|Location||Scots Lawlands, Scotland|
|Primary inflows||Watter o App, Glen Burn|
|Primar ootflows||North Channel|
|Catchment area||197 km2 (76 sq mi)|
|Max. lenth||13.4 kilometer (8.3 mi)|
|Max. deepth||16 m (52 ft)|
|Surface elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Settlements||Stranrawer, The Cairn, Kirkcoam|
Cairn Punt licthoose viewed faed the soothwast in 2009
Dumfries an Gallowa
|Year first constructit||1847|
|Touer shape||cylindrical tour wi balcony an lantern attacht tae ae 1-storey keeper’s hoose|
|Merkins / pattern||white tour, black lantern, ochre trim|
|Hicht||15 metre (49 ft)|
|Focal hicht||14 metre (46 ft)|
|Licht soorce||mains pouer|
|Range||12 nautical mile (22 km; 14 mi)|
|Managin augent||Northern Lighthouse Board|
Loch Ryan (Gaelic: Loch Rìoghaine, pronoonced [ɫ̪ɔx r̴iː.ɛɲə]) is a Scots sea loch that acts as an important naitural harbour for shippin, providin calm watters for ferrys operatin atween Scotland an Northren Ireland. The toun o Stranrawer is the lairgest sattlement on its shores, wi ferrys tae an fae Northren Ireland operatin fae The Cairn forder north on the loch.
Location an geography[eedit | eedit soorce]
Loch Ryan is orientatit on a north-sooth axis, iths mooth leukin northwart intil the North Atlantic an the Firth o Clyde, an the toun o Stranrawer sittin on its soothren shores. The loch is boondit bi the Rhinns o Gallowa peninsula on its wastren side an the Scots laundmass in the east (comprisin o Gallowa an Sooth Ayrshire), the northren pynts o the loch is Milleur Pynt and Finnarts Pynt. The loch itsel is aboot 8 mile lang fae north tae sooth, an aboot 3 mile wide at its widest pynt. Nearby roads include the A77 road in the east an the A718 road in the wast. The Loch Ryan basin as it is seen the day formt as an ootcome o geological an glacial acteevity. The first speal o acteevity occurt durin the Paleozoic era, wi twa speals o change. Firstly, durin the Devonian speal (360 tae 416 million year syne) the laund in this aurie throu-cam a series o shearin events that conseederable altert its shape, formin a basin. Syne, durin the Permian speal (250 tae 300 million year syne) this basin fillt up wi grummels that wis makkit compact tae form saft saundstanes. At this pynt in time the aurie wad hae been positiont aroond the equator an wad form a pairt o the Pangaea supercontinent. The seicont speal o acteevity was as an ootcome o a rowth o glacial episodes durin the Quaternary speal, fae 2 million year syne up until the last glaciers retreatit 10,000 year syne.
As aw o northren Europe throu-cam a rowth o ice ages, glacier formation creatit ice flowes an ice sheets. The erosive force o the ice muived across the laund, remuivin the saft saundstane an leavin ahint the haurder rocks. Whan the ice sheet meltit wi the risin temperaturs 10,000 year syne the basin wis unkivert an wis fluidit bi the sea, formin the loch that is seen the day.
Syne the end o the last ice age the sea haes conteenaed tae change the loch by erosion an deposition. The loch haes a saundbank on its wastren shores cried 'The Scaur'. This bank, juist sooth o the veelage o Kirkcoam, is an important breedin grund for tarns.
History an uissage[eedit | eedit soorce]
Historical the loch haes seen human acteevity on its shores syne auncient times. Sheltert fae the roch seas o the Sheuch an the North Atlantic the loch haes been an important sauf herbour for boats. William Smith, Breetain's foremaist classicist o the 19t century, identifies Ptolemy's toponym Abrauannus (Auncient Greek: Ἀβραουάννος) wi Loch Ryan, parteecular wi its ootlat til the sea. Ptolemy descrieved Abrauannus or Abravannus as a river o Britannia Barbara, that tuimt itsel a bit northwart o the Promontorium Novantum, or Mull o Gallowa intae Luice Bay. Accordin tae Smith, Abravannus is likelhy the burn that flowes throu Loch Ryan intil the sea - Ab-Ryan, or the affspring o Ryan, bein eithly convertible intil the Roman form o the wird Ab-Ryan-us - Abravannus.
In early 1307 at the beginnin o Robert the Bruce's campaign in the Wars o Scots Unthirldom he sent twa forces tae attempt tae win control o soothwast Scotland. Ae force, led bi his twa brithers, conseestin o aichteen gaileys, laundit in the loch. In the Battle o Loch Ryan, thay wis immediate owerwhalmt bi local forces, led bi Dungal MacDouall that wis an uphaud o the Comyns.
