouses of the Rhins Tour
For a long time I've tried to work out where my own fascination with lighthouses stems from and I know I'm not alone, there is even a name for lighthouse buffs (pharophiles if you're interested). Although I wouldn't claim to travel somewhere just to visit a lighthouse, if there is one in the general vicinity, I'll more than likely divert my route to see it, and then take a million photographs of it, from every angle.
For me, as a coastal lover, I think it is partly to do with reaching a place where the land meets the water and generally I find lighthouses to be eye-catching enhancements to already picturesque places. However, I'm also in awe at how these monuments mark out a battle line between man and Mother Nature, a battle to engineer a building that defies the elements and a battle to stop another life being swallowed by the gluttonous belly of the sea.
Stop 1 - Port Logan Lighthouse
These are my thoughts as I'm drawn like a moth to the stumpy grey beacon that sits at the end of the pier in Port Logan. It is not the most aesthetically pleasing lighthouse but its location guarding over the sweeping silvery bay and white-washed cottages of the village more than makes up for what it lacks in beauty.
The 25ft high landmark complete with bell tower dates back to 1818, and along with the pier, is the most westerly work of the famous engineer Thomas Telford.
This is the first of four lighthouses in the area that I plan to visit over the course of a day as I follow the new Lighthouses of the Rhins trail around the Galloway coast. There are six lighthouses to visit in total, and although you can drive to them, hiring an electric bike offers a more eco-friendly and in my opinion, enjoyable alternative as I discovered when I picked up my hired E-bike at my next stop in Portpatrick.
Stop 2 - Portpatrick Lighthouse
The six lighthouses on the trail are Mull of Galloway, Loch Ryan, Portpatrick, Corsewall, Port Logan and Killantringan and they are quite spread out, so tackling them all in a day by bike is a bit of a challenge.
However, a range of suggested bite-sized routes have been created which can be done separately or linked together for a longer ride. I opted to cycle from Portpatrick to Killantringan and back which is about 8 miles in total, a rewarding route for not too much effort.
I absolutely love the colourful harbourfront and turquoise waters of Portpatrick, a pretty village that sits at the start of the Southern Upland Way long distance walking trail and looks across to Northern Ireland, just a short hop across the water. However, I had never been to Killantringan before and I had been assured it was a gorgeous detour - spoiler alert - it was!
Westby's Electric Bike Hire can drop off and collect your bike in the local area for a half day or full day hire. Owner, Jack, kindly delivered my bike to the harbour at Portpatrick and after a short tutorial, I was kitted up and ready for my 2-wheeled adventure.
Within a few minutes I had left the village behind, breathing in the sea air as I trundled along past swathes of bluebells and a roadside buzzard devouring its lunch, barely blinking an eye as I quietly rolled by. A bit further along, I could hear the distinctive squawk of a pheasant and waved hello to some curious cows. This is what I really enjoy about cycling, the connection with your surroundings that is closed off to you in the bubble of a car.
Stop 3 - Killantringan Lighthouse
On the final stretch to the lighthouse, tiny lambs bounded across my path, filled with the joys of spring, and the coconut aroma from the gorse brought to mind more tropical climes although the deserted sandy coves punctuating the coastline did give off a Mediterranean vibe each time the sun broke through the clouds.
I wish I'd known how beautiful the landscape surrounding the lighthouse was so I could have factored in more time there. On a sunny day it is the perfect picnic stop and worth lingering around the beaches and grassy cliffs to soak up the scenery. I only had time for a short walk before the pedal back to Portpatrick but I have made a mental note to return again in the future.
The undulating landscape wasn't an issue with a boost of power on the electric bike and I was wheeling my way back into the village just over an hour after I had left. I dropped of my bike and treated myself to a well earned coffee which I enjoyed on a bench overlooking the fishing boats.
Stop 4 - Loch Ryan Lighthouse
As I left the Rhins of Galloway, I made one final lighthouse stop at Loch Ryan Lighthouse. Unfortunately the area around it is fenced off so you can't get too close but I did wander down to the rocky beach to watch the ferry depart for Belfast. It is possible to keep walking across the boulders to get closer to the lighthouse if you wish but I was happy enough to take in the surrounding vistas.
More things to do in the Rhins of Galloway
Of course, there is much more to see in the Rhins of Galloway than just lighthouses - I put together this blog from a previous visit with some of my other suggestions of things to do in the area and you can easily include some of them as you cycle around.
Although I didn't visit this time, I also highly recommend going to the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse which sits at the most southerly point of Scotland, you can find out more in this blog post.
I hope my latest Adventure Around Scotland has given you some inspiration for a future Scottish adventure
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