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Trail Four – Wigtown to Stranraer | Solway Military Trail

Trail Four – Wigtown to Stranraer

This trail takes you on a journey through ‘Bonnie Galloway’, and includes Top Secret D-Day preparations and the place where a fleet of German U-boats tied up in a military harbour!

This trail isn’t too long and currently has no military museum on it, however this leaves plenty of time to explore the dramatic Galloway coast. It starts in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town with plenty of book shops to browse, and the trail takes you to the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse as well as the beautiful village of Portpatrick – none of these are related to military history, but are not to be missed.

  1. RAF Wigtown
  2. Garlieston
  3. RAF Castle Kennedy
  4. RAF West Freugh
  5. RAF Wig Bay
  6. Cairnryan Military Port

 

 
 

RAF Wigtown

RAF Wigtown was built less than a mile south of Wigtown, and east of Bladnoch. It was opened in 1941 as 1 Air Observers School, specifically to acclimatise observers who had trained abroad to the weather and terrain in the Britain.

Garlieston

The scenic harbour village of Garlieston is a quiet and unspoilt corner of our region. However in 1943 it became the site of Top Secret preparations for D-Day, the Allied invasion of occupied Europe which took place on the 6th of June 1944.

RAF Castle Kennedy

RAF Castle Kennedy lies 3 miles east of Stranraer and dates back to World War 1 when the Royal Flying Corps used the flat ground of Cults Farm for limited flying.

RAF West Freugh

Established as a Royal Naval Air Station during World War 1 as an airship base, RAF West Freugh was re-opened in 1937 by the RAF becoming 4 Bombing and Gunnery School, similar to Dumfries and flying the same range of training aircraft.

RAF Wig Bay

Unique amongst south-west Scotland’s RAF airfields, Wig Bay had no runways. It was a base throughout the war for flying boats, particularly Short Sunderlands and Consolidated Catalinas.

Cairnryan Military Port

During World War 2, the country needed a ‘spare’ deep water port on the west coast in case the Clyde in Glasgow or the Mersey in Liverpool became unusable due to enemy action. Loch Ryan was ideal, and Number 2 Military Port was built on its northern shore between 1941 and 1943.

 
 

More Trails

Trail One - Silloth to Carlisle

Our first trail starts at the wide open expanses of the Solway coast at Silloth, and takes you through north Cumbria and the many airfields surrounding the city of Carlisle.

Trail Two - Eastriggs to Moffat

Our shortest trail, but through some of our most scenic countryside. Start the day with a visit to The Devil’s Porridge Museum to learn about the huge munitions factories here, then pass the former RAF Annan on the way to Moffat.

Trail Three – Dumfries to Kirkcudbright

This trail takes you from the aviation museum at Dumfries with its Battle of Britain Spitfire along the scenic Solway coast road of Dumfries and Galloway. It is a trail with lots of history, but also stunning scenery and is full of towns, villages and beaches which beg to be explored on foot.

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