Isle o Whithorn

Isle o Whithorn (Port Rosnait in Scots Gaelic) is ane o the maist soothren veelages an seaports in Scotland, lyin on the coast nor'east o Burrow Heid, aboot 3 mile fae Whithorn in the historical coonty o Wigtounshire in Dumfries an Gallowa, Scotland. Whithorn is an umwhile ryal burgh that the Isle o Whithorn is frequent wrangously mellt or confuised wi. It is refert tae local as "The Isle" - niver as "the Isle o Withorn".

Isle of Whithorn
Isle of Whithorn is located in Dumfries and Galloway
Isle of Whithorn
Isle of Whithorn
Location within Dumfries an Gallowa
Population300 (2001 Census)
OS grid referenceNX479273
Cooncil area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnitit Kinrick
Postcode destrictDG8
Diallin code01988
EU PairlamentScotland
UK Pairlament
Scots Pairlament
Leet o places
54°41′49″N 4°21′36″W / 54.697°N 4.360°W / 54.697; -4.360Coordinates: 54°41′49″N 4°21′36″W / 54.697°N 4.360°W / 54.697; -4.360

The veelage is the location o the lang-ruint 13t century Saunt Ringan's Chaipel, umwhile a chaipel linked tae Whithorn Priory an a stappin-aff pynt for pilgrimers laundin on Isle Heid an makkin thair wey tae Whithorn. Awtho no langer a true island, John Ainslie's maps as late as 1782 an 1821 shaw the Isle as an island. The main street wis oreeginal a causey, wi the herbour locatit on whit wis than the true isle.

The Isle haes a lang history o bidin in, for exemple a survey o the grund atween the Isle veelage an Saunt Ringan's Chaipel kythed clearance cairns an cultivation furrs, as weel as the remeens o a rectangular biggin occupeein the rig o the law hill juist til the wast o the chaipel, wi possible staps leadin dounhill taewart the east.[1]

Community an amenities

Isle o Whithorn Community Haw

A Community Cooncil represents the veelage an a Kirk o Scotland kirk, umwhile a Free Kirk, sits on the auld boatyaird, a site stendin intil the herbour an threitent at by-ordinar heich tides. Thare is a boulin club, a basic fitbaw pairk, an twa playgrunds for the young. The veelage haw is weel uised: in August 2008, the community teuk ower management control o this faceelity an it is noo completely replenisht an hame tae Scotland's maist soothren cinema, 'Machar Movies'. Follaein a substantious awaird fae the Big Lottery Fund, a new tearoom, a post office, an shap sellin gifts an fuidstuffs, 'Saint Ninian's', wis built alangside the haw, an this ane appent in October 2014.

The veelage has ane public hoose, the Steam Packet Inn. A seicont public hoose, the Queen's Airms, was closed some years syne, an noo hooses an airt gailerie and crafts shap. On the herbour an aw thare is a fish shap and general store cried Isle Sea Foods; up the stair is a steamie, a toilet, an shour faceelitys. The auld veelage schuil is noo a preevat hoose, leukin ower the Stinkin Port, the bay on the ither side o the Isle promontory. A granite war memorial is at the north end o the veelage juist aff Main street, on a mund leuking ower the boulin green, wi twal First Warld War names on it an five Seicont Warld War names. The regiments an ships is gien for the First Warld War anely.[2]

Fishin is widely available on the lochs, on the local rivers Blaidnoch an Cree, an on the sea itsel bi boat or fae the shore. There is a hantle o trails an quate roads for walkin, horse-riding, or bicyclin. Signpostit bi the Whithorn Pilgrimage Trust, the Pilgrimer's Wey (Pilgrim's Way) follaes a route soothwart fae the Soothren Upland Wey throu the Machars, passin throu New Luice and the early Christian haly sites o Glenluice Aibey, the White Loch, Whithorn, the Isle o Withorn, an Saunt Ringan's Cove. The main pairt o the route fae Glenluice tae Whithorn is 25 mile lang.


Isle o Whithorn Herbour

Pliny the Elder dee'd in 79 AD (CE) an in his Naitural History he descrives Breetain, Ireland, an the smawer islands aff the coast, ane bein Vectis an this ane haes been identified wi the Isle o Whithorn.[3] The name Lucopibia as uised bi Ptolemy haes been linkit wi Whithorn an aw.[4]

This wis a haunt for smugglers an a principal herbour for lea'some tred an transport; here a body catcht the Countess of Galloway, the steam packet boat that wad take a body tae Liverpuil an mebbe a passage on an emigrant ship til the New Warld or Australie.[5]

Isle Castle

Isle Castle, Isle o Whithorn

The Isle Castle is ane o the veelage's auldest biggins. The biggin is comparative smaw-like an is nearly square in plan, awtho the principle o an 'L'-shapit arrangement is reteent. In the early 19t century it wis the residence o the Superintendent o the Coastguard, Sir John Reid. The 'Caiptain's Gairden' is an extension intil the herbour, noo wi several hooses on it, bit oreeginal a gairden associatit wi the castle. Cried yet the Caiptain's Gairden it is wi simulatit man o war gun ports.

