Travel to the Isle of Whithorn

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Isle of Whithorn
The Isle of Whithorn

The Isle of Whithorn

Getting to the Isle of Whithorn

By land or by sea, the Isle is easy to get to. A couple of centuries ago, the Isle of Whithorn was indeed an island, connected to the mainland by a causeway. Over time, houses and other buildings were built along it, and the attractive harbour area that we have today was formed.

The village is about a half-hour's drive from the A75 Euroroute that links Dumfries and the former ferry terminal of Stranraer. Lying at the tip of the Machars peninsula, the Isle is one of Scotland's most southerly communities - further south than Newcastle on Tyne in England!

Getting to the Isle of Whithorn by Air....

The nearest airport is Glasgow (Prestwick), with frequent scheduled services operated by Ryanair from London (Stansted), Dublin and a variety of European locations. Glasgow (Abbotsinch) & Edinburgh are the other principal Scottish airports, with a full range of domestic and international services, as well as car rental facilities.

Map: Approximate journey times by roadby Road....

We are just under 1 hrs driving time from Cairnryan harbour and high speed ferry services to Northern Ireland (Belfast & Larne). Glasgow (City Centre) is approximately 2 ½ hours; Manchester and Liverpool - 4 hrs and the north-east of England 3 hrs away. Local bus services connect with principal long distance coach routes at Newton Stewart, 22 miles from the Isle. The local roads of the Machars peninsula are both quiet and free of major gradients, so Cycle Expeditions to the Isle are easily planned.

The map on the right shows approximate journey times by road from the Isle of Whithorn.

By Sea....

Fastest Ferry crossings between Cairnryan and Larne & Belfast (2hr sailing time approx) Operators: P&O Irish Sea and Stena Line.

The Isle of Whithorn is a delightful destination for sailing enthusiasts. The Harbour, provides access to vessels of varying size although we advise that you consult local tide information as to the best times of the day to make port. For more information, visit:

Planning to Sail to the Isle of Whithorn? Important Information for you to have

The village of Isle of Whithorn is located on the southernmost tip of the Machars peninsula in South West Scotland at Lat. 54E 41.09'N; Long. 04E 21.07' W.

This is one of mainland Scotland's most attractive locations. The sheltered anchorage and quay provides the focal point of the village. The harbour retains its importance as one of the busiest in the region with regular landings from Irish Sea shell fishing boats supplying the local processing factories.

The Isle's own fleet is engaged in light trawling and lobster fishing. The harbour is also home to a growing fleet of leisure craft and is increasingly being used as a stopping off location for pleasure traffic plying the west coast, and as a launching site for trailer based craft such as small angling boats and diving RIB's.

As part of a community regeneration project, a new slipway has been built to provide launch facilities at all states of the tide. Wigtown Bay Sailing Club is one of the most active groups in the area, and has a growing cadet membership. There are regular Club and Open competitions; and RYA approved sail training courses based on the Harbour feature in their annual programmes. The Isle attracts considerable numbers of visitors each year. There are two guesthouses and two residential hotels as well as private and commercial holiday homes in the village.

Harbour Information

Tidal. Ebbs dry. Fin keelers can berth, but best for bilge keels.

Marine Chart Reference Number - 2094 (Luce Bay, Wigtown Bay & Isle of Man)

Ordnance Survey Sheet 83

Grid Reference

NX 47768 36249 (Harbour jetty);

NX 48043 36024 (White Tower - marked 'Fort')

A sector light is installed 20m high on this tower:

Position: 54.41.5N; 04.21.2W

Flash white/Red 3 secs; visibility - White 6 miles, Red - 4 miles;

Sectors of visibility: White 310T to 005T; Red: 005T to 040T)



Very strong south west run on ebb tide.  To view a day-by-day predication of the tides at The Isle of Whithorn, click on the following link:


Remain offshore until you line up leading marks (2 orange diamonds, red lights after dark).


Strong tide tends to carry towards unmarked reef at west side of bay entrance.


Safe anchorages at either side of bay apart from SE gale. Do not anchor on leading marks as there are large fishing boats using harbour.


The new slipway provides launch facilities at all states of tide. The old slipway is useable 2 hours either side High Water.


Coastguard Station manned by 10 men in the village with the Kirkcudbright lifeboat at 30 minutes away and the Portwilliam Inshore Lifeboat is 20 minutes away.


Overnight Visiting Pleasure Boats: £4.58 (inc.VAT) ALL SIZE BOATS and berths for up to 12 yachts alongside the quay on visitors' berths. More can sometimes be accommodated on commercial berths


  • Fresh water and Electricity supply available at berths.
  • Toilets are provided approximately 20 yards from the berths.
  • There are showers approximately 100 yards away at the Wigtown Bay Sailing Club or The Steam Packet Inn.
  • A telephone kiosk at 500 yards or at The Steam Packet Inn.
  • For a basic range of groceries and newspapers there is the local Post Office at 700 yards.
  • Petrol and Diesel can be supplied by arrangement with the Harbourmaster.
  • A bus service operates from the bus stop at 500yds with services to; Whithorn, Wigtown and Newton Stewart.

Harbour Master

01988 500468

Harbour Radio

Occasional Listening Watch Ch. 8

Local Coastguard information.


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Website hosted by web design. Incidental photography provided courtesy of Mike Marshall, Breathing Space Productions, Isle of Whithorn