Taking a closer look at Loch Ryan and Killantringan

It’s the final day of the holiday before the journey home and I couldn’t let it pass without a lighthouse or two. Loch Ryan and Killantringan lighthouses featured in my original tour, but I’d not been back since. I’d learnt that it was possible to get better views of them than I’d previously had and now with Joe the Drone (yes, he has a name and I thought I’d use it as I think he may receive regular mentions in the future) as part of the tools available to us it seemed like a good time to pay them a revisit.

In my previously cautious way (and I am still cautious sometimes) I’d contented myself with the view of Loch Ryan lighthouse from the road. The signs saying “Danger” and “Keep out” were enough to put me off attempting anything more. The lighthouse is at the back of what appears to be an abandoned area of wasteland. Parking at the car park we went down onto the beach and quickly came to the burn (or stream) that crossed the beach, heading down into the sea. It was deeper than it looked in places, but we managed to navigate our way across and I was glad of the extra platform I have on my walking boots, and their waterproof features too!

Loch Ryan lighthouse and the burn

From here it was a short walk along the shoreline to the lighthouse. Although it’s quite a substantial tower there are no associated cottages next to it or within the compound. It is clear that its purpose is limited to navigating ships safely into and out of Loch Ryan by its basic layout and lack of the little decorative details that you find on many other Scottish lights – particularly those designed by Alan Stevenson as this one was.

Loch Ryan lighthouse

It was a nice stroll along the shore though and Joe the Drone managed to capture some great images too. As we left I noticed a sign warning that large waves often occurred on the beach there up to 30 minutes after a ferry had passed. Luckily we didn’t need to worry about that!

Loch Ryan lighthouse

The revisit to Killantringan was partially inspired by the fact that Bob hadn’t been there before and also that my lighthouse accomplice John had sent a picture of it taken from an entirely different angle than I’d seen it from before, one from which you could see the old foghorn which I hadn’t realised was there before. When I’d been there previously it was a matter of driving up, parking, walking up to the lighthouse, taking some pictures and then going back to the car. There is no way to get around the outside of the wall so there seemed nowhere else to go.

Killantringan lighthouse in the mist

As we approached the lighthouse a thick sea mist had appeared and it was looking unlikely that Joe the Drone would get a spin at this one. I quickly took a few pictures and we retreated to the car park to assess the situation. Thankfully the mist cleared and we set off with Joe flying above our heads. While Bob was working with Joe I set off along the coastal path, part of the Southern Upland Way, to get the panoramic view of the lighthouse, foghorn and the fantastic cliffs surrounding them.

Killantringan lighthouse with the foghorn coming into view

A benefit of visiting at low tide as we did was that the remains of the bow of MV Craigantlet could be seen. The cargo ship was en route from Belfast to Liverpool when it was wrecked in February 1982 and thankfully the crew were saved after the keeper at Killantringan lighthouse raised the alarm.

Killantringan foghorn and lighthouse with the bow of the MV Craigantlet visible

Funnily enough, as the foghorn really started to come into view I heard the deep boom of a ship’s foghorn out to sea, an indication that it was still foggy out there at sea. It seemed like perfect timing and I enjoyed the views for a little longer before heading back to the car, not quite in time to miss the rain though! Joe had also done well and captured some nice shots, particularly closer in on the foghorn.

Killantringan lighthouse and foghorn from the sky

It was great to get back to these two and really explore their surrounding areas a bit more. It’s so easy to not make the most of these places when you are on a time limit with plenty more still to go on your list. It was good to be able to spend more time there without these constraints.

These lighthouses are the final two of this holiday. It’s been a long wait for them, but completely worth it. I’ve spent time with treasured family and friends, laughed a lot, got plenty of fresh air and exercise, and been to places I will never forget. 🙂

Gadding about in Galloway

It was going to be difficult to beat the success of Saturday’s Hestan Island visit Saturday’s Hestan Island visit, but we had a very good go yesterday anyway.

