Tuesday, 9 July 2013


The Isle of Whithorn is one of those 'islands' around the country's coast that are not actually islands.  "The Isle" as it is known locally is a village around 3 miles from Whithorn, encompassing a small peninsula with Isle Head at its tip.

The area to the south of Monreith is full of reminders of St Ninian, a Christian saint who lived in the area around the 4th/5th centuries, and the first Christian missionary to come to Scotland, arriving by sea from Cumbria.  A short distance along the coast to the south-east of Monreith is St Ninian's Cave, where reminders of the saint's presence remain in the form of Christian crosses carved into the cave walls.  In the town of Whithorn, 4 miles from the coast, the Priory and Museum displays archaeological finds which include crosses, stones etc. associated with the saint.  Meanwhile, at Isle Of Whithorn, a village with a causeway leading to a rocky peninsula which used to be an island, there is a ruined 13th century chapel named after St Ninian.  The village was granted the status of Royal Burgh in 1663, and its harbour was once one of the most important in the area.  Monks from nearby Whithorn Priory used to keep their fish in a fish yard there.  Fish and seafood are still landed at the harbour today by boats from the locality and from the Isle Of Man, and for more pleasurable pursuits afloat the Wigtown Bay Sailing Club is based here.  One of the most prominent features in the area is The Cairn, whre a square white tower has long been used as a navigational aid, a fact which was not lost on the military during the Second World War when a tracking station was established here for anti-aircraft gunnery practice.  Those with the energy to climb up to The Cairn are rewarded with fabulous views of the Kirkcudbright coast, the mountains of the Lake District over in England and the Isle Of Man.

Map of the area. 

File:Isle of Whithorn Harbour - geograph.org.uk - 214189.jpg
Isle of Whithorn Harbour. Photo by David Medcalf, via Wikimedia Commons

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