Thursday, 10 October 2013

Heading South June 11 - 13th

June 11 -13th

We left Pitlochery heading south to Kirkcauldy, 
which is in the Kingdom of Fife, to visit my Dad’s cousin Jean and her husband Lewis. The weather grew wetter and greyer as the day went on.

Sea view from Jean's street

Brian had never met Jean and Lewis due to geography. Jean and I keep in touch on the phone but the last time I saw her was in Canada 6 or 7 years ago at a family wedding and the last time I saw Lewis, I was 6 or 7. After aperitifs and a tasty dinner we comfortably caught up while laughing and enjoying each others company.
Lewis & Brian                                                              Lewis, Jo and Jean

Eventually and sadly, it was time to leave. They walked us out to the RV, which Brian had had to park on an incline, and being the ever careful driver had positioned the wheels towards the curb.  This turned out to be a detriment when the damn RV wouldn’t start and he couldn’t run it down the hill for a boost. Of all the luck. After checking the circuits he realized the Fiat battery was FLAT. We had only been at Jean’s for 4 or 5 hours. She kindly brought her car around for Brian to try a boost. No luck!

As we had never had this problem before I decided it was my late mother’s doing and she was just giving Jean and me a bit more time together!
So, in the end we had to call RAC (Royal Automobile Club) for a boost. The technician was a  capable young man. He immediately identified that the Fiat battery had discharged for no apparent reason. When he had it running again the alternator was charging normally and the amp clamp showed no unusual drain on the electrical system. During our journey we experienced the same circumstances again and upon examination back in France we discovered that the back up camera had been wired directly to the battery and it slowly drained 24/7.

As we bid goodnight it was now about 9:30, darker, colder and wetter. I located a campsite not too far away but that somehow disappeared off the GSP so we travelled on to one by a golf course. Naturally, arriving at that late hour it was closed. However, a man walking his dog showed us where to park for the night. We were under a tree canopy; the blowing wind noisily splattered excess rain and vegetation (we later discovered) onto the roof all night leaving us a bit tired in the next day.

In the morning management knocked on our door. She spoke slowly and plainly. When we answered in English she laughed out loud and said she always puts on her posh accent for foreigners. We encountered this quite often as our license plate indicates we are from France, which is quite true these days!

We decided to continue south. We crossed the Forth Road Bridge which is next to the Forth Railway Bridge which opened in 1890 and until 1917 was the longest single cantilever bridge span in the world. It still has the second longest single span at 2528 meters/8296 ft.

More Scenery as we travelled south.

I saw the sign for Rosslyn Chapel and before we could say Da Vinci Code we were there!  What an amazing building. The history is extensive and was very well explained in a half hour talk by one of the staff. In the gift shop we were told by the cashier that prior to the film the Chapel had had an average of 3000 visitors per year. In 2006 after the movie was released, that first month they had 3000 visitors. They were completely overwhelmed. Now, the new visitors center, complete with café, handles it all very well indeed.

Inside photos were not allowed

We spent the night at an over-priced rural campsite on the Old Farm Road. Well, all I can say is the heavy trucks must not know where the NEW Farm Road is located. Nuff said.


Off to Moffat we went:  a little town with a huge sheep monument right in the middle .

Brian spotted a Royal Bank of Scotland van. It is a mobile bank traveling from town to town to accommodate its customers. How quaint and yet how very modern.

From Moffat we went down to Dumfries. Not to be pronounced as Dumb Fries – it is DumFREE-ss. Apparently you can catch fish in the middle of town; in the river of course.

We wanted to visit with my relatives who live in or near Ayrshire and spend time with my former primary school  teacher.

The most convenient place to stay was at Sundrum Castle Holiday Park. It is rated with Four Stars but I think that at least two of those stars have been allotted just for the name.  

It seemed as if the park was mainly aimed at selling ‘holiday homes’ which were quite large mobile homes in the region of £43,000/€37,400/$64,500, rather than accommodating touring campers. But, it was a safe and convenient place to meet. 

 One day we walked down a lane to look at the castle but it was quite heavily wooded to see too much, however, we discovered a trail where walkers were welcome. It was tranquil, colorful and had that wild unspoiled feel. 

Angus had his first encounter with a cow. She was so startled she caught her head on the fence.

 Then we encountered these three hooligans! 

So, Moooo-ving on from there........we'll catch up in the next installment soon!

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