The Covenanter of Garrerie’s Cave near Port William & Whithorn #History #Scotland


Garrerie's Cave

Garrerie’s Cave appears in the OS name book for Mochrum parish, Wigtownshire:

‘A cave on the shore of Knock tradition says that the Laird of Garrarie used to take refuge here during a period of religious persecution in Scotland hence the name.’

Map of Garrerie’s Cave

I am very grateful to Nicholas Coombey for drawing my attention to the existence of this cave in the OS name books. Without his help, I would never have spotted it. Check out the Solway Coastwise Facebook page for more wonderful information.

Gordon of Garrarie was a forfeited fugitive in 1680 and 1681 for his part in the Presbyterian Rising of 1679. He was one of the Wigtownshire lairds who reached the Covenanters’ camp near Bothwell Brig a couple of days before the battle. He lived close to the site of the cave named after him.

Map of Garrarie

Aerial View of Garrarie


Again, thank you Nic for the information! I wonder if it is still there?

Additional Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

~ by drmarkjardine on January 13, 2018.

12 Responses to “The Covenanter of Garrerie’s Cave near Port William & Whithorn #History #Scotland”

  1. The cave is still there. You might find this photo interesting:
    William Hardie, Garrarie, March 8 1846

    • Hi David, that is truly fascinating. What a wonderful photograph and information. The Covenanter was named Gordon, rather than Hardie. Clearly William Hardie, Garrarie, inscribed his name in 1846. Which does make you think how the cave’s name was recorded a decade later. Then it is curious the cave was called Garrerie’s Cave, using the old spelling of Gordon of Garrerie. Great stuff! Mark

    • Hello David
      went in search of Garreries cave today but failed to find the carving. Can you describe the cave or give grid ref. May be just distracted by the incoming tide!

  2. […] Coombey for pointing out the existence of a record of this cave in the OS name books. Nic has previously identified Garrerie’s Cove as a Covenanter cave. You can visit Solway Coastwise for more fascinating caves, […]

  3. […] my attention to the existence of this cave in the OS name books. Nic has previously identified both Garrerie’s Cave and Begg’s Hole as caves that tradition claims were used by Covenanters as hiding […]

  4. Hi Nick

    Yes the tide can be a problem – best go on a spring tide and go round the point while it’s still dropping, but you can always clamber up the rocks (not too difficult at the far end of the sand) and walk back along the cliff top if you do get caught out.

    I’m fairly sure the cave is the one shown on the map at Red Gate, but I’ve been in touch with the chap who took the photo and this is what he replied:

    “I’m afraid I can’t give any precise directions. When I took the photo of the carved names 4 years ago I had to make 2 trips before I found it. I do remember that the cave entrance is quite narrow and that getting to it involved crossing some slippery stones.

    What could do is take him there next time I’m in Monreith (probably at Easter) or go there on my own and work out detailed instructions.”

    Let me know if you want to take him up on his offer and I’ll pass it on to him. From his description on the photo you’ll need a good torch to find the inscription once you do find the cave.

    • Thanks David

      I have been looking in the wrong caves – I will go and have another look and let you know how I get on. Thanks again

  5. How to find the cave with the James Hardie (and other) graffiti. It is quite a distance from where Garrarie’s Cave is marked on the map above.

    Low tide: Go as far as you can on the sand. When you’ve reached rocks at the end of the beach, turn left. There’s a small shingle beach, and a small stream tumbling down the heugh. The cave is on the left of the shingle. Opposite the cave are some rocks sloping at about 45 degrees. If you scramble up these you come to a path up to the top, so your explorations aren’t dependent on tides.

    High tide. From the golf course, pass in front of the club house, and after the 2nd green continue along a track (probably overgrown in summer) with a a bird’s eye view of the 4th green. Go through a gate where the wall turns, and follow the edge of the heugh until you come to an old sheepdip. Cross the stream and then where the wall turns 90 degrees, descend to the shore. The last bit requires descending the 45-degree rocks (I shuffled down on my bottom). The cave is now directly opposite. (The last bit would be the direct route from Garrarie.)

    There are inscriptions all over the cave. I can see why it might be used for shelter – it’s dry (but has a source of fresh water nearby), and is above all but the highest tides. It’s accessible, but that might be a disadvantage if one is being pursued.


    • Wow! Thanks for that John. What a great effort and piece of work. I will point to your comments in the post for anyone wishing to visit the cave. M

  6. This is how to find the cave

  7. Thanks John! I’ll try to get down for a look once the tides start to get a bit bigger again.

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