Coo Palace

Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Walk 5 - Brighouse Bay to Kirkandrews walking and hiking route

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Walk Instructions

Start: Brighouse Bay Car Park (GR 635457)
Footwear: Trainers in dry weather, boots in winter or wet weather.
Terrain: Rough paths and rocky coast

A walk along the rugged coastline from Brighouse Bay to Kirkandrews. The Borgue coast is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its geology and bird life. Peregrines and ravens nest along the coastal cliffs along with a variety of gulls and sea birds. Seals and porpoises are often seen along this section of coast. Some parts of this walk cross steep ground above tall cliffs. Please keep children and dogs under close supervision.

1. The walk starts from the public car park at Brighouse Bay. Follow the path along the edge of the bay then through the Graplin Plantation woodland between Brighouse Bay Holiday Park and the sea. Look out for spring flowers along this section of the route. After about a mile you emerge onto the rocky foreshore and the path continues between the golf course and the shore round some interesting bays and headlands. There are some information boards with descriptions of the plants and wildlife that can be seen in the area. The first deep inlet is between the tee and the green of the 3rd hole of the golf course so beware of low-flying golf balls! In the next bay there is a “Bone Cave” that was excavated in the 1870s and was found to contain numerous animal bone fragments along with human remains and artefacts, probably dating to the 1st and 2nd centuries. The highest headland on this section of the walk was the site of the promontory fort of Borness Batteries. You can still see the outlines of the ramparts and ditches between the stone wall and the cliff edge. The age of the fort is uncertain.

2. A short way beyond Borness Batteries you will come to a gate where the path forks. One route heads inland and back round to Brighouse Bay but this walk continues through the gate along the coast. The next mile of the route is rough going around Harrison’s, Borness and Ringdoo bays. There is a lot of gorse and the best route is often along the top edge of the rocky shore just above the high tide mark. The headland between Harrison’s Bay and Borness Bay is the site of an earthwork of uncertain period. There is a theory that this was an abandoned attempt at constructing a fort but there is no conclusive evidence. The tip of the headland is known as Manxman’s Rock and is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel.

3. Beyond Ringdoo Bay, the cliffs rise again and there are several caves at sea level. Some of them can be accessed at low tide but be careful of the slippery rocks and fast rising tides. The route follows the line of the fence on the edge of farmland above the cliffs. Sometimes the path is on the landward side and sometimes on the seaward side. There are metal kissing gates at the points where the route crosses the fence. These cliffs are where peregrines and ravens often nest so look on the cliff ledges for the large piles of sticks that are typical of raven nests. Peregrine nests are more difficult to locate but the birds are often seen perching on the fence posts along the top of the cliffs. This section of the walk is good for spring flowers, especially the large clumps of bright yellow primroses. As you round the last prominent bay you can look back to see Little Pinnacle, a tall rocky spire with a deep channel behind it. This is a popular nesting site for cormorants and gulls. The final feature before the cliffs decrease in size is Meikle Pinnacle which is accessible via a scramble and is a popular place for sea fishing.

4. The route now goes through another kissing gate then follows a faint path down across the edge of a pasture to a shallow valley where a small stream can be crossed. Continue parallel to the coast across the field to a gate in a dry-stone wall just below the point where the ground gets steeper to the right. Go through the gate and follow the path next to a fence line leading around the side of Barn Heugh through two more kissing gates to meet a track that gives access to Kirkandrews village.

5. Kirkandrews is the site of an old church that was originally founded in or before the 12th century but nothing remains of the original structure. A later church on the site was in use until 1670 when it was merged with the neighbouring parish of Borgue. The remains of the church are now seen as family grave enclosures for the McCulloch and McLennan families. In the early years of the 20th century James Brown of Knockbrex built a laundry and the “wee kirk” along with some workers’ cottages in Kirkandrews. The kirk is open to the public on Sunday afternoons from Easter until the end of September and for Sunday evening services in July and August. From Kirkandrews, you can walk back along the road to the Coo Palace or take the footbridge across the Pulwhirrin Burn and walk back across the fields along the coast.

Please help future walkers by notifying us of any errors in the walk description or any suggestions for improving the directions.

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Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.

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