Road Trip To Stranraer: Pt 1 – Cardoness Castle to Whithorn

For our latest road trip, for St Andrews Day, we headed again along the A75 main road through Dumfries and Galloway, passing two castles on the main road before we reached Newton Stewart and took the coastal route round to Glenluce, then travelled up to Stranraer and finally to the edge of the country at Portpatrick looking across to Northern Ireland. Part one of this trip covers Cardoness Castle through to Whithorn on the coast…

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Cardoness Castle

This castle is easily visible from the main road on the right hand side going towards Newton Stewart. Its sat up on a small hill, and is only open in the summer months but we stopped for a few photographs.

The castle was built in the 15th century by the MacCullochs, who used it as a tower house. The battlements give full views of the surrounding area. By 1628 it had changed ownership and belonged to John Gordon of the Gordon Clan, before changing hands again a few times and eventually the castle passed into state ownership in 1927.

The castle itself is quite intact and an impressive landmark for the area.

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Carsluith Castle

The second castle we passed on the main road is Carsluith Castle, which is free to enter and you can get right to the top for great views over the coast. This tower was constructed in the 16th century by James Lindsay of Fairgirth. After his son was killed in 1513 at the battle of Flodden, the castle became the property of Richard Brown through a daughter of James Lindsay.

In 1748 the Brown family emigrated to India and the castle has lain dormant ever since.

The castle is in great condition with the cellars intact as well as the first floor, but much of the inside detail has been lost but the main structure of the castle is intact.

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Newton Stewart with Randolph Memorial

We didn’t stop in Newton Stewart, the town where we turned off the main A75 route and headed around the coast, but we did purposefully drive through it and its a nice town with old buildings and some interesting architecture such as this monument I got a picture of as we crossed the bridge over the River Cree. The monument is a memorial to Randolph, the 9th Earl of Galloway (1800 – 1873), an important position in the area, which continues to this with Randolph Stewart, 13th Earl of Galloway (1928 – Present).

Nearby is the Galloway Forest Park, a large woodland park full of beautiful hills and scenery.

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Wigtown Town Hall and Green

Our next stop was the town of Wigtown overlooking Wigtown Bay, and parked up on the main street. The large building at the back is the Town Hall, with a small museum on the ground floor about the area, and the Galloway Coast Visitors Centre on the top floor. The green in the centre is a bowling green and beyond that at the other end of the street is a large cross which is the towns War Memorial.

The town is known as Scotland’s National Book Town and there is an annual book festival held here. It is a pleasant town and in a great local for views, a well as being in a quieter area of Dumfries and Galloway making it very peaceful. There is no train station but local bus services connect it to the larger town of Stranraer as well as Newton Stewart.

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St Ninian’s Priory, Whithorn

The priory is a ruined building in the village of Whithorn on the Galloway coast line, dedicated to St Ninian, a saint from around the 4th or 5th centuries. The priory was built in the 12th century, and became the cathedral of Galloway, but it has since been abandoned and become a ruin. A new church sits next to the ruins. Other places of interest in Whithorn include the Museum and the Old Town Hall just up the street. The priory is on a turn off through an impressive arch off the main street.

Stay tuned for part 2 later on as I show you the Isle of Whithorn, Glenluce Abbey, and the ports of Stranraer and Portpatrick…

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