The beautiful village of the Isle of Whithorn is located at the southern tip of the sparsely populated Machars region of Galloway, which itself is one of the most sparsely populated areas of Europe, making it a great place to walk. The Isle of Whithorn used to be an island but a causeway was built, along with a harbour, around 1790 linking it with the mainland.
St Ninian’s Chapel sits a short distance from the harbour. Many think the chapel was used by St Ninian but it dates from around 1300, approximately 900 years after St Ninian established his mission, Candida Casa, The White House, at nearby Whithorn. However the chapel was, for many centuries, the first port of call for pilgrims wishing to give thanks for a safe passage by sea before they travelled by foot the few miles to St Ninian’s shrine at Whithorn.
An amazing walk begins at the Isle of Whithorn and culminates at Port Castle Bay. Sitting at the the far end of the stony beach is St Ninian’s Cave. Although there has never been irrefutable evidence that St Ninian used the cave as a retreat a series of excavations from the late 1800’s revealed several stone crosses and carvings dating from the 700’s. They are thought to have been the work of pilgrims and monks from Whithorn who would have used the cave for retreats.