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The Taking of The Scares

By Andy Farrington

In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Scares Islands as: ‘Scar - Big and Little, 2 rocks, in entrance to Luce Bay, Wigtownshire’.

The Scares or the Scare Rocks are rocky islets in Luce Bay off the coast of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland in NX23 Link although the pronunciation of the rocks varies according to which side of Luce Bay you were born on, I’ve heard Scares, Scars and Scarries. Made up of the Little and Big Scares, the largest unsurprisingly is Big Scare which is 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) south west of Port William and a similar distance east of the Mull of Galloway.

There is a small outlying rock to the west of Big Scare

NX2533 : Outlying Rock by Andy Farrington

and three companion islets called the Little Scares are about 1 km to the north east.

NX2634 : All of the Little Scares by Andy Farrington

The schooner Annie McLester was wrecked on Big Scare at an unknown date in the 19th century. On 27 January 1849 the 400 ton barque Archibald of Memel, was wrecked on the Little Scares. In September 1860 a small round-sterned four-oared boat, was picked up near to Big Scare. The parent vessel had presumably been lost in the vicinity although no record of this is known.

There is an MOD firing range in the area with brightly coloured floating targets deployed. The southern limit is marked by a yellow buoy 1.75 nmi SSE of The Scares and the buoys DZ1 to DZ6 mark the boundary of the range.

The islands are part of Luce Bay and Sands SAC and are leased to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. They have been described as an "inaccessible bird reserve" and provide nesting sites for more than 2,000 pairs of breeding Northern Gannets.

NX2533 : Protecting the young by Andy Farrington

Hundreds of Guillemots and smaller numbers of Shags and Kittiwakes as well as Grey Seals can also be seen on and around both groups of rocks. Depending on the light, the rocks can appear to take the form of a grey or white structure courtesy of sea bird guano.

NX2533 : Big Scare by Andy Farrington

The only way to get to the Scares is by boat and I am indebted to Murray and the Port William Lifeboat PIRSAC

NX4354 : PIRSAC in action by Andy Farrington

who allowed me to join them for a training exercise on Luce Bay which took in a visit to the Scares and a landing on Big Scare to inspect the bird population particularly the Gannet and Guillemot breeding sites.

The route to the Scares started from Port William Harbour

NX3343 : Port William Lifeboat by Andy Farrington

NX3343 : Port William Harbour by Andy Farrington

then out to the Little Scares at NX2634 across NX2534 to the Big Scare at NX2533 returning through NX3142 to Port William.

Little Scares

NX2634 : Little Scares by Andy Farrington in NX2634 Link

Between the Rocks

NX2534 : Between the Rocks by Andy Farrington in NX2534 Link

Big Scare

NX2533 : Big Scare by Andy Farrington in NX2533 Link

Danger Zone

NX3142 : Danger Zone by Andy Farrington in NX3142 Link

I am reminded that I have also joined the elite who have completed 100% of the firsts of a hectad with pictures taken on 11th July 2012 in NX23 Link although two firsts out of 100 isn't much to talk about, the journey there and back certainly is, and walking on Big Scare is a pretty unique experience among the folk of Galloway.

Cruising around Luce Bay LinkExternal link
Archaeological Notes and Evidence of Losses from CANMORE LinkExternal link
WIKIPEDIA article on the Scares LinkExternal link

Sat, 14 Jul 2012 at 11:12
Chosen Photo

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