Southern Upland Way 26 Main StreetSt Johns Town of DalryCastle DouglasScotland, DG7 3UW, GB
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1. Portpatrick to Castle Kennedy

Portpatrick to
Castle Kennedy

Walk No: 1

Start: Portpatrick

Finish: Castle Kennedy

Nearest Town: Portpatrick

• Distance: 13.4 miles

• Height Gain:
• Approx. Time: 4.5hours

• Relevant Map:
Difficulty: Easy

• Terrain: Moderate
• Toilets: Castle Kennedy Gardens

• Refreshments: Castle Kennedy Gardens
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Route Description
The first section of the Way begins at Portpatrick on the Mull of Galloway, climbing the steep path by the harbour to the top of the cliffs.

The landscape then becomes more pastoral as you follow a flat road and track-based walk before crossing open fields towards Castle Kennedy, resting below the craggy backbone of The Rhinns.

From the cliffs on clear days, you can see Ailsa Craig with its 19th century lighthouse and dramatic broken castle. Blue granite from this once-volcanic island is the source of stones for curling: a popular Scottish winter sport, very much like ‘bowls on ice.’


 0 0 0 0
 2.4 2.4 3.9 3.9
 1.2 3.6 1.9 5.8
 3.9 7.5 6.3 12.1
 2.5 10.0 4.0 16.1
 2.6 12.6 4.2 20.3
 0.8 13.4 1.3 21.6

Detailed Description

The paragraphs begin and end at points where the Southern Upland Way crosses main roads or comes to car parking areas. This may help when planning walker pick-ups at the end of a particular walk. This section is covered by Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger Series Sheet 82. All major junctions, crossings and points of interest, are given six-figure National Grid references.

Start at the Portpatrick SUW board at (NW 997542) and take the steps north up the cliff to its top. Follow the waymarked path along the cliff past the radio-masts and down towards Port Mora and Port Kale (NW 992552) before proceeding along the cliff top path north towards Black Head lighthouse (NW 981564). The path diverts around the southern edge of Portmaggie just south of the lighthouse, before reaching the road at an unmarked point just short of the car park (NW 982567) for Killantringan Bay.

At this point, follow the single-track road inland for about one and three-quarter miles until the junction with the A 764 (NX 001574). Caution: the road is narrow, so keep clear of cars going to and from the car park and beach area. Turn left at the junction and walk about half a mile to the junction (NW 998578) for the waymarked minor road towards Glenstockadale and Knock and Maize. Follow the minor road to its second right turn (NX 005590) near Knock and Maize farm, taking the waymarked farm road to High Auchenree, going through the gate onto the track, which becomes a moorland path just south of the reservoir near Knockquhassen (NX 026593).

Turn right onto the farm road near Knockquhassen and proceed past Little Mark and Greenfield, turning right at the junction (NX 026593) with another minor road, which is followed until a slightly-larger road is reached (NX 048595). Turn left (east) for about a quarter of a mile until at a minor road junction (NX 051596), where a right turn is taken, the road being followed south past Ochtrelure and Dunbae past a zigzag, to a minor road junction (NX 062583), where a left turn is taken, following the minor road past Whiteleys to its junction with the A716 (NX 066580).

Great care should be taken crossing the A716 as vehicles are inclined to speed through this section. Turn left and cross the A 716, walking beside the road for a short distance until reaching the waymarked minor road beside a small plantation. Proceed along that road until reaching a junction (NX 070583), turning right onto another minor road for a few hundred yards before taking the farm road to Culhorn Mains. Do not enter Culhorn Mains, but turn left through the gated track and follow waymarkers to the right on the park drive, coming out onto the Old Military Road beside the lodge (NX 091598). Turn left along the Old Military Road, remaining on it until reaching the bridge under the railway line (NX 097597), turning left (north) again. Join the path alongside the north side of the railway embankment after passing under the bridge, following the path to the edge of Castle Kennedy and round through housing to a junction with the A75 (T) (NX 108598).

Great care should be taken crossing the A75 (T) as vehicles may be speeding through Castle Kennedy. Enter the grounds of Castle Kennedy beside the lodge, keeping to the track, watching for cars entering or leaving the grounds. There is a car park, toilets (NX 114607) and a small shop serving refreshments. This is a logical point at which to take a break from the Southern Upland Way, possibly for transport to overnight accommodation. The next part of the Way is covered in the New Luce section
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