Wigtownshire is a wee shire forming the western part of Galloway, between the Solway Firth and the North Channel, seemingly quiet, but traversed by the main route for freight and passengers between Great Britain and Ulster, the ports for which are on Wigtownshire’s western coast.
The eastern border of Wigtownshire is with Kirkcudbrightshire, marked by the River Cree, the county’s longest river. To the north is Ayrshire. At the west of Wigtownshire are the Rhinns of Galloway, a double peninsula of two great flanges.
Behind the Rhinns lies Loch Ryan and at its head is Stranraer, the major cargo port for Belfast, and up the coast Cairnryan, the ferryport to Larne. The opposite coast is Luce Bay, 10 miles of sheltered sandy beach.
The Moors, as they are called, make up the bulk of the shire. There is a broad-based triangular peninsula of the south coast between Luce Bay and Wigtown Bay, called the Machers. At the southern end is Whithorn, once site of a major Anglo-Saxon abbey.
Wigtown, the county town, is at the top of Wigtown Bay. It has gathered a large collection of second-hand bookshops, approaching the concept of Hay on Wye in Brecknockshire.
County Town: Wigtown
Main Towns: Cairnryan, Glenluce, Portpatrick, Port William, Newton Stewart, Stranraer, Whithirn, Wigtown.
Main Rivers: Cree, Luce, Bladnoch.
Highlights: Castle Kennedy Gardens; Stones of Torhouse; Marchars peninsula; Mull of Galloway.
Highest Point: Craigairie Fell, 1,056 feet.
Area: 487 sq miles
County Flower: Yellow Iris