The Devil's Thrashing Floor

As long ago as 1689 (Symson: Description of Galloway), Kirkcudbright bay was officially recognised as a safe haven for the largest ships of the times.
Even Philip II of Spain recognised the opportunities the bay provided, planning to land his fleet here upon the recomendation of Lord Maxwell...Maxwell's preparations for the landing being suppressed prior to the Armada's arrival off the South coast of England.
Amongst the great and famous who have arrived at and departed from the bay are William Wallace, fleeing to France after the battle of Falkirk, King Edward I who landed his invasion fleet here and John Paul-Jones, who would establish the US Navy during a bloody naval career.
In the wake of such infamy, I launched at the sheltered bay at Gull Craig; a brief inspection of the sea state outside the bay confirming Symson's views and pointing to a more relaxed day of exploration...
Heading first to St Mary's Isle and Inch I then headed due south before turning in towards the Frenchman's Rock as a cold and gusty wind picked up.
From here I explored the low craggy shore line arriving at Manor point shortly after the turn of the tide.
Conditions from here were very different, with approximately 1m of swell, a spring tide and increasing wind. Passing the Sugarloaf, waves and spray crashed over the rocks and having reached the sancturay of Ross Roads, the decision was already made; I was heading back rather than risking the intended trip out through The Sound and around Little Ross...
With the tide now running against the wind, the bay was covered in whitecaps and the waves steepened, breaking in load whooshes as I surfed north. The conditions were by no means desperate but alone, with little daylight left and in the cold December water, this was no time to make a mistake.
After drawing level with Bar point I cut in to the shelter of the lee shore where a passing shower provided a spectacular double rainbow.
The 4km back to Gull Craig passed quickly as I raced the failing light and ebbing tide across the Devil's Thrashing Floor.

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