Hill walk routes to climb in SW Scotland - also coastal paths and National Scenic Areas with maps, pictures and other useful information based on extensive local knowledge

Walk to Hestan Island from Balcary Bay

Introduction to East Stewartry National Scenic Area - Map of walking routes in the area
Site Homepage - Otherwalks Home
- Otherwalks Page List - Hestan Home
Click on the left side of the image below to go back to the previous page
or, on the right side of it to go to the next page.
Map of a coastal walk in East Stewartry National Scenic area from Portling to Castle Point Map of a coastal walk in East Stewartry National Scenic area from Portling to Castle Point Map of a coastal walk in East Stewartry National Scenic area from Portling to Castle Point
01 This walk can only be done at low tide and when there is a reasonably big tide. I did it on 5th May 2010 and on that day low tide was to be around 10.15 am. It was the first time I had done the walk though I have long considered doing it. I was prompted to have a go after finding a route for this discussed in a handbook called "25 Walks Dumfries and Galloway" by Tom Whitty. The dire warnings contained therein had me a bit concerned even though I have had plenty of experience of walking in dodgy places and enjoy the challenge that such places offer. He said you should do it on a 9.9 metre tide, that you should take 3 pieces of ply wood to get you out of the mud in case you get stuck and that the first 50 metres from the shore were the worst. The parking place he suggested was much nearer to Auchencairn than those shown above. It all seemed pretty serious stuff.
I was at Balcary before 9am and it was quite obvious that the tide was nowhere near far enough out. However I got chatting to fishermen who work the stake nets in the bay and they gave me great advice. They said I should wait for an hour and then skirt the arc of the water's edge out to the causeway as the tide was receding. But it was doing so painfully slowly on a 6.8 metre tide in dead calm conditions. They said that you should forget about doing it if there was any kind of strong onshore wind - that a foot of water could have four feet waves in such conditions. They also said there would be an hour of slack around low tide and I could have about an hour on the island. They questioned the details in my local tide table handbook and said I should use the Liverpool handbook and add the required times given for Hestan. You can also get the times on the internet from tidetimes.org.uk
So at 9.55am I set off from their hut (beside the more northern of the two parking places shown on the above map) and had no difficulty whatsoever - no sticky mud - no wet feet. I took my time going out to give the tide a chance to recede and I was on the island by 10.35 - and back off it at 11.10 - just to be on the safe side. This meant a quick run round the island but I will go back on a bigger tide and hopefully on a sunnier day.
Go to Page 18
Go to Page 02