Harbours and Quays from Solway Firth to Dalbeattie


Postcard for Kippford and AreaStarting our journey at the Solway Firth at Caulkerbush, also known as Southwick, here you will find 4 miles of sand. A timber jetty was at the entrance to Southwick burn and it was here that the sailing vessels off loaded there cargoes of lime and coal for the inland farms.


This beach was never used by coasting vessels as the Southwick burn kept changing course most years. This caused a quicksand effect, which still effects the beach today.Portling, Dumfries and Galloway


This was a smuggling beach, as it is only a small inlet from the sea and it is surrounded by high cliffs.

Port O'Warren, Colvend

Port O Warren

Also a smuggling beach from where you get a clear view of the Isle Of Man.  Ships out of this area carried horses bound for Glasgow. There was a man-made track down to the beach before a new concrete road was built in 1971 by Peter Reid.


A smuggling beach. Also this area was where millstone grit stones were quarried from 1700s-1800s. They then went on rafts to Palnackie Harbour for shipment to Glasgow mills.


River Urr, White Horse Bay

Sailing From KippfordOn the west side of the Urr used by Almorness Estate for importing lime, coal and exporting horses to Glasgow. Gibbs Hole, a pool in the river which flows tight to the rocks along the bank. It was used by sailing vessels waiting for the tide to sail on up the river or to wait on fairwinds, if on an outward bound journey.  In 1860, 70 Brig sailing vessels bringing timber from Canada used this area to moor but if they could not get to Palnackie harbour then they would open up doors, which could open on their bow-side and let the timbers rollout and rafts where then made.

Port O Beagle

This is on the east bank, just south of Rockcliffe, this is a shingle beach where brigs could unload cargoes of grain for Barcloy Mill. The last boat to unload here was in the late 1800's.


This area was first known as "Red Bay", until 1964. Originaly a very quiet place until some houses were built, then it became a holiday resort for people out of Glasgow. There was never a jetty or quay here, as the beach was to rocky to land any vessels.

Rockcliffe, heading down to beach        Rockcliffe

Port O Donnel

Here could be found a stone jetty used by small sailing vessels, taking tourists out to Hestan Island.

Rough Firth

This was originaly a place to build sloops before the business moved to Kippford. Mr Aitken was the ship builder.



Kippford was a place that many ships were built in the Cummings yard. He employed 8 shipwrights and 4 apprentices. The apprentices were housed in the cottages along the front at Kippford. On a launch day the children from Barnbarroch School were given the day off. Barnbarroch School pupilsAll the ship building in Kippfrod was done out in the open air. In the early days the ships were built side-on to the river beside Whim Cottage, later they were built on the slipway. A steam box used to steam the planks of wood for fitting to the bows and stern of a vessel, was located next to the road beside the village water pump. Next to this pump could also be found a saw-pit where planks were cut, there was also a tar kettle. The workers in the yards religiously upheld the daily visit to the hotel as soon as the sun got over the yard arm. They each had an allowance of whiskey twice a day There was also a stone jetty which was used to load and unload cargoes for the Quarry at Kippford. This is now used by the Yacht Club at Kippford. Quarry at KippfordThe vessels were loaded with chippings for Lancashire and as late as World War 2 the Caledonian Granite Company was shipping granite out of this area. Prior to 1887 the Dalbeattie road ended beside the Mariner Hotel. A large rock blocked the road to Kippford. People had to walk along the beach or up over the hill if the tide was in. 1881 was when this rock was blasted to make a through road. Mr Cumming sail loft was used as a dance hall, usually after a ships launch. Mrs Agnes Houston of Brownrigg, Dumfries, was a lady who liked to organise events for the crews of schooners lying at the port. She also organised sculling and rowing races for sailors in 1885 and presented prizes of tobacco, knives and money. Regatta Day KippfordThis led to the Kippford Regatta we have today in Kippford, held every year. After Mr Cumming death the yard was taken over by Mr Collins from Birkenhead, who ran it for several years till the outbreak of the war in 1914. No ships were built in Mr Collins time but in his time of owning the yard, he was to install a motor engine into local schooner called the North Barrule, during the summer of 1909.



Shennan Creek

Due to the many sharp bends in the river, horses had to be used to pull the sailing vessels up the Urr. A Clydesdale horse was used. Towing from either side of the river, a raft was used at Palnackie to ferry the horse across the river. Only the east bank was used for towing. One ship which was built at Shennan Creek was the Queen Of Naples in 1803. Owned by a Mr Meldrum.

