You can’t park that there mate...

Day 70 – Isle of Whithorn to Balcarry Bay – 29th July – 26.3nm

Another day, another crossing - this time it’s Wigtown Bay.

We've made the decision to go around rather than across the Irish Sea. There’s no time to think further on this call, it’s just time to get on with the job in hand - after all we've got an extra few miles to paddle now.

Today’s forecast is for a bit of sunshine, a few showers and plenty of stiff wind from the N-NW. The crossing is 9 nm and the map hints at high ground funnelling the wind down the bay. I get the feeling it’s going to rattle down here.

So, the plan is to head N, directly up into the bay, taking some shelter from the low cliffs. A few miles N will shorten the crossing distance, lessen the fetch and change the effective wind angle – so goes the theory anyway.

Once again it is an early start, on the water before 07:00. As we leave, the campsite reception still has a few hours of slumber ahead. Team Manager can’t be bothered to return later for the shower key deposit and so donates it to the Community Hall in Whithorn – assuming they dare to venture out there to reclaim it.

Out of Whithorn and point the bow N, it is breezy but the sun is out and blue skies always lift the day.  At Cruggleton Point a couple of girls are sat on a wall, taking in the early morning sunshine as they dangle their legs over the cliffs. I get a cheery wave and a shouted Hello.

Just short of the 5 nm point I reach Sliddery Point and decide things are FAB Virgil, I hang a reggie and point out into the bay now. The wind strengthens and the fetch increases as I move further out, but the mood is lightened by the sunshine and I'm happily making 5 kts. There’s a bit of rebound as I close on the headland, but I'm soon through the chop and slide into the calm of Brighouse Bay, taking a minute for a quick chat with a fisherman on the way.

The map shows a string of intriguing names here: Ringdoo Point, Meggerland, Three Brethren, Slack Heaugh, Sugarloaf and Fauldbog Bay - Manxman’s Rock hints at a pride-denting day out for someone with three legs.

The sun is just starting to lay a blanket of warmth across the sand and families are staking their beachbound claims for the day. We've to waste a few more hours here as we wait for the tide to go our way.

The sunshine brings the hordes and the small car park becomes increasingly fraught as people are singularly determined to reach the beach come what may. I take a break from the car based chaos and head up the hill to try to get a phone signal. The rest of the day involves a transit of the Kirkcudbright Range, I’d like to have an idea what the bomb-whangers have planned for the afternoon. But once again, Vodafone fails to live up to the mild expectation of a phone signal.

Eventually the beach starts to clear, closely followed by the cramped car-park. We take the cue and I wheel the Taran out over the rippled sand, in a quest for some water. We had the odd shower as we waited, but once again the sun is out now.

I paddle out of the bay and head E. A quick call is made to the Coastguard to ask if they know about the range activity. They don’t, but they make a call on my behalf and soon I get the good news that the range is not active for the day. It seems I won’t have to worry about the boys tossing Depleted Uranium over my head and out into the Solway.

As is the irony of these places, the range is a relatively unspoilt area and it is a pleasant paddle along this stretch. The wind drops away and I gaze across the oily calm of the Solway Firth to Cumbria in the distance. A call is made to Mission Control on the idea of making the crossing to the Lake District tonight; it looks so tempting in the still conditions. I am aching to go across, but it will be a late finish. I will probably get across before Team Manager and I don’t have a map for the area yet – somewhere along the way Cumbria got mislaid.

No, it's going to make a pleasant day too long and possibly fraught. So reluctantly I continue a little further and turn the corner at Balcarry Point. The sheltered bay is obviously a relaxed place water-wise, and I wade suckingly across the collected mud from the Solway to finish the day. It’s a pretty spot to end a pleasing paddling day.

We can’t find a campsite or accommodation. Eventually we plump for a lay-by with an impressive view out to the Cumbrian Hills. It will do.

Unfortunately a wagon driver decides it’s his place. He goes through an impressive and prolonged performance to encourage us to move on. We ignore him, even through the very public urination performance. It’s uncomfortable now, we don’t quite understand what his problem is. When we still won’t leave he comes over to tell us we should move on or he will awake us early in the morning.

It’s late, I've had a long day, in fact I've had a long few weeks. Fook off.

Another strange contrast from paddle world to real world.

There’s nowt as queer as folk...