The village had a popular annual event that must have been the muddiest in the area. Visitors try to catch local flatfish by 'trampling' in the mud and catching the fish with their toes. This method is also used in Morecambe Bay.
Up to 1965 the harbour was the fairly successful port of Dalbeattie and Castle Douglas, with the new prospect of more landings from the Solway cockling trade. The areas main ports were at Palnackie and Auchencairn, rather than Dalbeattie. Sailing ships going farther than Kippford (downstream) could not easily navigate the meanders of the Urr past Palnackie, so were usually towed further up river by horse teams on the riverbank.
The river at Palnackie is on the outside, deepwater, part of the meander, deeply incised into the sediments. Garden Creek flows into the Urr near the centre of this meander a quarter of a mile upstream from the Palnackie Basin.
Garden Creek channel forms a natural Y-shaped tidal basin for small fishing vessels and coastal craft. Garden Creek was enough for the area for several hundred years, but now only a few timbers survive of the old wharf. At Palnackie itself there appear to have been few buildings in the past other than a corn mill, some fishermen's cottages and a public house.
Barlochan Basin (Palnackie Harbour)
Castle Douglas and Dalbeattie merchants wished to bring in larger vessels than could make use of Garden Creek. There was even a proposal to build a canal with locks between Orchardton Bay on the Urr and the Carlingwark Loch at Castle Douglas, but this was ultimately considered to be uneconomic. Palnackie remained as the outlet for Castle Douglas's exports until the railway reached the town.
Efforts were made in the 1800s to excavate the present basin where the mouth of a stream entered the Urr, at a point where the Urr River might be expected to scour out the basin. Vessels of 350 tons could load and unload cargo, although silting up has significantly reduced the depth available at present. During the 1940s and 1950s, ammunition barges would unload at Palnackie to send their cargoes by road to Edingham Depot for storage. As late as 1965, the Port Mill unloaded fertiliser here, but a proposed increase in port tolls in 1965 lead them to switch to rail and then to road transport.
Since then, cockling and fishing vessels have called at Palnackie, with occasional pleasure craft. The Urr Navigation Trust still administers the Barlochan Basin.
The basin has silted up and been dredged at various dates, but is now tidal and cannot offer a deep mooring to visiting vessels. However, there is a large warehouse adjacent to the basin, dating from the same period, though now in use for a craft centre. Part of it was originally the harbourmaster's office. An information board and seats have been provided by the wharf by the Dumfries and Galloway Council.
In the winter of 1998 there were serious proposals to licence the cockle fishery in the Solway and to open a cockle preparation factory either in Palnackie or in Dalbeattie.
T.P. Niven is a haulage firm set up in Palnackie in 1926 to transport lime and other cargo from and to the boats. Since the port declined, they have gone into long-distance road haulage and goods storage but are still based in Palnackie. Probably the largest employer in Palnackie