Abuin the door o thir quarters is a stane wi the ineetials o Patrick Houseon o Drummaston an his guidwife Margaret Gordon, thegither wi the date o biggin, 1674. This state haes been muived fae the auld entry door o the main biggin. The angle turrets on the seicont fluir is cairit on three plain corbels an dinna shaw at aw in the inside o the biggin.[6] A Gothic-style airchle wis ance attacht til the Drumelan Burn side o the castle.[7]

The Bysbie corn mill wis locatit on the tither side o the Drummulin Burn fae the castle an a lairge mill pownd supplied the water pouer; the mll remeens lie ahint the Queen's Airms Hottle. A chalybeate 'spa wall' wis locatit ablo the castle as shawn bi the 1850s 6-inch-til-ae-mile OS map.

Saunt Ringan's Chaipel

St Ringan's Chaipel

Saunt Ringan's (St Ninian's) Chaipel wis mendit an pairtly rebuilt in 1898 bi the Marquess o Bute; its main featurs wis haint. The praisent ruins is rectangular, meisurin inby 31 fit x 16.5 fit. This biggn wis likely upset tae replace a 12t tae early 13t century chaipel, whase steid wis fund durin howkins an conseestit o a nave, 17.5 fit x 16.5 fit, wi a square chancel. The chaipel stuid within a contemporar hainin waw, part of that is staundin yet. An ootby hainin micht hae ance existit, best seen in swaip sunlicht, definin a rochsome oval aurie 100 fit x 110 ft. This ootby hainin micht be o the Celtic speal. Thare is no records o the chaipel's uiss as a buirial grund.[8]

St Ringan is chief myndit at Whithorn. Houiver, mony places in Scotland is associatit wi his name, sic as St Ringan's Isle in the River Garnock near Kilwinnin. He convertit the Soothren Pechts an tharefore jurneyed oothrou mony auries in soothren Scotland.

Isle o Whithorn Tour

Isle o Whithorn Tour

The Isle's maist fameeliar laundmerk is the square, white tour that haes been a navigational aid for hunders o years.[9]

Fae here there is views o the Kirkcoubrie coast, the hale o the northren range o the English Lake Destrict muntains, an til the sooth the roondit, muntainous form o the Isle o Man.

Durin Warld War II it wis the site o a trackin station for anti-aircraft gunnery practice. The arrangement wis that an aircraft flew up an doun in front o the guns, that wad try tae bring it doun. Firstly, radio-controlt 'Queen Bee' aircraft wis uised, an the flet concrete steid by the white tour on the carin, no the location o the Solway Harvester memorial stane, wis laid down for ane o the control bothys.[10] The memorial stane til the Solway Harvester is in the form of an anchor set in a granite block.

Isle Heid

Isle Heid, Isle o Whithorn

The mull is nearly cut intae twa bi Chaipel Port east an wast. The artifeecial ditch o the Auld Fort is clear veesible yet on the approach tae Isle Heid.

Thare is a multivallate mull fort on Isle Head, conseestin o three rampairts an twa ditches, wi a likely fowert rampairt noo reduce't til a slicht scaur. On the seawart side o the mull is aff-an-on streetches o grummel linkin an uisin naitural ootcrops o rock; in the sootheast corner is inby an ootby faces, shawin the fittins o a waw up tae 3 yaird wide. On the levelt summit aurie is slicht hints o grummel wawin an artifeecial scaurin on the sooth an east sides; an in the nor'east corner is the possible remeens o a bothy circle.[11]

A smaw block o rig is clear veesible on Isle Head, lyin atween the paith leadin til the mull an the rampairts and ditch o the Airn Age fort. The furrs is line't fae nor'east tae soothwast across the mull.

A witness cairn wis upset in 1997 tae commemorate the arrival o the Christian missionar Saunt Ringan tae thir shores, an pilgrimers is hertent tae place stanes wi personal messages ontil a rock cairn. Thir cairns is sitit in the remeens o a biggin uised tae hoose the Isle o Whithorn lifeboat.

