Ever since stumbling across a link to the Mull of Galloway on social media I have been inspired to visit Scotland's most southerly point and I was excited to finally get there this week. For some reason I have never reached the extremities of my country and recently added them to my Scottish travel 'to do' list.
As I drove down the Rhins of Galloway peninsula on the southwest corner of Scotland looking towards the Irish Sea I expected it to be a harsh and windswept environment, however it is anything but.
Instead you are met with wide sweeping vistas of sandy beaches and colourful patchwork fields. There is a peacefulness and lush beauty that I didn't expect and I was also rewarded with the sight of my first Red Kite hovering and swooping over the farmland below.
Drummore is the last little town you pass heading south and If like me you still enjoy sending mail the old fashioned way and not via virtual messaging then Scotland's first and last post office is situated here and makes a unique postal stop. Across the road you can also stock up on supplies at Scotland's most southerly store!
The journey continues at a gentle climb through hilly fields and when it opens up again you are rewarded with a stunning view across to the Mull of Galloway lighthouse in the distance, perched high on the clifftop.
As the single track road winds past chunky cliffs towards the lighthouse and cafe I am surprised at how busy the car park is. For the last few miles we had hardly passed another vehicle and suddenly our horizon was filled with rows of cars and streams of people! On a sunny day like I had it is easy to see why people flock here, the scenery complete with the Robert Stevenson lighthouse is straight out a picture postcard!
My first stop was for a much needed tea and obligatory scone at the Gallie Craig Coffee House, sitting outside admiring the cliff top view was the perfect location for a refreshment. The coffee house fits discreetly into the hillside thanks to it's turfed roof resulting in minimal impact to the surrounding landscape.
I should point out that for such a remote area I was pleasantly surprised to find they offer a free WiFi connection around the coffee shop and lighthouse, ideal for uploading those tea and scone photos!
Then it was on to visit the lighthouse exhibition. Disappointingly the tower was closed (it only opens certain days depending on the season) and we couldn't make the most of the spectacularly clear weather but the engine room exhibition was enjoyable and even better we could take our dog in, a huge thumbs up for that! There are various lighthouse objects, memorabilia and videos set within the former fuel store, workshop and engine room. It costs £3 entry for an adult and definitely a worthwhile visit.
Mull of Galloway also has an RSPB reserve and the area is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. A wide variety of birds can be seen as you walk around the lighthouse and on certain days there are guided walks by the RSPB. Other things to look out for are rare butterflies and porpoises in the water below. A camera and binoculars are essential, but be careful along the cliff edges!
I walked down to Lagvag viewpoint and with the clear blue skies I could see across to the Isle of Man in one direction and the Cumbrian hills (so I was reliably informed) in the other.
If you are looking for an unusual place to stay then the cottages beside the lighthouse are available to rent. These are on my list for the future as I would love to stay and explore more of the area and get up to the top of that tower! In my short time here I feel I only scraped the surface of what is on offer in this interesting part of Scotland.
I'm glad I finally discovered Mull of Galloway and as I left with the strong summer breeze blowing in the air I was reminded that on a less sunny day I may well have been welcomed by that harsh, windswept environment that I had originally envisaged, which if anything makes me want to return even more!
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