Introduction to the region
Stranraer and the Mull of Galloway region are about as far-flung to the south-west of Scotland as John O’Groats is to the north-east. However, John O’Groats tends to pop up more often on the tourist trail beloved of foreign visitors to Scotland.
They fly into Edinburgh, missing out on the beautiful Borders scenery and then, hire a car. Or take the train from London or maybe just join a bus tour. Then it’s up the east coast or, more often, up the A9 via Perth and Aviemore into Inverness, a wee jaunt up to the rugged north, across to Ullapool, followed by a boat trip over to the Isle of Skye. Of course, nowadays, it’s possible to cross to Skye using the new road bridge from Mallaig into Armadale (not to be confused with Armadale, West Lothian!).
From Skye, the tourists travel back to Mallaig, on to Fort William, then down for a quick peek at Glasgow before hitting the M74 and travelling back to London or the M8 back to Edinburgh.
Many beautiful corners of Scotland are missed out by travellers on this “typical tourist route”, including Dumfries and Galloway in the south-west, often referred to as “the Highlands in miniature”.
Of course, many other tourists, mainly from the north of England, discovered the peace and tranquillity of Dumfriesshire, the Stewartry and Wigtownshire many years ago. Much closer to their homes in Manchester, Blackpool, Carlisle, York or Newcastle than the Highlands, Dumfries and Galloway has drawn these tourists back year after year.
Not content with simply visiting the region, the number of people deciding to give up on the “rat race” down south and move to the peace and quiet of a county that counts hardly more than 148,000 inhabitants has grown steadily. The county is so large that its population density amounts to only 60 people per square mile compared with a Scottish average of 168.
This has, of course, resulted in a jump in house prices, the same as has happened all over Scotland in the past ten to 15 years. But it’s still possible to buy a mansion house, a farm with acres and acres of land or even a small castle for less than a semi in the Home Counties.
And what added bonuses does a house-buyer find in Dumfries and Galloway? Beautiful sandy beaches (along with some rather more stony ones!), miles and miles of rolling countryside, coastal walks, numerous gardens that are open to the public, RSPB sites, fishing, golfing, mountain biking, camping and glamping sites, historical sites galore and so much more.
Scotland’s answer to Land’s End, the Mull of Galloway, lies just south of the port of Cairnryan, with easy access to Northern Ireland and to Stranraer. It is a paradise for bird lovers, is home to a lighthouse and an RSPB site and on a clear day, it’s possible to see five kingdoms, according to local legend – Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and….Heaven, God’s own kingdom!
The waters around not only the Mull of Galloway, but the whole Solway coastline in general, are full of porpoise that are a delight for adults and children alike to spot and occasionally, even bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and Minke whales, while anglers will be keen to try their luck with the sea bass, mullet, mackerel and flounders that abound in these waters.
In our next blog, we’ll tell you more about buying property in Stranraer and the far south-west corner of Scotland. You can trust Cailean for Stranraer mortgages and general mortgage advice for Stranraer and Dumfries and Galloway.