The loch wad hae been uised historical for tradeetional maritime acteevitys, includin fishin. The Statistical Accounts of Scotland 1791-99 records:
- "This bank abounds with oysters of a most excellent flavour. They are found indeed all around the shores and might be got in great quantities would people drag for them ....... A variety of fish, as skate, flounders, small cod, haddocks, whiting, lobsters, crabs and sometimes turbot are caught within the loch" 
The later Account o 1834-45 eiks on this issue, as it states:
- "Loch Ryan at one time was famous for its herring fishery. I have heard old people say that they have known 300 sail boats in the bay at one time which had come from the highlands and other places, in order to fish or purchase herrings. For many years past the shoals of herrings may be said to have deserted the loch." 
A lichthoose wis built at Cairn Pynt in 1847 at the northren end o the veelage o The Cairn. In 1849 the main link tae Northren Ireland wis muived fae Portpaitrick tae Stranrawer in Loch Ryan. The raisons for this muive wis the increasin tonnages o the boats operatin the route that wis mair affectit tae hersh storms whan anchort at the exposed Portpaitrick herbour on the Rhinns coast. The caumer saufer watters o the loch alloued lairger ships tae traivel the route as demand increased.
Seicont Warld War[eedit | eedit soorce]
Durin Warld War II the loch wis busy wi wartime acteevity. The Cairn becam "No. 2 Military Port", an important seicontary lairge-scale port faceelity for uiss shoud faceelitys on the River Mersey an River Clyde become unavailable acause o enemy bombin. Biggin o port faceelitys begoud in 1941 an twa lairge piers, the North Deep an the South Deep, service't bi a dedicatit railwey line, wis completit bi 1943. A tot o 1.5 mile o quayside wis available, awtho the faceeltys wis niver uised tae thair full capacity as the Clyde an the Mersey niver received the tak-dounin bomb daimage that wis feart.
The herbour wis uised as an import pynt for troups comin fae the US efter 1942. Anely ane o the twa piers staunds the day yet, an it isna uisable acause o the puir condeetion o the wuiden pauls (the pier haesna been uised syne a smaw section clytit wi tragic consequences in the 1990s). Wi the U-boat threit in the Atlantic takkin a hivy dishort on marchand shippin the aurie becam an important centre for anti-U-boat operations. Fleein boats operatit fae the loch tae pertect allied shippin makkin its wey tae Liverpuil or Glesga aither via the Sheuch or the Firth o Clyde. Thare wis twa RAF stations on the loch, RAF Wig Bay operatin fae Wig Bay near Kirkcoam, an RAF Stranraer operatin fae the town o Stranrawer.
Juist north o The Cairn is whit leuks like a wheen o concrete 'boats' restin on the shore - thir anes an aw is a legacy o the Seicont Warld War. Thay is 'Beetles' fae the Mulberry harbour project. The beetle pontoons wis uised tae haud up the 'Whale' roadwey sections, wi fower o the 'whales' bein built at The Cairn. Wi easy aiccess til the North Atlantic, Loch Ryan wis uised as the surrender destination for the U-boats that wis oot in the Atlantic in 1945 whan the hosteelitys ceased. The U-boats an thair crews wis haudit at The Cairn, afore the boats wis hinderly towed oot intil the Atlantic an sunk (Operation Deadlight). Ither wartime acteevity on the loch includit biggin o target rafts made oot o wuid an cork, that wis built in Stranrawer syne fleetit oot on the loch an roond the Rhinns o Gallowa tae thair poseetions in Luice Bay for bombin practice (operatin oot o RAF West Freugh). The loch wis uised bi Winston Churchill whan he depairtit fae Stranrawer in a Boeing Flying Boat on 25 Juin 1942 whan makkin his seicont veesit o the war til the USA.
The comic Tony Hancock haed a connection wi Air Sea Rescue durin Warld War II. He listit wi the Ryal Air Force on 7 September 1942 an volunteert for aircrew bit misgied wi his eesicht. He wis syne transfert til the RAF Regiment an efter twa month he was redirectit til the transit office in Blackpool whaur he wis gien the opportuinity tae train as a wireless operator. He misgied on a fower-wirds-a-meenit test an wis syne postit tae Stranrawer.
RAF Wig Bay is situatit 5 mile north o Stranrawer on the wast shore o Loch Ryan an it was tae here that Hancock was assignt til the Marine Craft Section. His main duties seem tae hae been the keepin o a heap o coal an a byler hoose. Sae he made the deceesion tae endou himsel wi the teetle o "Fuel Controller" an hung a sign stencilt bi himsel tae that effect on the door o his bothy. He was responsible an aw for the lichtin o the fires in the Nissen huts.