The lifeboat biggin haed a ruif until weel efter the Seicont Warld War, awtho the station wis closed in 1919, whan a motor lifeboat wis place't on station at Kirkcoubrie. The Lifeboat Station wis upsetten in 1869. Durin the 50 year that the lifeboat station wis operatin thare wis three lifeboats:

  • Charlie Peake (1869-1886) - 7 lenches an 10 lifes sauft
  • Henry an John Leighton (1886-1901) - 12 lenches and 22 lifes sauft
  • George an Margaret (1901-1919) - sax lenches and sax lifes sauft

The Solway Harvester Seat is a granite-hewen moniment an is ane o twa local treebutes tae the seiven-strang local crew o the fishin boat Solway Harvester that sank in a storm aff the Isle o Man in Januar 2000.

The herbour

Isle o Whithorn Herbour, heich tide
Isle o Whithorn Herbour, law tide

The herbour remeens the main focal pynt o the veelage. The Isle's ain fleet is engaged in licht trawlin an lapster fishin. A nummer o leisur boats is keepit here an the Isle is increasin bein uised as a stappin aff location for pleisur traffeck sailin the wast coast, an as a lenchin site for trailer-sted boats sic as smaw anglin boats an divin RIB's.[10]

A pier wis first biggit in the 16t century, bit a mair substantious structur wis biggit in 1790 tae avance commerce, sic as the tred wi Whitehaven an ither English ports.[12] In 1969 the pier was badly daimiged bi a storm an wis anely rebuilt efter a prolanged campaign bi the local people. The Perk is a skellie that rins oot fae the wast side o the mooth o Isle Bay; it can be dangerous tae boats comin intil the Isle an for mony years the end wis merkit wi an airn powl.

In the 19t century the Isle haed strang tredin links with Ireland an the Isle o Man an aw, and ships wis being built as weel as sailin fae here. The Countess of Galloway, a steam packet, ance raiglar sailt fae here tae Liverpuil. By the end o the 20t century tredin boats haed gien wey awmaist enteerly tae yachts an ither pleisur boats.

The Wigtown Bay Sailing Club walcomes aw veesitin yachtsment whether thay arrive bi sea or bi laund wi trailert boats. The clubhoose is situatit on the herbor an has aw the uisual faceelitys. The herbour dries three oor aither side o heich watter, an thare is a dedicatit veesitors' berth at the ooter end o the quay. Thare is twa slipweys an aw for lenchin trailer boats or dinghies, ane o thaim is at the inner end o the quay an is sheltert in aw kynds o wather. The tither, that gies aiccess intil the bay, can be uised at virtual ony state o the tide. The club is acteeve ootthrou the simmer wi dinghy or cruiser races organised for maist weekends an some races mid-week.[10]

An unuisual featur o the herbor wis a fish trap; a waw or dyke rinnin across pair o the upper pairt o the inlat that fankelt fish as the tied gaed oot.[1] this wis merkit yet as late as the 1850s on the OS map.

The Wicker Man

Edward Woodward, starn o the pictur The Wicker Man

Various scenes fae the 1973 pictur The Wicker Man wis filmt in an aroond the Isle o Whithorn. The heid-hicht o the pictur wis filmt at St Ringan's Cove an on the clift-taps at Burrow Heid. The co-awner o the Isle o Whithorn Castle, Elizabeth McAdam Laughland, an several ither local people featurt in various scenes.


  1. a b ""Isle of Whithorn", Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland". Archived frae the original on 29 Februar 2012. Retrieved 8 Apryle 2020.
  2. "Isle of Whithorn War Memorial", Roll of Honour
  3. Moffat, Alistair (2014). Faded Map. The Lost Kingdoms of Scotland. Edinburgh : Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84158-958-9. P. 28.
  4. Moffat, Alistair (2014). Faded Map. The Lost Kingdoms of Scotland. Edinburgh : Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84158-958-9. P. 54.
  5. "Marshall. Michael. "About the Isle of Whithorn", Isle of Whithorn". Archived frae the original on 8 Apryle 2020. Retrieved 8 Apryle 2020.
  6. MacGibbon, T. and Ross, D. (1887–92). The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the 12th to the 18th centuries, 5v, Edinburgh. p. 354–356.
  7. Gothic Porch photograph
  8. ""St. Ninian's Chapel", Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland". Archived frae the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 8 Apryle 2020.
  9. "The Isle of Whithorn Harbour Light", Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society
  10. a b c "Isle of Whithorn". Archived frae the original on 8 Apryle 2020. Retrieved 8 Apryle 2020.
  11. ""Isle Head", Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland". Archived frae the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 8 Apryle 2020.
  12. Groome, Francis (1903). Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland. London : Caxton Publishing. p. 888.