Isle of Whithorn is one of those places you are unlikely to stumble across by accident. Situated as it is on the southern tip of the main part of Dumfries and Galloway you really have to set out to go there by intent. As it happens we had booked a chalet there for a few days, never having been to that area before, and having limited choice because we were booking at short notice. But what a treat it turned out to be!
Isle of Whithorn itself is a tiny village consisting of a small harbour surrounded by Georgian buildings and a handful of other places. It’s too small to have a proper shop, (there’s a community-run post office and village store/cafe), but it does have a pub. Situated on the harbourside there is a feeling of coming to the ends of the earth as you arrive at the Steampacket Inn. Beyond it lies a couple of buildings and then nothing but rocks and sea. It truly is a stunning location. But the unassuming exterior hides a confident pub that serves seriously good food and a wide range of ales, including some from the village’s own micro-brewery, the Five Kingdoms Brewery. Don’t be deceived by the bar which is small and cramped. If you book dinner there is a large, elegant and spacious set of rooms to the back where you can dine in comfort. And what food…
We enjoyed lunch initially on a day we were simply ambling around the beautiful village and coast. Sitting outside on the harbourside a bowl of fresh mussels and seafood chowder hit the spot and encouraged us to book dinner for another night and it did not disappoint. Locally hand dived scallops followed by seabass and a generous cheeseboard of Scottish cheeses all combined to truly satisfy and delight. For me the kitchen didn’t put a foot wrong.
The Inn has rooms too and I can’t think of a more delightful place to spend a few days just slowing down. It may be ‘out of the way’ but it’s worth following in the footsteps of the followers of St Ninian (whose chapel stands on the headland nearby) and making the pilgrimage.
“Steampacket Inn Website”:https://thesteampacketinn.co.uk