From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present
Portpatrick
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County
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Coastal
Dumfries and Galloway
54°50′42.14″N, 5°7′27.44″ W
NW9942754508
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14th Century
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Portpatrick is a small village located on the west coast of the Rhins, in Dumfries and Galloway.

The village is thought to be contemporary to Dunskey Castle close by to the south. It was founded on fishing, operating from the sandy, crescent-shaped harbour that remains the focal point of the village today.

Attempts were made to make the village safer from the strong North Channel gales. In 1770 John Smeaton, the leading civil engineer of his day, was appointed to make a basic harbour which he did by constructing breakwaters. Strong westerly winds and waves eventually broke through this construction, and in 1821 John Rennie was appointed to create a new harbour defined by two new piers. Money and weather problems meant that these piers were never finished.

The calm inner basin, now home to the port's lifeboat, was constructed between 1861 and 1863, too late to prevent the government switching the mail service to boats that plied between Stranraer and Larne. The harbour retains a fleet of fishing craft, a Navtex and a lifeboat station.

Portpatrick railway station, completed in 1861, was the original terminus of the Portpatrick Railway. In its heyday, it received twelve-coach trains excursions from Glasgow. It ran its last service, to Stranraer, on 6 February 1950.

Portpatrick has an annual Life Boat Week, featuring parades, activities, and a firework display. The Portpatrick Hotel, built in 1905 and extended in 1907, sits on the cliffs above this point.

By the inner harbour is the starting point of the Southern Upland Way, a long-distance walking route to Cockburns path on the east coast.

The village was used as one of the locations for the 1952 film Hunted, starring Dirk Bogarde and directed by Charles Crichton. It also featured in the BBC drama Two Thousand Acres of Skye as a stand in for Portree.