Mull of Galloway

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Galloway, Mull of, a precipitous headland, forming the southernmost point of the Rhinns of Galloway, and so of Scotland (lat. 54o 38' N, long. 40 53' W), in Kirkmaiden parish, SW Wigtownshire. By water it is 26 miles E by N of Ireland, 22½ NNW of the Isle of Man, and 50 W by N of Cumberland; whilst by road it is 5 miles S by E of Drumore and 22½ SSE of Stranraer. Extending 1¼. mile eastward, and from 1¾ to 3 furlongs broad, it rises to 210 feet above sea-level at its eastern extremity, which is crowned by a lighthouse that, 60 feet high, was erected in 1828-30 at a cost of £8378. Its light, supplied by a new apparatus of 1880, is intermittent, visible for 30 and eclipsed for 15 seconds; and can be seen at a distance of 23 nautical miles. 'The prospect from the lighthouse,' says Mr M'Ilraith, 'is very fine. To the N are the fields of Cardryne, Cardrain, and Mull. Away to the eastward stretches the Bay of Luce, with the rocky scars looming through the sea mist; and beyond are the outlines of the Machars and Miunigaff Hills. Southward is the wild blue sea, and on the horizon, very plain in clear weather, is the Isle of Man. Ireland is discernible in the glittering west.' The Novantæ of Ptolemy, the Mull retains remains of considerable earthworks, Scandinavian probably; whilst, according to tradition, it was the last asylum of the two last of the Picts- 'short wee men they were, wi' red hair and long arms, and feet sae braid that when it rained they could turn them up owre their heads, and then they served for umbrellas.'How they did not reveal their mystery of brewing heather ale is delightfully told in Chambers's Popular Rhymes, though there the story is not localised. Half a mile of the narrow neck that joins the Mull to the mainland, at the foot of the steep cliffs, is St Medan's Cave or the Old Chapel at the Mull, of which the late Mr T. S. Muir wrote that 'the cave is very small, its length being only 11 feet, its greatest width rather over 9, and the roof so low as scarcely to admit of an upright posture under it. In the making of the chapel, which joins to in front as the nave, so to speak, of the chancel-like cell, it is curious to observe how largely the labour has been economised by using the rocks, which, rising perfectly upright and smooth, form its two side walls. The builded walls, which, with those of nature's furnishing, enclose an area of nearly 15 feet by 11½, are of great thickness, and are composed principally of clay slate, well put together, but without lime. That fronting the sea, now little more than breast high, has a narrow window at about its middle, and there is a pretty wide doorway wanting the lintel close to the rock-wall on the S. The rear wall, covering the face of the crag, rises much higher, and may perhaps be as high as ever it was; but on no part of it is there any trace of a roof.'Hard by is the Well of the Co, or Chapel Well; and here, on the first Sunday in May, the country people used to assemble, at no such remote period, to bathe in the well, leave gifts in the cave, and pass the day in gossiping and amusements.—Ord. Sur., sh. 1, 1856. See pp. 253-255 of M. Harper's Rambles in Galloway (Edinb. 1876), and pp. 139-142 of W. M -Ilraith's Wigtownshire (2d ed., Dumf., 1877).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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