To the east of the Rhinns of Galloway is Luce Bay, which is bordered by the Machars on the other side. Near the head of the bay is Glenluce, on a waterway known as the Water of Luce. The sloping main street of the village is lined by a variety of houses, some with stone facades, some whitewashed or in pastel shades. The village was once much better connected than it is now. The military road from Dumfries to Portpatrick passed through here. Later, in the latter half ot the 19th century, the railway arrived, and with it the impressive Glenluce Viaduct spanning the Water Of Luce, which once carried trains from Carlisle to Stranraer. However, Beeching's line closures put an end to all that, added to which a bypass has been built around the village, returning it to its former tranquil state. There is a harbour at Stairhaven on Luce Bay two miles to the south. The beach at Stairhaven is very popular for its idyllic location, and walkers can enjoy fine coastal scenery on the Stairhaven Coastal Circuit walk. Also fronting the shore is the Wigtownshire County Golf Club.
In a peaceful valley setting 2 miles outside the village lies the ruined Glenluce Abbey, a Cistercian abbey built in 1192 by Roland, Lord of Galloway. The Chapter House was built around 1500 and is in a much more intact state. The abbey grew rich from agriculture, at one point owning 3,000 sheep, but it went into a decline with the Reformation of 1560. Stones from the abbey were used to build the nearby Castle of Park which overlooks Luce Bay. The abbey is run by Historic Scotland, and visitors can view an exhibition of objects excavated at the site.
Map of the area.
©2004 Keith Salvesen, via Wikimedia Commons