  Palnackie Harbour

Palnackie Harbour also known as Barlochan Port and Garden Creek

Palnackie had a customs house which was opened in 1830, this building was next to the horse and cart weighbridge which adjoined the Glen Isle Inn. The Inn had been built from rejected bricks brought in by the ships from Lacashire, for ballast.Customs House and Commercial Inn In 1844 there were temporary wooden quays, where 6 vessels could moor. These sloops could be 20-40 foot long. Mooring posts were installed, an access road was built and harbour dues charged. In 1847 the harbour was faced with timber for 300ft with 20ft of water at spring tides. By 1849 the creek was opened out and converted to a dock. The dock was excavated on the land owned by Barlochan Estate and Orchardton Estate. The harbour was kept silt free by releasing a sluice gate at the end of Brig Barwhinnie Loch. When the tide was half way out the water would rush down from the loch and out into the harbour. The dock is about 300ft on its north west side and 220ft on the south east side by 40ft wide. Palnackie harbour could accomodate vessels up to 350 tons. Palnackie was an export port for millstones from Glenlstocken as early as 1650, the stones being cut beside Castle Point beach and rafted to Palnackie for shipment to Glasgow. Palnackie was also a ship building site and the last ship to be built at Palnackie was a boat called the Maksicar by Mr Clifford Henderson. The ship called the Sarah and Isabella was a 2-masted topsail schooner which was owned and run by Captain Black traded coal from Planackie. Many different cargoes were traded in and out of Palnackie such as barley, treacle, timber, granite, cattle feed and oats.

Kirkclaugh Quay

This was the original harbour for Dalbeattie before rock was removed from the river bed at Steadstone and Munches to allow deeper draught vessels accss to Dalbeattie. This quay is about 11/2 miles from Palnackie and is a stone built quay on the west bank of the river. This was where the first toull (tol) was taken until it was decommissioned, then it was taken at Palnackie.Winding River Urr

Steadstone Quay

This quay was erected to serve Steadstone Quarry and Greenhill Quarry. Built out of wood being piled into the river it was located on the sharp left hand bend before Oldlands.Steadstone quay had a gantry railway from the quarry to the river. It is also thought that it had a weighbridge. A ford used to cross this part of the river in the 1800's. In this area was also a paper mill. The owner lived at Barnbarroch House.

Oldlands Quay

A substantial stone and wooden piling quay on the east bank of the river. This quay was used by a large amount of motor ships taking granite to Lancashire, London and many other ports. From this quay you could get trip to the Isle of Man in the early 1900's.

Munches Jetty

A timber jetty on the west bank of the river used for offloading coal for Munchess House.

Dalbeattie Harbour also known as Dub O'Hass

Dalbeattie HarbourDalbeattie burn joins the river Urr a mile below Dalbeattie's town. In 1790's 40ft vessels were able to moor at Dalbeattie. 1848 was when the timber jetty was built on the north side of the river. On the south side of the river was where the ships were being built, in the years of 1800-1840. A port house and a public house could be found on the south side of the river. On the north side was Mr Biggar's fertiliser factory, along with a 150ft wooden quay stretching 150ft long. Maxwell of Munches had built the quays on the east and west side of the banks of the river Urr for use by his farm tenants only. Down at this harbour there was also a brick and tile works, owned by Provost Shaw, but rented the land off Colliston Estate. The harbour had a full time harbour master who supervised the allocation of berths and collecting the dues. It is well documented that 16 vessels could moor at dalbeattie at the one time. The largest vessel to moor at Dalbeattie was the SS Ribble of Whitehaven loaded with 150 tons of setts from Mr Newalls quarry at Craignair. This vessel was loaded in a record breaking time of 3 hours. Mr Newall owned a 2 masted schooner, built at Barnstaple in 1882, and carries 120 tons, it was called the Mary Agnes. At the helm was Captain Hume, of Kippford then Captain Walker.Dalbeattie Harbour Many imported goods came into Dalbeattie such as rags, from Liverpool, guano, grocery goods, to stock the cellars of the shops on Dalbeattie's High Street and lime. Exported goods were granite along with kerbstones and setts, paper, hides, bricks and tiles, bobbins, grain and fertiliser.

 Dalbeattie Harbour










 Mr Biggar's Mill