The village of Port Logan stands on the east coast of the Rhins of Galloway some 12 miles south of Stranraer and 7 miles north of the Mull of Galloway. Its main focus is a single line of houses and cottages which face towards Port Logan Bay from behind the higher level road between them and the beach.
The origins of Port Logan date back to 1682, when the local McDouall lairds built a pier and a village which was originally called Port Nessock. In 1788 Colonel Andrew McDouall of Logan commissioned work at the north end of the bay on the Logan Fish Pond. Over the next twelve years an almost circular rock pond was constructed by expanding a natural blow hole in the rock. The pond housed a range of fish caught at sea and stored here to ensure freshness. While the water was naturally changed at each high tide by means of a grille, the residents were unable to escape.
Today what is known as the Logan Fish Pond and Marine Life Center is approached along a track that curves round the north side of the bay. Visitors enter through an arch in a remarkable white cottage which comes complete with castellations and arrow slits. Access to the main 50ft diameter pond is via steps cut into the rock of the shoreline.
It was also Colonel Andrew McDouall of Logan who, from about 1810, promoted the development of a new harbour and village at what became known as Port Logan. Proposals were made by the engineer John Rennie for a new harbour in 1813, but these initially came to nothing. Work eventually got under way in 1818 and finished in 1820. What was built was rather less ambitious than the initial plans, with a breakwater protecting the entire bay being omitted. The most surviving striking feature of the harbour is the lighthouse built at the seaward end of the pier.
Part of the harbour development involved the building of a causewayed road leading past the fronts of the existing houses and cottages in the village. The residents were expected to move to new, higher level houses, to be built by McDouall, but in the event were happy to exchange their lost sea views for the extra protection from the sea and wind afforded by the new causeway. This explains what today seems one of the oddest features of the village. Port Logan harbour was active for a number of decades as a landing place for Irish cattle being imported into Scotland, but it became clear fairly quickly that it was not going to be able to compete with Portpatrick as the main focus for Irish trade, which had been McDouall's ambition.
Port Logan today is probably not a great deal bigger than it was in 1820. At is eastern end you find the Port Logan Bay Hotel, while to its west, between the end of the village and the harbour, is Port Logan Hall. A mile and a half north of Port Logan is Logan Botanic Garden. It is one of three specialist gardens in different areas of Scotland that form part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Its southerly location and the warming effect of the Gulf Stream means that Logan Botanic Garden enjoys an exceptionally mild climate, and as a result it has become home to a remarkable collection of exotic plants, especially from New Zealand and Tasmania.
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