THIS column is dedicated to walking and ramblers’ groups from across Scotland, where they can suggest the best routes to enjoy from their areas and further afield.
By Lawrie McMillan, Scottish Women’s Walking Group
Start: War memorial, Portpatrick.
Distance: 3 miles/4.8 kilometres
Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
Terrain: The glen paths are wide and easy. Uneven tracks from the bays back into Portpatrick.
Level: Easy. Suitable for most.
Access: There is a bus stop at the war memorial, but the route can be started and finished anywhere in the village. A car park is situated approximately a quarter of a mile up the core path track.
What makes it special: A beautiful woodland walk that opens up onto fantastic beaches where many families can be seen spending time.
A RELAXING and hugely enjoyable route that allows you to soak up glorious scenery and get a feel for this beautiful corner of south-west Scotland.
Sandeel Bay (Port Mora on OS map) is a great spot for safe paddling due to a gentle incline on the beach, while Lairds Bay (Port Kale on OS map) is larger with stones that are perfect for skimming.
The village itself is a popular tourist destination, with gift shops and plenty of refreshment pit stops available.
Route: Starting from the war memorial, cross the road and approximately 50 paces along, past the bus shelter, a signpost for Dunskey Glen Core Path 340 points you up a country lane. Follow this lane straight on up, passing cottages on the left and a sturdy tree swing on the right.
Continue on past the glen walks car park and soon you will see the home farm. A gate on the left is signposted and is to be used for walkers to avoid disturbing the working farm. Go through this gate and shortly after another, turn left into the woodland.
Walking on, you will come to a fork. Take the right-hand path to continue into the woodland and when you come to another fork take the left following the core path. History is evident throughout this walk, with glimpses of the impressive Dunskey Estate house and many of the outlying cottages along the way.
Shortly after taking a left, a hidden path can be taken to use the lower glen, a magical walk by the burn where wellies are recommended. Continue on the core path through woodland, zig zagging until the old graveyard comes into sight.
Follow the main track past the graveyard going downhill until, out of nowhere, Lairds Bay opens up in front of you. An interesting octagonal building here was previously used to store cables as part of the first ever telephone cable laid between Scotland and Ireland, the project started in 1851 and cost £13,000.
You are now on the Southern Upland way. After enjoying a bit of time on this beach, go left taking the path back to Portpatrick, going up the cliff and returning back down some old stone steps into Sandeel Bay. Although smaller, the gentle incline of this beach makes it great for safe paddling and dog swims.
Continuing across the beach, pass a cave and waterfall to go up the cliff. The path here is slightly uneven but a rail has been installed to aid walkers.
The views at the top looking over both bays and across the Irish Sea are impressive. On clear days Northern Ireland can be clearly seen, with the Mourne Mountains and Kilroot Power Station being the main identifiable features.
From here you pass the busy local golf course (watch out for rogue shots!) and then shortly arrive back at the village. At the old radio station, take the path on the right to lead you back to the Portpatrick Hotel and down the “big steps” into the village where it is worth going for a wander around to explore.
Don’t miss: Playing at the putting green, a visit to the RNLI gift shop to support the local crew, and a tasty meal at Connor’s Restaurant.
Useful information: Scottish Women’s Walking Group meet and walk together all over Scotland. Membership is free and open to all ages and abilities. For details of how to join, visit swwg.co.uk
Do you have a walk you would like to suggest? Email email@example.com