meandering ~ Portpatrick

We took some time out on Thursday to go over to Portpatrick, a little harbour village known locally as the Port. It was an overcast and grey day with a cool wind coming off the Irish sea. The fields were full of baby lambs of various sizes and markings – these playful ones came to the fence when we stopped the car to look at them.

Very little was open but we had a look in the Smuggler’s Cove and the Lifeboat shop. I always try to buy at least a card from them – the lifeboats are mainly funded through donations and every little helps.

We had our picnic lunch of homemade mushroom soup and fresh rolls in the car (the only warm place) and afterwards braved a walk around the harbour and then along the back roads past the putting green and eventually coming out again on the main road.

We headed for the old parish church, abandoned long ago in 1842 and now just a ruin, and situated on the north side of St Patrick Street in the centre of the village. Strangely the church is dedicated to Saint Andrew rather than Saint Patrick and was built in 1628-29 to serve the newly created Portpatrick parish. The building is in a cruciform or Greek cross plan and may be the earliest cruciform church in Galloway.

The adjacent graveyard continued to be used for burial until the later 19th century when it was replaced by the New Cemetery on Portree Terrace. Below must be one of the earliest graves.

I am always drawn to this little forgotten church as the graveyard is full of relatives on the maternal side of DH (who was born in Stranraer – the nearby town) and whose family are of the Kerr clan and lived throughout the area. They are said to be left handed and their clan towers had circular staircases that spiralled in an anti-clockwise direction rather than the usual clockwise.

The warlike Clan Kerr trained to use their weapons with their left hands. Scottish Poet James Hogg (1770-1835) wrote, in The Raid of the Kerrs:

But the Kerrs were aye the deadliest foes
That e’er to Englishmen were known
For they were all bred left handed men
And fence [defence] against them there was none

and Walter Laidlaw wrote, in The Reprisal:
So well the Kerrs their left-hands ply
The dead and dying round them lie

And if you are wondering DH is right handed but two of the grandchildren are quite markedly left handed – maybe skipped a generation.

Many of the graves contain a whole family of people and at the top of the gravestone it gives the length and breadth of the plot.

On close inspection there are numerous spelling mistakes and whole words left out like on this one where the actual length is omitted.

I love this gravestone that resembles a doorway into a secret garden. At the moment the grass is covered in a sea of bluebells – who wouldn’t want their soul to rest here.

We continued along the North Crescent – GR postboxes are quite rare to find and this one warns of a revised collection times. Thankfully it is still in use – I always think it is so sad to see them in disuse with a piece of wood blocking off the posting slot.

And of course no visit is complete without taking a photo of my favourite little house beside the harbour lighthouse. I just love the striking colours and brightly painted wooden shutters that protect against the raging winter sea.

We have spent most of our time in the garden whilst the weather has been good but there has been a change today with some heavy showers and quite a damp feeling. There have been days when it has felt like hard labour and we are now ready for a rest. It is almost time for us to pack up and leave and we will of course miss so many of the plants about to burst forth. We have had upsets too from the new owner of the little caravan site beside us – it is becoming all too frequent now – but more about that later when I put some pictures on another day of the work we have done.

Have a lovely weekend everyone and welcome to all my new followers. xx

9 Replies to “meandering ~ Portpatrick”

  1. It’s a lovely time of year seeing all the little lambs in the fields and new life springing forth. I do enjoy looking round churchyards, Mick thinks it’s a bit morbid but I love reading the gravestones, so poignant.


  2. I have enjoyed my occasional visits to Portpatrick, so thank you for showing it.
    Have you ever gone out to the ruins of Dunskey Castle? It’s a lovely walk and when I last went (in mid-May) the fields were full of wild flowers.


  3. Some beautiful photos there, I love that round white house on the fourth one. Old graveyards are fascinating aren’t they and to have family connections to it is lovely. We always stop to visit all the relatives in the Peebles cemetery when we are on our way to visit the living ones.

    I’m sorry to hear that you are still having problems with the new caravan site owner, I thought that has gotten a bit better.


  4. Your photographs are lovely, and I have enjoyed my little tour of Portpatrick. I’m sorry to read there has been more upset regarding your neighbour. I hope you will be able to find some sort of resolution. X


  5. I love the headstone door into a magical secret garden.
    Sorry that the neighbours are causing you a headache and hope things can be resolved amicably.


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