After a two-hour drive over to the Rhins of Galloway we met up with John, Steve and Lianne at Port Logan. The little harbour lighthouse at Port Logan had alluded me on previous visits to the area. Somehow I’d not known about it and, with it being so easy to get to it seemed rather odd that I’d still not made it there.

Port Logan lighthouse

It’s a lovely little tower, dating back to 1818, although obviously no longer in use. The original report proposing the introduction of a lighthouse as part of a new harbour here was drawn up by John Rennie. It’s possible to access both the ground and first floors as well as the attached little out-house type room which looks like it contained a bath! From the first floor you can look up and see the inside of the old lantern area. Originally the lantern would have been accessed by ladder from the first floor. It was nice to wander around and the kids enjoyed going in and out too, sheltering from the wind that had picked up overnight.

Looking up to the lantern in Port Logan lighthouse

Bob had taken along his drone and this was his first opportunity to experiment with using it around lighthouses. Of course they are an excellent feature for drone images.

A drone’s eye view of Port Logan lighthouse

Leaving my parents and the kids to play on the beach the rest of us set off for an attempt to visit Crammag Head lighthouse. Steve and Lianne had visited last year, although found it was not the most pleasant of experiences as it involved crossing a field of cows. I think we were all expecting the same again yesterday, but we thought we had to try it as it was one that John and I had both been keen to get a closer view of – having previously settled for a view from the road.

After a brief chat with the people staying at the holiday accommodation at the nearby farm we set off towards the gate and were very pleased to discover two empty fields with no cows to contend with. Aside from a muddy section the walk was easy and it was such a fantastic feeling to see the top of the tower emerge over the hill. I am particularly fond of this type of lighthouse and it was wonderful to see a new one of these close up. John clearly shared my joy by giving the lighthouse a hug alongside me. It’s almost as if the weather knew what a happy moment it was as it sent in blue sky shortly after we‘d arrived.

Crammag Head lighthouse

While there we saw the base of the old lighthouse, which made a perfect take-off and landing pad for Bob’s drone. We took a stroll down to the old landing area for the lighthouse, which we assumed must have – at some point – featured a derrick for bringing materials etc. in as it was nowhere near sea level.

The base of the former lighthouse at Crammag Head with the modern light behind

I’d always associated this lighthouse with cows, but the visit yesterday changed my mind entirely. It’s a relatively new tower, although a lighthouse has stood here since 1913, having been replaced in December 2009.

Crammag Head from the sky

We stopped back in Port Logan briefly to pick up the others we set off for the Mull of Galloway for lunch. My plans for a nice picnic were perhaps a little unrealistic as the wind was a bit “fresh”. It was 8 years ago I last visited the Mull of Galloway lighthouse and that was on my original tour. I managed a tour of the tower that time. Due to the pandemic, the lighthouse is closed this season, but that didn’t seem to have put people off. It was the opposite end of the scale to Crammag Head where we were alone.

Mull of Galloway lighthouse

While walking around the lighthouse complex I mentioned to John that Mull of Galloway wasn’t one of my favourite lighthouses and he asked if it was because you could “just drive up to it and wander around” – clearly he’d paid attention while reading yesterday’s blog post! I suppose I’ve spent a lot of time visiting more remote lighthouses and I have grown to love not seeing lots of people at these places. It somehow makes the visit feel more personal and special when you are the only ones around.

Looking up to Mull of Galloway lighthouse from the foghorn

On my previous visit I’d not paid much attention to the foghorn, apart from seeing it from the top of the lighthouse. I received a message from Bob to say that our son wanted to go down to the foghorn so we set off to join them. There are a fair amount of steps down to it, but it’s worth it for the views. Foghorns are really starting to grow on me and one day it would be great to go back there to hear it being sounded.

Mull of Galloway foghorn

All in all it was a great day with Crammag Head being the real highlight. I’ve missed the lighthouses in recent months and it’s great to be getting back to them again. 🙂