RockPools..Sunsets & Endless Beaches
Solway Firth – South West Scotland
Road Trips to us are about adventure..finding hidden treasures…and experiencing a little bit of Sparkle ( After all who doesn’t like magic 🙂 )
The Solway Firth often referred to as ‘The Scottish Riveria” has all the above and much much more! The coastline is shouting to be explored whilst large parts are undiscovered and overlooked…a road less travelled.
Van trips are full of surprises, and this was possibly the biggest surprise of all as we were blown away by a weekend a way in the South West coast of Scotland, just over the border from England.
We are the first to admit that we are often pulled to the northern parts of Scotland, chasing the snow in the Cairngorms, the dizzy heights of the Munroes and the coldwater in the Lochs and Fairy Pools in Skye. However what we found in the Solway Firth was a hidden gem, a well kept secret. I don’t like to give secrets away but my mum always taught me ‘Sharing is Caring’ 🙂
Most people plan for a trip to Scotland as a week or two away to experience the stunning coastlines, Gaelic History, Cullin Skink, Wildlife…travelling in excess of 1000 miles which needs time ( and patience ) involves more budget and much more planning. Well we are here to tell you that you do not need to travel further than 2 hours from the Lake District to experience the magic of Scotland and you can do it over a weekend. A good hour on the M6 ( Northbound ) and then after 20 minutes or so when you head towards inland to Dumfries and Galloway before heading down towards the coast where you start to feel the change in the air as a result of the gulf stream, and the change in the horizon. There is something romantic about staring from one country to another ( or maybe thats just me? )
The coastline stretches 23 miles and there are many stunning places to pitch up but we headed towards Rockcliffe, Dalbeattie, taking in Sandy Hills on the way. Sandy Hills is exactly what it says on the tin..however the hills are more dunes and the Sandy Beaches were endless and with dog friendly beaches well our Monty was in Doggy Heaven. Sandy Hills has the perfect site where you can hook up ( book in advance ) and have Sea Views. A short stroll will take you to the beach. I wish we could tell you more but we were too eager to get to RockCliffe and the sea air was making me hungry. Click on https://www.sandyhillsbaycaravanpark.co.uk/ for more info.
10 Mins drive further along the coastline we arrived in Rockcliffe, a little underwhelming when you pass the welcome sign but turn the corner and you are transfixed with the most stunning bay and a little piece of rockpool heaven. The crescent shore is punctuated by craggy rocks and rock pools making it a magnet for rock pooling. Don’t forget your nets!
We went in early October ( Low Season ), a quick last minute weekend away without the kids, well if you don’t count Monty Dog. The tourist season had come to an end so we had the small bay all to ourselves, word has it that it is very busy here in high season ( not surprising ) and we lucked out with the weather so we had everything in our favour, even the sign ‘No Overnight Parking Sept – April’ we were here in October! This was what Vanlife was all about waking up to sea views, walking down to a beach for an early dip and watching the sunset with a stubby in your hand after an evening of Paddle-boarding. As there was just the two of us and there was no need to pop the roof up we made the decision to stay in the van overnight in the small parking bay, we would be discreet and of course as always ‘Leave No Trace’ and as with all Wild Camping you have to be prepared to be moved on. However if visiting in peak season and travelling in more than a group of two we recommend a pitch at Sandy Hills and a day visit to Rockcliffe where you can walk along the Shell beaches to the quaint village of Kippford where there is also a Camp Site where you can hook up.
Kippford is approx an hours walk from Rockcliffe along the coastline, walking through woods, and strolling across dog friendly shell beaches, look out for the art work on the side of the white washed houses and the Shetland Ponies exercising on the beach. Kippford is a picturesque sailing Village with 2 pubs, gift shop, cafe and a fish and chip shop! What more could you ask for.
Part of the magic for us with this trip was the quietness and stillness of the time of year we visited, an escape for the weekend. We cooked in the van and sipped a cold beer on the rocks watching the Sunset. A full tummy and the sea air made for a good nights kip! There were public toilets which were open overnight so every box was ticked..we didn’t need the electric hook up and loved the Wildness of going off grid. If you choose to go May – August then be prepared for a busier season but with the luxury of pitch camping with facilities and pubs and cafes open so the Solway Firth is most defiantly a Van Trip for all seasons perfect for couples, families and their fur babies…we would go back in a heart beat. Now over to you to have your own adventure!