This is another lovely walk near to Kirkennan Estate Holiday Cottages which visits a secluded sandy beach, then an easy amble across fields to a rocky headland with great views, before looping back through woodland. As so often in Dumfries and Galloway, it is possible to have these beautiful places all to yourself. This time I did the walk I didn't meet another soul...
This is a fairly gentle walk with no steep sections. The path however is quite rough and good footwear is required. Allow at least an hour, with extra time for beachcombing etc.
It is easy to miss the turn to the car park for the start of this walk. From Kirkennan Estate Holiday Cottages take the A711 going towards Kirkcudbright. Four miles from Kirkennan - shortly after passing Orchardton Castle - look out for a sign to the left marked Red Haven and Torr Point. Take this dirt farm road for a mile until you find the car park by Old Torr Cottage. This road can be fairly rough in places.
There is a noticeboard at the car park showing the route and indicating birds you might spot on your way: Redshank; Reed Bunting; Grey Heron; Shelduck; Oyster Catcher and Curlew.
From the carpark take the gate shown in the photo above and follow the track up a slight incline. After a short way the path opens out into a wide field where the path becomes indistinct. The field was empty when I did the walk but there are often cows in it so bear this in mind if you are walking with dogs and be prepared to put them on a lead.
The route to Torr Point runs along the left hand side of this field along the line of whins (gorse). But first I took a detour to Reid Ha'en beach (Red Haven on some maps). The entrance to the beach is at the right hand side of the wide gap in the trees where you can see the sea. There is no particular path - just walk across the grass avoiding cow pats. On the right hand side of the fence there is a gate with access down to the sand.
Reid Ha'en is a lovely beach for a picnic named after the reddish colour of the sand.
To continue on to Torr Point go back through the gate into the field and head to your right to the edge of the field. Turn right again to follow the edge of the scrub. Go slightly uphill through a gap in the trees then the view opens out and you will get good views of Hestan Island ahead of you. Hestan Island was made famous as Rathan Island by S R Crockett in his book The Raiders about smuggling. Smuggling was rife throughout the area in the 18th Century and the caves on Hestan were some of the many places where contraband was hidden.
On your way look out for the turn to the left that you will take on your return - it is easier to spot from this direction. Go past it for now and continue to the end of the field.
At the end of the field look for a gate that leads into a track between fences with woodland on each side.
On your left are some old crab apple trees. On a previous visit to this place I have met seed collectors filling large bags with crab apples to send to commercial tree growers. Presumably there are many offspring of these crab apple trees spread throughout the UK.
When you break out of the trees you will see Almorness Peninsula ahead of you across the shallow water (or mud, depending on the tide) of Orchardton Bay. You have reached Torr Point.
To your left look out for the remains of a chimney stack with a stone structure beneath it.
This is where tar used to be melted so that fishermen could dip their nets in it to preserve them.
At Torr Point take some time to enjoy the views and also the rock formations, rock pools and lichen on the stones.
To return initially you need to retrace your steps as far as the turn marked Orchardton Bay.
Hopefully you will have spotted it on your way out as the signpost has fallen over in the gorse and is quite hard to spot in the direction you are walking. The photo is taken from the opposite direction.
The route soon becomes fairly indistinct but if you cross the field and bear left when you meet it's edge after about 10 min walking you should come to the gate below.
Go through the gate into the woodland and follow the clear track until you come to a T-junction.
Turning right will lead you to another view point over Orchardton Bay - you will then need to retrace your steps. The left turn will take you directly back to your car.
I turned left and continued through the woodland until I got to a gate back onto the farm track I initially drove along.
Take a few minutes to enjoy the view of Screel ahead of you then go through the gate and turn left to return to your car.
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This is a rough track that requires good footwear. Allow about 1 hour walking time. Not suitable for pushchairs, mobility scooters or wheelchairs. Dogs can be let off the lead on the beach and in the wooded section but may need to be on the lead in the fields if livestock are around. This map shows the area but not the exact route. My walk started at the car park at Old Torr and continued to Torr Point before looping back to the north of Torr Hill and through Torr Wood.
About the author
My husband and I moved to Kirkennan Estate in 2013. We were attracted to the area due to its beautiful and varied landscape including the wonderful Solway Coast. We very much enjoy walking in the local area. If you are interested in exploring the area and would like comfortable and relaxing self-catering accommodation then please take a look at our three cottages. They are ideal for walkers, bird-watchers, nature lovers, dog owners and families.
The Mews self-catering holiday cottage sleeps 4 & 1 in a king and a twin/triple room. It features a wood burning stove and looks out over Kirkennan's landscaped gardens. Up to 3 dogs welcome. Find out more...
Woodsedge self-catering holiday cottage is all on one level and sleeps up to 5 in 3 bedrooms. It has an enclosed rear gardenm an open fire and welcomes up to 3 dogs. Find out more...