Wigtown Bay


The area described on this page is covered by the following Admiralty charts:

1826 Irish Sea Eastern Part 1:200,000
2094 Kirkcudbright to Mull of Galloway and Isle of Man 1:100,000

The area described on this page is covered by the following Imray Charts:

C62 Irish Sea (covers the entire costs described in the Cruising Notes) Chart C62: Irish Sea (Imray Charts: Home...

A large south facing bay it provides a number of harbour and anchorages of which only the harbours of Isle Of Whithorn and Garlieston provide shelter to boats able to take the ground during onshore winds.

Isle of Whithorn

The name is a misnomer. Can be approached during darkness. Two orange diamonds show the leading line which guides you between Screen Rocks on the port hand as you approach whilst the submerged Rid Rock lies to the starboard hand. The leading lines are lit (flashing red lights).

Boats able to take the ground can enter the harbour, where an alongside visitors berth is provided. Otherwise anchor in the approaches to the harbour in 3 - 6m, good holding - but show an anchor light. The anchorage/harbour approach is fringed with pot buoys (but they are laid close to the shore). Fishing boats may pass very close as they approach or leave the harbour.

Southern face of harbours breakwater is for the use of fishing boats. Harbour dries to end of the breakwater. Use anchor light in anchorage. Harbour dues charged (harbour master has little shop at root at slipway within the pier).

If anchored outside the harbour, there is a small beach on the west side of the peninsula on which to land (easiest above tide), or there is a slip immediately south (outside the harbour) which almost reaches down to the spring tide low water mark.

Pub adjacent to visitors berth (local hostelries named "The Steam Packet" and "Queen's Hotel"). One or two small shops at which to buy provisions. WIlliam Brothers trading establishment in wooden building. John's petrol. Post Office.

Interest: Shell of a chapel dating about 1300 ruins, which stands on the site an earlier narrower chapel (information board also shows other nearby points of interest). There is a pile of stones within a walled area inviting passers by to 'witness' or 'make a pledge' - created in 1997 in acknowledgement of St Ninians introduction of Christianity here in 397AD. memorial seat to the crew lost on board the local Trawler "Solway Harvester".

Porterrock Bay

A bay providing shelter in SW/W winds in about 7m. No facilities ashore (nearest to be found at Isle Of Whithorn). May be wind/tide rode but out of stronger tidal streams found offshore. Pot buoys often lie within the bay.

Portyerrock/Sliddery Point

Reported to be an anchorage between Portyerrock Bay and Sliddery Point, usable in W'lys, with depths of about 12m.


A drying harbour, with visitors berth alongside outermost part of a dog leg shaped quay. The inner part of which local boats tie up alongside, has deep channels so tying up by visitor's unfamiliar with the width of the channel not recommended. The drying foreshore is flat and suitable for drying out on - so long as one takes care to avoid drying out on the sewer outfalls.

Anchorage offshore - about 0.5 mile from the harbour.

Pub and provisions available. Location at which landing craft built during WWII.


Dis-used and not recommended - except perhaps if you are a dinghy sailor.

In July 1999, having travelled to Wigtown by bus - having set off from Kircudbright - we walked in the direction of the harbour. We found the harbour - deserted. A dock set within a long quay faced with upright wooden posts. No boats and nothing ashore except a parking area and relatively new benches for sitting on. A channel and training wall visible. Spoke to an old chap out walking his dog. Apparently a chap had kept his boat in the dock until a year or so ago - when he died. Another chap had last year had his catamaran there - but it was too large for the dock, but he had dug some room for it in nearby. The main problem he said was that you went out on one tide, and couldn't return till the next. A limiting factor when there were better harbours at Garlieston, Whithorn and Kircudbright etc.

We about turned and started on the walk back to the village. 30 book related business in the village. Took shelter in a pub cum betting shop.

Isles Of Fleet

The Isles of Fleet consist of Murray Isles, Ardwall island and Barlocco island. the sandy beaches in the vicinity of the islands are popular for days out, and dinghies may be sailing in the vicinity.

Murrays Isles

The tide flows through the anchorage as it floods the Fleet estuary but the holding is good. The two islets forming the Murray Isles are small and uninhabited. The northern most island has a derelict house. At certain times of the year, the islands will be covered with nesting birds.

Anchorage can be found between Murray Isles and Ardwall Island. Note that there are drying rocks on the N side of Ardwall Island. Dropped anchor in around 2.1/2.0 m on the NW side of Ardwall island. Boat may be tide rode as the sand sto the north of the anchorage covert with the flood tide.

Useable in light to moderate NW to E winds.

Knockbrex Bay

Anchorage between Ardwall and Barlocco island in about 4.6m.

Knockbrex Harbour




Just to east of the isles is a small drying harbour which is not mentioned detailed in any pilot books. Perhaps private property, associated with the country house situated behind the bay. Could be approached if you have a) checked the approach at low tide, b) ensure there will be enough water along the quay, and  enquired whether it is permissible to do so. There is a substantial house and gardens adjacent to the harbour.

From Knockbrex Bay between Barlocco and Ardwall |Isle 3 stone beacons can be seen. Investigated using the dinghy and found a small quay. Perhaps large enough to take bilge keeler of say 26ft alongside the stone quay on a very large tide, but rocks limit turning room, plus stones on the bottom make drying out look like something to be avoided.