Mull of Galloway Trail

  • Ferry leaving Cairnryan for Belfast
  • Swans beside Loch Ryan
  • Loch Ryan and the North Rhins from the Loch Ryan Coastal Path
  • Walker heading north for Drummore
Distance (km) Ascent (metres) Number of days
59 480 3
Start: Mull of Galloway Finish: Glenapp Church
Linked to other Scotland’s Great Trail(s):
Ayrshire Coastal Path Southern Upland Way

Route type and direction

Linear.  The recommended direction is to head north from the Mull so that the prevailing wind is at your back. Also, the Mull is the high point of the trail, so that on trend you go downhill to reach Glenapp via Stranraer.

Note that the Stranraer/Glenapp section was created first, under the brand Loch Ryan Coastal Path; later the Mull/Stranraer section was added as the Mull of Galloway Trail. That Trail now officially incorporates the Loch Ryan Coastal Path, but the waymarkers for the northern section are still distinct from those of the Mull of Galloway Trail. The Rotary Club of Stranraer created both parts of the trail, and maintains them on a voluntary basis.

It forms part of the 135-mile  Firth o Clyde Rotary Trail that extends from the Mull of Galloway to Milngavie, created by the Rotary Clubs of Stranraer, Ayr, Gourock and Allander.

Overview

Starting from the Mull of Galloway, Scotland’s most southerly point, the route stays fairly close to the coast of Luce Bay, passing through the villages of Drummore, Ardwell and Sandhead. Afterwards it continues north, inland towards Stranraer. The terrain is generally flat, broken by occasional steep gradients particularly to the south of Drummore. From Stranraer to Glenapp (waymarked as the Loch Ryan Coastal Path) it follows the coast of Loch Ryan until a point north of Cairnryan where it climbs steeply inland to reach high, open ground. Finally it descends to end at Glenapp Church.

From Glenapp, users can continue on the Ayrshire Coastal Path to Skelmorlie, and from there follow the Clyde Coastal Path to Milngavie where the West Highland Way begins. It ends at Fort William, which leads to the Cape Wrath Trail to the most north-westerly point in Scotland. The combined route from the Mull to Cape Wrath constitutes the Scottish Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail.

Highlights

  • the Mull with its Stevenson lighthouse and superb views to the Isle of Man, Mountains of Mourne and Galloway Hills
  • local history along the route interpreted by 24 information boards
  • varied scenery – farmland and coastal, with views north of Stranraer to Luce Bay, the Isle of Man and Ireland
  • diversity of wildlife including deer, red squirrels and seals, with many species of birds and wildflowers
  • links with other trails as part of the International Appalachian Trail

Be aware

  • some road walking north of Drummore, and from Clayshant to High Barnultoch
  • no public transport from Drummore to the Mull
  • two wet areas on the Loch Ryan Coastal Path

The challenge

The route is well waymarked, so map-and-compass skills should not be needed. We recommend walkers to spend three days to reach Glenapp from the Mull, with overnights at Sandhead and Stranraer. However experienced, walkers may prefer to reach Stranraer in a single day, then continue via Glenapp on the Ayrshire Coastal Path to reach Ballantrae.

While there are many sections which are fairly flat and easy to walk the route from the Mull to Maryport has several steep gradients and north of Cairnryan there is a steep climb to the high ground above Loch Ryan.

Accommodation

The official website carries listings here. In outline, there are B&Bs between Drummore and the Mull and hotels in Drummore, Sandhead and Stranraer, with other B&Bs in Stranraer and Cairnryan. Caravan parks along the route can be found at Maryport, Drummore, New England Bay, Ardwell, Sandhead, Stranraer, Inermessan and Cairnryan.

Wild camping is legally allowed in Scotland if practised responsibly under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Support services

In addition to support services listed below, some B&Bs will transport walkers to the Mull or other parts of the trail and may also collect them. Some operators that support the Ayrshire Coastal Path may also be relevant.

Public transport

Buses run from Stranraer to Drummore and from Stranraer to Glenapp. There is a train station in Stranraer. The route passes near the ferry terminals serving northern Ireland: P&O Ferries plies between Cairnryan and Larne, north of Belfast, and Stena Line runs between Cairnryan and Belfast.

For details, visit Traveline Scotland, or, for the entire UK, Traveline. For travel from anywhere to anywhere, try Rome2Rio.

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