The former shipbuilding centre of Kippford, previously known as Scaur, lies on the east bank of the River Urr where near where it joins the Solway Firth. The village gained in importance as a port due to its being the highest point on the Urr reachable by large ships. Nestling under a high crag with houses strung out along the river's edge it makes for a picturesque spot, so that with the shipbuilding now gone it has become popular as a resort, particularly since it is the base of the Solway Yacht Club. Other leisure pursuits include golfing on the nearby Craigieknowes golfcourse, birdwatching and walking. At low tide a shingle spit leads to Rough Island, run by the National Trust of Scotland, where there is a bird sanctuary which hosts nesting terns and oystercatchers in May and June. In the summer months tours to the island are available from Kippford and Rockcliffe. Between Kippford and Rockcliffe on Scaur Hill is the Motte of Mark, a 6th century Celtic fort which was so badly burnt by raiders that the stones were vitrified.
The mile-long Jubilee Path leads from Kippford to Rockcliffe, and makes for a wonderful walk thanks to the views of the Galloway Hills, St Bees Head and the peaks of the Lake District - a reminder of the proximity of the border with England. Rockcliffe developed as a resort during Victorian times, and is ideal for families with its sandy shore and rock pools. Sea angling from the rocks around the bay is a popular activity here, while art fans should head for the Rockcliffe Gallery inside the Baron's Craig Hotel where works by local artists are on display. A short walk along the footpath at the edge of Rough Firth leads to Castlehill Point from where there are panoramic views across the Solway Firth to Cumbria. At nearby Portling smugglers' caves are visible at low tide.
Map of the area.
|Photo by Colin Smith, via Wikimedia Commons|