glenluce To Whithorn

Source South West

Route length: 24 miles

A church or sacred site

Destination hub

Chapel Finian

The remains of a small chapel, probably built as a staging point for pilgrims. The site is now in the care of Historic Scotland.


St Ninian’s Priory Church, Whithorn

Glenluce Abbey

Old Luce Parish Church, Glenluce

Mochrum Parish Church

By Road

Retrace your steps to Glenluce. Turn left on to the A75, and then right on the A747. Keep on this road, passing Chapel Finian. Turn left on the A746 to arrive in Whithorn.

By Cycle

From the abbey go south to Glenluce. Cross under the A77 on the foot/cycle path and follow minor roads to Auchenmalg where you join the A747 which takes you past Chapel Finian. 2 miles further on turn left for Mochrum. Join the B7021 into Whithorn.

By Foot

There is a footpath along the coast between Isle of Whithorn and St Ninian's cave.

By Public Transport

From Glenluce change buses in Newton Stewart to get to Wigtown. Alternatively, there is a service by way of Port William and Whithorn to Isle of Whithorn.

Around Whithorn

It is a short way to both Isle of Whithorn and St Ninian's chapel (the chapel involves a short walk), and to St Ninian's Cave (the latter involves a moderately strenuous walk of 3/4 mile each way).

Public transport information can be found on the Traveline website.

Whithorn itself misleads with its sleepy market town air, till approaching the priory with its associated heritage centres you begin to experience the extent and depth of its history. Even here though there is more underground than is visible as successive religious communities, British, Irish, Northumbrians and Scots constructed a cluster of shrines and pilgrim sanctuaries. From the humble beginnings of a whitewashed Candida Casa dedicated to St Martin of Gaul, Ninian’s missionary community grew in sacred stature far beyond its original humble situation. The prestige of Scotland’s Christian birthplace was cultivated by later Kings and Bishops.
But Whithorn is also a gateway, the focal point of a sacred radius that includes the dramatic Cave or Refuge of Ninian, and the moving arrival point and chapel at Isle of Whithorn. The whole quiet peninsula is redolent of the original humility, remoteness and spiritual intimations which brought Ninian here in the beginning. Underlying all is the distinctive wheel cross carved and illustrated throughout the site. Combining sun and sacrifice, creation and salvation, the wheel cross is an enduring symbol of the missionary Christianity which fashioned a new faith in ancient patterns.
Views from the Machars include the Isle of Man and Ireland with all their linking seaways. On the west side the open waters of Luce Bay, looking across to the Mull of Galloway. Here by Glasserton and Port William you connect with the other major route into Whithorn.

White shining house,
Candida Casa of Martin,
Ninian’s home of wonder,
You are our witness.
Pilgrim God,
Be destination and departure
Our homecoming harbour
And our slipway.
Take us to the seashore,
Be a rock fast refuge
And grant safe passage
On our ocean voyage,
Now and for evermore.

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