Places to Visit in Scotland
- Mull of Galloway
Scotland's Most Southerly Point
There is always a fascination with remote places, especially if they have some special claim to fame such "highest" or "most northerly". The Mull of Galloway is one of these, taking you to the most southerly point in Scotland, 20 miles south of Stranraer. Of course, once you get to this remote location, you find that lots of other folk have been attracted to it as well and the car park can get rather busy, as I found at the end of a long, 100 mile drive from Glasgow.
The final leg, on a "B" class road and finally on a stretch of single track road with passing places was certainly wild and desolate but the destination was well worth the effort. Unlike the unattractive tourist trap of John O' Groats at the other end of the country (which isn't even the most northerly point on the mainland), the lighthouse and the Gaillie Craig Café at the Mull of Galloway are sparkling clean and merge in very well with the environment.
The lighthouse was built in 1830 by Robert Stevenson, who served the Northern Lighthouse Board for 50 years constructing numerous lighthouses around the coast of Scotland - including the Bell Rock Lighthouse which established new standards. Stevenson also developed the use of Fresnel lenses, innovative rotation and shuttering systems providing lighthouses with individual signatures allowing them to be identified by seafarers. The white-painted round tower is 26 metres (85 ft) high and has a range of 28 nautical miles (52 km / 32 miles). There are views across to Ireland and South to the Isle of Man. An old outhouse has been converted into a visitor centre, run by the South Rhins Community Development Trust. In the summer, the lighthouse is also open by the Trust every weekend between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm; also on Monday, during July and August.
The Mull of Galloway has one of the last remaining sections of natural coastal habitat on the Galloway coast and as such supports a wide variety of plant and animal species. It is now a nature reserve managed by the RSPB. The cliffs are several hundred feet high and provide nesting sites for many birds. In spring there are guillemots, black guillemots, razorbills, puffins, fulmars, kittiwakes, cormorants and shags all nesting on the steep cliffs. Wheatears, stonechats, rock pipits and linnets can be found foraging on the cliff tops. In the summer, as well as the nesting seabirds, porpoises, dolphins and Atlantic grey seals are often seen. Minke whales and otters have also been spotted. In June, there is a show of stunning wildflowers.
The Gaillie Craig Café
This unique visitor facility at the Mull of Galloway has been designed with environmental issues as a priority. The turf roof allows the building to blend into the contours of the land, reducing the detrimental effect on the landscape and keeping this beautiful area as natural as possible. The name Gallie Craig was chosen as it is a local landmark - a ragged rock protruding from the sea, which is arguably Scotland's most Southerly point. It is towards this rock that visitors look from the glass encased Coffee House and its terrace. Included in the extensive menu are home made soups, cold and hot snacks, light and main meals, and delicious home made cakes and tray bakes. And of course there is a large selection of Cream o' Galloway Ice Cream! There is a terraced area and seating for up to 90 people.
Gaillie Craig Café at Mull of Galloway is open seven days a week from April to October 10am - 6pm and Friday to Tuesday November to March 10am - 4pm
There is a Webcam at the Lighthouse offering different views of the area and a collection of recent images is useful if you call in during the hours of darkness or poor visibility. See also the Location Map (you can enlarge/reduce the scale of this map, if required).
Thee is a short Windows Video slide show show of the graphics in this article. If this doesn't run in your browser, right click and download the file to your PC and run from there.
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