Horse Isles Bay Walk - Palnackie

This walk brings you to Horse Isles Bay. You can also extend to White Port beach which is known as Palnackie's swimming beach. Many beaches on the Solway Firth are secluded and sandy, but this local beach has the advantage of having a reasonable slope meaning that when the tide is in the water gets deep enough to swim quite near to the shore. It is also possible to cycle the whole way on mountain bikes.

Technical sheet No. 32251397

A Dumfries and Galloway walk posted on 04/04/23 by Walk NI. Last update : 02/05/23
Calculated time Calculated time: 0h50 ?
Distance Distance : 2.45 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 57 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 76 m
Highest point Highest point : 79 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 5 m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Location Location : Dumfries and Galloway
Starting point Starting point : N 54.863359° / W 3.831248°
Ending point Ending point : N 54.852039° / W 3.811709°
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Start : Almorness House (DG5 4QL). Grid ref. NX 825 536

(D) From the house, walk along the private road in front of you for around 130 m. Take time to enjoy the views and the mature trees enroute. Don't forget to also look behind you where you will see a fine view of Screel and Orchardton bay. (B)

(1) Take the gate to your right (South-West). Remember to leave it as you found it. The route follows the rough track through pleasant woodland.

To your left you can catch glimpses of Rough Firth with Rough Island in the foreground and Castle Point behind it. You are now walking through Gibb's Hole wood (C) for around 810 m.

(2) A stunning knarled oak tree marks the point where a shortcut diverts from the main track. You can take either route as they join again shortly, but if walking it would be recommended to take the path South-East ahead of you.

(3) After 840 m or so, when the path rejoins the main track head to your left (East). The trees start to open out into grassland with many wild flowers. Shortly you will leave the trees and find yourself in more open land at Horse Isles Bay. From here, retrace your steps to the start. (A)

If the tide is in, this is a lovely sandy beach, but when the tide is out, the water will retreat a long way beyond where the mud starts. From Horse Isles bay you can look across Rough Firth to see Kippford and Rockcliffe. From further along the beach you can also get good views of Glen Isle.

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 28 m - Almorness
1 : km 0.13 - alt. 38 m - Gate - Gibbs's Hole tree
2 : km 0.93 - alt. 44 m - Oak tree
3 : km 1.77 - alt. 33 m - Grassland
A : km 2.45 - alt. 5 m - Horse Isles Bay

Useful Information

Start : Almorness House (DG5 4QL). Grid ref. NX 825 536

Driving to start :
The start of the walk is 3 miles from Kirkennan Estate Holiday Cottages. Take the road from Palnackie past the primary school and continue on past the turn to Orchardton Tower until you get to a sign saying Almorness House and 'no vehicles beyond this point'. If you are cycling you can continue along the track. (A)

Parking : There is a car park with room for about 5 vehicles at the start.

Terrain: It is also possible to cycle the whole route on mountain bikes in which case it will be quicker. An all terrain pushchair or wheelchair could get to Horse Isles Bay though it would be challenging. Decent footwear is required.
The walk can be done whatever the state of the tide but swimming is better if the tide is in. The tide is quite fast so take care if in the water whilst the tide is going out. Heston Island is the nearest place to look for tide times.

Dog policy : The walk is suitable for dogs though they should be kept under close control or leads if livestock is present.

Find more walks and information about accommodation at Kirkennan Estate here.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

(A) Almorness House : It is suggested that the name Almorness comes from the Norse words almr (elm tree) and nes (headland). So this walk takes us along the headland of the elm trees.

(B) Screel is 344m high - not a great height, but it is prominent enough to give great views in all directions. In particular the view over the coast is stunning on a clear day with amazing views of Rough Firth and Auchencairn Bay.

(C) Gibb's Hole: Gibb's Hole actually refers to a deeper pool within the river Urr. Sailing vessels would wait here for the tide to be high enough for them to sail up the river or to wait for fair winds if going in the opposite direction. In the 1890s, if the tide was not favourable to get to Palnackie, boats bringing timber from Canada would sometimes off load from doors on their bow-side and roll out the timber. This would then be rafted up to float to Palnackie.

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.