Garlieston to Cruggleton Castle: A Coastal Walk In Dumfries & Galloway

You probably haven’t heard of Garlieston and why would you? This small coastal village in Dumfries & Galloway lies around 14.5 miles south of Newton Stewart and it’s only real claim to fame is due to its participation in the development of the Mulberry Harbour: the prefabricated harbour which was used by the Allies in the Second World War.

Today, Garlieston is a quiet town that faces out onto Wigton Bay and offers a wonderful opportunity to walk the coastline to the ruins of Cruggleton Castle. The castle was abandoned in the 17th century and now stands ruined on beautiful cliffs facing out to sea. I waited patiently for a blue, sunny day to take advantage of what I was sure would make a great Sunday walk and I was not disappointed!

Heading south from Newton Stewart, the drive is easy and parking is plentiful (and free!) in Garlieston. I decided to leave the car at the small village hall and headed south through the village.

The Village Hall Opposite the Parking Area

It doesn’t take long before you arrive at the start of the walk which is marked by an unmissable sign for a walk to Portyerrock 6 miles away. This was not my target for today: we would be covering about half of that distance.

The Sign That Marks the Start of the Walk

With the walk now properly started, my walking buddy and I immediately sprung into action: we had a seat.

It’s Important to Pace Yourself

Once we had properly rested (after walking a few hundred yards) and had thoroughly enjoyed the view we headed off. The track is very gentle with no incline and it lazily snakes through the woodland

Easy Walking

The only slight hinderance was a boggy path but the lovely weather and sea views were more than making up for the state my boots were in. Soon, the treeline breaks and reveals Cruggleton Bay. This is where the Mulberry Harbour was tested and at low tide you can safely walk out on the sand flats to the waterline: a perfect pitch for a dog to stretch it’s legs!

Definitely Popular With Dogs.

Once we had finished enjoying ourselves on the beach we headed back into the woodland and from there the path begins to gently climb and gain height. This is entirely worth it as the climb rewards one with spectacular views of the sea and a sprawling coastline that stretches endlessly into the horizon. It really is gorgeous on a sunny, clear day.

This is the View That Greeted us When we Emerged From the Woods (With Cruggleton Castle Visible on the Horizon)

Once you leave the woodland the track follows the coastline, heading straight for the ruins of the castle while offering sweeping panorama’s of the Irish Sea. The viewpoint also gives wonderful views of Dumfries & Galloway, as the coastline stretches for miles and one can easily see across Wigtown Bay to the hills above the little village of Carsluith, to the caravan site at Auchenlarie and right along to Kirkcudbright Bay.

Looking Back

Approaching the Ruined Castle

The castle itself is behind a small fence (with a handy stile provided for you to hop over). The castle sits on an elevated mound, surveying both the land and sea around it. This no doubt made for a nice defensive position in centuries past but now provides a wonderful viewpoint in all directions. Be warned though, the west side of the castle has a rather dramatic drop to the rocks below so I’d advise keeping an eye on dogs and especially small children when approaching the castle itself.

The Remains of Cruggleton Castle (Note the sheer drop to the left)

The day was so sunny and the walk had been so enjoyable I decided to push on just a little further. The track continues through fields (some of which were becoming rather boggy!) but never becomes taxing as it follows the coastline. You will also be able to see the small village of Port Yerrock in the distance if you wish to continue on and complete the full walk.

The Castle From the Other Side

At this point in the adventure I decided to head back. What had started off as a lazy Sunday stroll had become an unexpectedly gorgeous coastal adventure. The walk itself from Garlieston to Cruggleton Castle is about 3 miles, so the round trip is around 6 miles which is not a short walk if you aren’t up to it. Aside from the length, the entire walk is on paths and tracks and the gradient as you climb through the forest is really quite gentle. En route, there were a few fallen trees that we had to navigate due to recent heavy winds but, aside from the distance, the walk is easy and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a dog-friendly walk in a little-known village with views that are well worth the effort.

A Lovely Day Out


  1. Looks fantastic, and a walk I’d never heard of before!

    1. Author

      Thanks, Paula!

      It’s a lovely walk and it seems most people aren’t aware of it: well worth a visit!

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