From the hilltops of Southend when the weather is fine and clear you can see a ferry leave Larne in Northern Ireland and watch its passage to Stranraer on Scotland’s Galloway peninsular. Or view another as it sails past Ailsa Craig, famous for its granite from which curling stones are made, then goes behind the Isle of Arran and heads for Troon on the Ayrshire coast.
Just 12 miles away across the North Channel is Northern Ireland. This is a treacherous stretch of sea with strong tidal races which have caused many shipwrecks and loss of life over the centuries. However, these same waters carry the Gulf Stream that provides the peninsular with a temperate climate that only rarely sees snow or frost and permits those who live there to boast of its own micro-climate.
The area was made world famous by Paul McCartney and his band Wings with their haunting song “Mull of Kintyre”. The lyric aptly describes the misty weather, when within minutes low cloud envelopes the area and then disappears just as quickly as it arrived. And the rainbows are spectacular! The coastline along the western and southern edge of the Mull of Kintyre has steep, rocky cliffs where once there were several farms and hamlets but, today is moorland, only inhabited by wildlife and sheep.
Southend village is sheltered from the westerly winds by the Mull. The rest of the coast has breathtakingly beautiful white sandy beaches. Rarely will you have to share these beaches with anyone other than oyster catchers and seals who swim alongside as you walk on the beach or laze on the rocks by Keil Cemetery at low tide. And if you are really lucky on a warm summer’s evening you could experience the spellbinding delight of watching a pod of porpoises at play as the sun goes down behind the Mull.
As told by Avril Stone
More information on visiting the area can be found here.