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  • Chris Jones

Day 134, 135 & 136. Tues, Wed, Thurs 22-24 Aug. Port William to Crocketford.

Michelle was back in the house in Lincolnshire 230 miles away before I'd managed to get back to Port William which was only 89 miles up the road, I only had to take three buses but none of the timings worked so I spent a long time hanging around trying to keep out of the rain.

The back of my left leg was still sore but nothing like as painful as it had been so I was sure to keep my boots nice and loose and I knew I'd have to take it easy for a few days until

I was back up to full strength.

Back in Port William I walked for just over 3 miles to Monreith along the side of the road, it started raining as I passed through the village and it was already 7pm so I decided to stop for the day. I was directed to a motorhome on the little campsite to book in and a very nice English chap told me I could put my tent on No. 4 pitch. It was a tiny field with two motorhomes parked up and small converted barn which I guessed was the toilet/shower block. I assumed it would be nice and cheap as there was literally nothing there but as I was thanking the man and turning to go and pitch up, I just asked how much the pitch would be. £23 was the answer.... "I don't need electric mate and I'm not expecting breakfast to be delivered to my tent", seriously, £23 for a small tent, no car, no electric. "That's what it is mate, take it or leave it" was his blunt reply... I left it... I thanked him and walked away in the rain, I walked for another 15 minutes towards the sea and found a spot next to a memorial and pitched my tent.

I'm beginning to lose the plot with these small campsite owners. At every opportunity I would rather support a small business, I would feel like I'm being very cheeky wild camping in an area when there is campsite and I don't begrudge paying £10, £11 or £12 for a 3 meter square piece of grass and a hot shower but £23, £24 or even £25, I'm sorry but they are taking the piss and I'm not prepared to pay it. That reminded me, I needed to have a catch up with the boss regarding the finances, I know I've been spending more each day than I'd planned and to be honest, I'm trying to avoid knowing how much I've spent so far because I know it's going to hurt... one day I'm going to text Michelle to send me some pocket money and she's going to say no because the tin is empty... 🫣

Once I'd pitched the tent the rain stopped and the sky cleared enough for me to sit on the bench to cook my tea, what a great view I had while I chowed my noodles, looking out to sea I could clearly see the lighthouse on the Mull of Galloway, the Mourne mountains in Ireland and Snaefell on The Isle of Man. What a cracking spot and I had a lovely peaceful nights sleep under the watch of Gavin Maxwells Otter. I even had a good phone signal so lying in my tent I read up on Gavin Maxwells story, an interesting and inspiring life story which sadly didn't end well for Gavin, a man clearly plagued with his own mental issues which resulted in him dying aged only 55 from lung cancer, he smoked himself to death.

The next few days would be a mixture of bus hopping and road walking, it is a beautiful area along the Dumfries and Galloway coastline and there are lots of short stretches of path, most of which lead from the road down to the coast, follow the coast for a few miles and then track back up to the road. I tried a couple of times to stay down by the coast when the path headed back inland but every time I ended up having to backtrack as I couldn't continue either because the sea cut off my route along the beach or the cliffs and trees prevented me getting past. I wasn't overly bothered as I was trying to go easy on my leg so the mix of bus and road walking would help me to get along this final stretch of Scottish coastline, these roads were on the most part lethal being very narrow and surprisingly fast moving but also, I was nearly back in England so I cracked on, surprisingly with very little whinging... 🙄

I walked through The Isle of Whithorn, Garlieston and Wigtown, each place having an interesting story to tell.

I can remember the story of the Solway Harvester, a fishing boat that capsized in a storm off the Isle of Man resulting in the loss of all crew. Six of the seven fishermen under 30 years old and the later investigation found that the boat was so poorly maintained it had no chance, the boat was taking on water without the crew having any idea, as the sea state worsened, the boat listed, capsized and sunk soo quickly, the crew had no chance to save themselves. There was a large memorial here presented by the Freemasons but the writing was almost illegible so this new memorial had been erected to commemorate these poor men that lost their lives.

Garlieston had an interesting story as the harbour was used to test and develop sections of the Mulberry Harbour, the floating pontoons used by the allied forces during D-Day. By all accounts the tides and coastal conditions were similar to those at Arromanches in Normandy so these floating road/pontoon sections were tested here, then constructed in various secret places around the UK before being towed across the channel to be assembled on the D-Day beaches, right under the noses of the enemy. The Mulberry harbour pontoons were without any doubt a contributing factor to the success of the D-Day landings which resulted in bringing an end to World War Two.

The last of the three villages had a more somber story to tell. The Wigtown Martyrs of 1685 were a group of people, men, women and young girls put to death following a dispute between the church and the Monarchy. It clearly didn't do you any good in the seventeen century to decry God as the head of the church when clearly the King would have you believe that he was, you would be likely to get a good flogging and then be tide to a palisadoes and fixed in the sand within the flood mark, there to stand until the flood overflowed you and drowned you, to death !!! Not a pleasant way to go and I was sure I'd read somewhere about this method being used as a punishment for other misdemeanours....🤔

I found a campsite for the night, pitched up and wandered over to the local pub to find some WiFi so I could do a bit of admin and charge up my gear. I got chatting to a lovely young Irish guy over a pint, a builder working away from home who was a Freemason back home in Northern Ireland. Andy was also a motorcycle racer so we had loads to chat about which kept me in the bar longer than I intended. I was planning on cooking tonight as I had plenty of rations but the smell of the food kept wafting from the kitchen every time the door opened so I ordered some spare ribs with a portion of wedges, they were fantastic. I hadn't noticed Andy and his workmates leave the pub while I was stripping the meat from my ribs so when I'd finished, I asked for my bill. I was blown away when the young lady behind the bar said it was sorted, Andy had paid my tab before he left... What a lovely guy, another example of the amazing support I've been offered by complete strangers and more proof that this Masonic fraternity is full of guys whose generosity has no bounds. Thank you Andy, we will meet again, possibly when I come over to Ireland on the bike.🤝🥰

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Cousin Janet
Cousin Janet
Sep 02, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Don’t worry about spending your pennies now you’re going to be filthy rich after you publish this book

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