There he did his comedy feelin that shaw-business coud provide the anely escape fae the icy hell o Wig Bay in the wintertime whaur it wis sae cauld the men literal sleepit in thair uniforms. Awbody shaved fully dresst, he myndit, a body stuid in ablutions at 7.30 in the mornin singin "The Whiffenpoof Song" in the buits that ye haed been weirin in yer bed. The simmer o 1944 fund him hinderly assignt tae No. 9 Gang Show Unit postit owerseas.
Ship brakkin faceelity[eedit | eedit soorce]
HMS Eagle wis takken unner towe fae HMNB Devonport in October 1978, an wis follaed bi her sister HMS Ark Royal in Sepetember 1980.
Nouadays[eedit | eedit soorce]
The day the loch serves as an important location for the ferry link tae Northren Ireland, respresentin the shortest crossin distance atween Breetain an Ireland. The port acteevity haes increased substantious syne the route first stairtit operatin oot o the loch in 1849. Thare is praisently a tot o 4 ordinar RORO ferrys atween twa ferry companys - Stena Line an P&O Ferries.
On 21 November 2011, Stena Line flittit thair ferry service tae Belfast til a location north o The Cairn Veelage. Loch Ryan Port is noo served bi 2 Superfast Conventional ferrys replacin HSS Fastcraft and auld tonnage Stena Caledonia an Stena Navigator. MS Stena Superfast VII an MS Stena Superfast VIII noo complete the crossin fae Loch Ryan Port tae Belfast in 2 oor 15 meenit. P&O, operatin fae The Cairn, rin 2 ordinar ferrys, MV European Causeway an MV European Highlander. The investment in new port faceelitys at The Cairn gies an ashuirance til the futur o the Sheuch route. It will lead an aw tae futur potential smaw boat maritime development at the soothren end o the loch, that will be completely free fae lairge an raiglar ferry traffeck. The loch awready sees smaw boat uissage, wi the Loch Ryan Sailing Club operatin fae Wig Bay, and Stranraer Marina herbour aside the West Pier.
Atween 1992 an 1999 Sea Containers operatit the SeaCat fast ferry on the Stranrawer-Belfast route. Thay syne flittit tae The Truin, afore hinderly endin the service awthegither in 2005. While ordinar ferries (traivelin at aboot 15 knot) hae wrocht the route for mony decades the fast ferries wis capable o greater speeds (aroond 40 knot). The wash that thir lairge boats makkit led tae speed restrictions bein imposed within maist o the loch, wi fast ferrys no bein able tae increase thair speeds abuin 12 knot until thay wis til the north o Auld Hoose Pynt on the northren side o The Cairn.
Forder speed restrictions wis imposed on the HSS durin the tarn breedin saison, whan was fae the ship coud cause problems for breedin birds on The Scaur. The levels o wash that the fast ferrys creatit wis the subject o some controversy, wi mony suggestin that the deith bi drounin o a man an his twa sons in the loch in Julie 2003 wis acause o thair boat bein owerwhalmt bi a lairge waw creatit bi a nearby passin ferry. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch report on the incident suggestit houiver that the condeetion o the boat, the lack o sauftie gear onbuird, an puir ootleukin wis mair likely tae be been contreebutin factors, bit didna affirm that speed leemits shoud be adhere't tae, an that smaw boat awners shoud be made awaur o the dangers o ferry-induced washes.
Rail aiccess[eedit | eedit soorce]
Stranraer railwey station connects the Glasgow South Western Line tae Ayr, Paisley, an Glesga, as weel as Kilmarnock, Dumfries, an Cairl for the West Coast Main Line tae Preston, Crewe, an London Euston.
References[eedit | eedit soorce]
- Scottish Environment Protection Agency "Shellfish Growing Areas, Loch Ryan", accessed 16 March 2011
- Loch Ryan (Cairnryan Point) Archived 2018-03-15 at the Wayback Machine The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 17 May 2016
- Loch Ryan Light Lighthouse Explorer. Retrieved 17 May 2016
- Ptol., Geography 2.3.2
- Smith, William, ed. (1854–57). "Abrauannus". Dictionary o Greek an Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
- "Cairnryan and the Fight Against Nazi Germany". Ohmynews. 15 December 2006. Archived frae the original on 24 Juin 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- Tony Hancock: The Definitive Biography by John Fisher Harper Collins 2008 page 62-64
- "Royal Navy R05 H.M.S. Eagle". 2 Julie 1978.
- "Wash from ferry swamping and partially submerging open sports boat with loss of 3 lives".
Forder readin[eedit | eedit soorce]
- Queens University Belfast study on Loch Ryan and the wake caused by fast ferries (PDF) Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
- BBC News report on July 2003 tragedy
- MAIB report on July 2003 tragedy (PDF)
- BBC guide to a walk around Loch Ryan
- Photographs of some of the ferries that operate in Loch Ryan
- Bell, A. Stranraer in World War Two, Stranraer And District Local History Trust, 2005. ISBN 0-9542966-3-X
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