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Wigtownshire is a wee shire forming the western part of Galloway, between the Solway Firth and the North Channel. Its eastern border is with Kirkcudbrightshire, marked by the River Cree, the county’s longest river. To the north is Ayrshire. At the west of Wigtownshire are the Rhinns of Galloway, a double peninsula of two great flanges. Behind the Rhinns is Loch Ryan, and at its head Stranraer, the major port for Belfast, and up the coast Cairnryan, the ferryport to Larne. The opposite coast is Luce Bay, 10 miles of sheltered sandy beach. The Moors, as they are called, make up the bulk of the shire. There is a broad-based triangular peninsula of the south coast between Luce Bay and Wigtown Bay, called the Machers. At the southern end is Whithorn, once site of a major Anglo-Saxon abbey. Wigtown, the county town, is at the top of Wigtown Bay. It has gathered a large collection of second-hand bookshops, approaching the concept of Hay on Wye in Brecknockshire.

County Facts

County Town:  Wigtown

Main Towns: Cairnryan, Glenluce, Portpatrick, Port William, Newton Stewart, Stranraer, Whithirn, Wigtown.

Main Rivers: Cree, Luce, Bladnoch.

Highlights: Castle Kennedy Gardens; Stones of Torhouse; Marchars peninsula; Mull of Galloway.

Highest Point: Craigairie Fell, 1056 feet.

Area: 487 sq miles

County Flower: Yellow Iris