The village of Port Logan lies on the west coast of the Rhins of Galloway, a peninsular of land that forms the southernmost tip of Scotland. There is no fast route to get here. The nearest motorway is nearly a hundred miles away, much of the road between is single lane. It is two and a half hours to Glasgow, three and a half hours to Edinburgh. The closest sizeable supermarket is at Stranraer, fourteen miles of winding country road to the north. It is remote. It is beautiful.
For those willing to take the trip, there are a surprising number of things to do and the chances of being alone whilst you do them are high. The village, not much more than a strip of houses, shadows the curve of Port Logan bay, a long arc of white sand beach, ending at the south with a harbour wall and stone lighthouse and at the north with rocks and the intriguing 18th century fish pond.
Formed from a natural blow hole in the cliff, it was made deeper, wider and rounder by the local Laird in 1788, so that it could be stocked with fish caught at sea, with the tide refreshing the water through a grille in the rock keeping them alive until required for his table. The pond is still in use today, hidden away behind the castle-like walls of a small house perched above which operates as a visitors’ centre. It is no longer a food store but an aquarium where you can feed the inhabitants by hand. Sadly photography inside the pond is not permitted.
More fish are to found a short distance in land at Port Logan Botanic Garden, an outpost of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. The west coast of Scotland is a beneficiary of the Gulf Stream and the mild climate it brings has made Port Logan the perfect location for rare exotic plants, including an extensive collection of ferns, eucalyptus trees and other natives of New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania.
Although visitor numbers to the gardens have increased in recent years, in part due to appearances on a gardening TV programme here in the UK, when I stopped by on an early September day I shared the 11 acre site with only a handful of others who quickly melted in to the undergrowth leaving me to explore alone in my own private jungle, with just the birds and my thoughts for company. Port Logan is a highly recommended tonic for those seeking peace and relaxation somewhere other than a sun-lounger.
Stay tuned for more Scottish secrets to come.