There is evidence of habitation in the area around Port William going back 6,000 years. To start with there are signs of a Mesolithic site near the village, added to which there are standing stones at nearby Drumtroddan, and there are several examples of Iron Age roundhouses to the north of the village. However, Port William itself was established as a planned village by the local Laird Sir William Maxwell in 1770. Sir William was keen to advance the local economy, particularly agriculture, and to this end he built a corn mill with a water wheel and salmon ladder, and he also built the area's first harbour, where fertiliser for the local farms was imported. However, fertiliser was not the only incoming product. The proximity of the Isle Of Man led to a thriving smuggling trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many of the farms had hiding places known as "brandy holes" for secreting the smuggled goods, including brandy and tea, which were destined mostly for Glasgow and Edinburgh. Today, the main attraction for visitors is the lovely sandy beach at Second Sands, while for the kids there are rock pools on the shore ideal for mini sea creature safaris. Wildlife enthusiasts will not be disappointed: among the species which have frequented the area are otters, badgers and deer. Sightings of marine creatures in Luce Bay have included minke whales, basking sharks, porpoise, seals, dolphins and even leatherback turtles. Port William's Carnival Week takes place in the first week of August, and each year the village hosts the final day of World Oceans Week.
Map of the area.
©2000 Bob Jones, via Wikimedia Commons