Being very partial to otters, I wanted to see this.
This is a very striking memorial to the author of "Ring of Bright Water", Gavin Maxwell, who came from nearby Monreith Estate. The bronze sculpture of an otter is by PennyWheatley and is a beautiful piece of artwork. It looks out over Monreith's splendid beaches and the golf course. Nearby is one of Scotland's oldest churches, Kirkmaiden, where members of the Maxwell family lie.
Gavin Maxwell was known to exercise his tame otter on the beach below when he returned to these parts.That must have been a sight to see indeed.
I had never heard of Monreith before this holiday but am glad we took time and visited it! It is a tiny community with a population of approximately 60 - 70 people,having little more than a small touring caravan site, a static park,a beautiful golf course and some fantastic beaches.
The village was known for it's grain mills, driven by water power from Monreith Burn and was built on Monreith Estate land, with folks working in the mills and on the estate. Monreith House was and still is, owned by the Maxwell family who include artist and politician Sir Herbert and author and naturalist, Gavin.The grounds are open to the public, with many woodland paths and even a loch, the White Loch.
Huge swathes of sand and shingle beach stretch westwards from the village, with steps down from the main road above.To the south of the village are the beautiful beaches of Back and Front Bay, with the golf course occupying the headland separating the two. We took the road down to the golf course and stopped at a wonderful bronze statue of an otter, in memory of Gavin Maxwell who used to exercise his pet otters on the beaches here. From the statue, there are great views over Luce Bayand the Rhinns of Galloway, as well as the delightful golf course. Further down the road, you pass the clubhouse, open to the public for refreshments before the road ends behind small sand dunes by the lovely beach. This sweeps away to the left, with cliffs backing onto the sand and rocks. Rock pooling is a popular pastime here and I have read there is an old flounder pool at the far end of the bay, used to catch flat fish in earlier times.
We thought this a beautiful location, so peaceful even though we were quite likely to get clonked by flying golf balls, according to the sign in the car park!!
Port William was a planned village, built by Sir William Maxwell (the local landowner)in the 1770's,after the original was swept away. It is on the east coast of Luce Bay and looks out over the Mull of Galloway. On a clear day, the Isle of Man and ireland can be seen. We were told if it is clear enough to distinguish features on the Isle of Man, it is going to rain!
It's harbour is the only one on this coast, most of the shoreline consists of a raised beach, offering little shelter for boats. It was one of the first harbours to be built in West Galloway and offers good launching facilities. A breakwater was added in the 1980's.
The village is ideally situated for exploring western Dumfries and Galloway and also makes a good stopping off point, when touring.There are a few shops for vital necessities, the odd eating place,a bank, P.O. and The Monreith Arms Hotel. There are a couple of good, grassy picnic areas where you are able to park. We stopped off here on a wild morning and had a look at the statue and fingerpost.
If you read this sign, it tells you the interesting fact that Port William in New Zealand lies underneath! Something to contemplate.
The fingerpost also had some interesting destinations on, Iceland being one!