Luce Bay

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Luce Bay (A bravannus Sinus of Ptolemy), a large bay indenting the southernmost land in Scotland, and converting the southern half of Wigtownshire into two peninsulas-a long and narrow one between this bay and the North Channel, and a broad one between it and Wigtown Bay. Its entrance is between the Mull of Galloway on the W, and Borough Head on the E. Measured in a straight line, direct from point to point, this entrance is 18¾ miles wide; and the length of the bay, measured in a line at right angles with that chord to the commencement of the little estuary of the Water of Luce, is 16 miles. Its area is about 160 square miles. Over a distance of 3¾ miles from the commencement of the estuary at its head, it expands, chiefly on the W side, to a width of 6¾ miles; and thence to the entrance, its coast-line, on the W, runs, in general, due S, or a little E of S; whilst that on the opposite side trends almost regularly due SE. At its head the seaboard is low, and at the efflux of the tide displays a sandy beach of ½ mile in mean breadth; but elsewhere it is all, with small exceptions, bold and rocky, occasionally torn with fissures and perforated with caverns. The bay contains various little recesses and tiny embayments, some of which are capable of being converted into convenient harbours. It also offers to a seaman, acquainted with it, anchoring-grounds, in which he may safely let his vessel ride in almost any wind. In hazy weather vessels sometimes mistake the bay for the Irish Channel, and when steering a north-westerly course suddenly take the ground on the W coast. The mistake, when it happens, is almost certain destruction; for the tide no sooner leaves a struck ship than she settles down upon quicksands, so that subsequent tides serve only to dash her to pieces. But since the erection (1830) of the lighthouse on the Mull of Galloway, errors have become comparatively infrequent, and navigation proportionally safe. Two rocks, called the Big and the Little Scare, lie 1½ mile and 2 ¼ miles within the strait between the Mull of Galloway and Borough Head, the former 5¾ NE by E of the Mull, and the latter ¾ mile further.—Ord. Sur., shs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 1856-57.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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