Saturday, 23 November 2013

June 19 - 22nd

The next day found us in Glentrool village. It's not a village with commerce. It's a starting place for many hikers.

It is a place I had visited often as a child; picnics with my family. It is known as the one of the worst places for midges - those wee biting beasties, however, we were only affected in the campsite - no sitting outside for happy hour that night!

We thought this was an amusing sign and discovered later than some of these 'bins' have security cameras trained on them to further avoid illegal dumping.

Castle Douglas is an 18th century market town with a fair sized downtown with lots of shops and we spent a bit of time in a junk shop. For us the best place was the park at Carlingwark Loch.

There were a multitude of swans in the loch. As a point of interest all swans in Britain are owned by the Queen. What a beautiful sight.

After lunch we moved on to Carlsluith and stopped at the smokehouse there. Young Justin gave us a tour of the facility and we bought some of their tasty smoked produce.

 The now defunct fishing grounds on Wigtown Bay where the smokehouse had procured its fresh produce.

Further on along the bay

Our last night in Scotland was spent at the absolute worst campsite we had ever been in. 

Our desire was to stay close to the ferry port. From the coast road we spotted a sign for one, only 600 meters. As we came to discovered 600 meters was only to the entrance. We traveled for a least 6 kms. up the hills and down. We were the only RV there so on a positive note it was quiet!


                                           The ferry departed on time.

 We had a bit of breakfast
and enjoyed the scenery

Similar to our area of France, the sky can change within minutes.

Magnificent wild cloud formation.

Here we are in Larne Lough, according to Garmin GPS that is.
 Time to deboard the ferry.

Next time - our travels through Southern Ireland...

Monday, 18 November 2013

June 14 - 20th - Visitors and Travels

 So, we were at Sundrum Castle Caravan Park and our first visitors were my Aunt Mary and Uncle Jackie. We went out for lunch at a garden center. Garden centers in Britain are more than plants. All of them stock a wide variety of items, many of which have nothing to do with gardening and most have a restaurant. We all had the fish dish and it was very good.
Jackie, Brian, Mary

 We then took a drive to their house. They live in the village where I was born. It is always a wee bit sad to return as the place has not improved with age. The area has high unemployment which began when the mines were closed in the late 1980's so this is decades of impoverishment.

Our journey took us passed the Barony Colliery (a coal mine) where my Papa, Dad, Uncle and various other members of my family had worked.
 It was closed in 1989 (23 years after we had left Scotland). 

The following is from Wikipedia:

Barony A Frame

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Barony A Frame
The Barony A Frame is a preserved headgear in East Ayrshire, Scotland, located 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) west of Auchinleck. It was built in 1954 as part of the modernisation of the Barony Colliery, which had been opened in 1907.[1]
The colliery closed in 1989, and in 1990 the winding engine houses, generating station and water-treatment works, as well as the A frame, were given listed building status, as category B listed structures.[2][3]
It is the last remaining example of its type in Britain, and was restored in 2007 by the Barony A Frame Trust. Over £1 million was spent refurbishing the structure, including funding from Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The A-frame was reopened by Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay in January 2008.[1][2]

The next visitors were my cousin Steven and his wife Elaine. As it was a cold and wet Friday night we decided to just stay in the RV and Brian picked up pizzas from the campsite restaurant.  Accompanied by a few glasses (Elaine and me) of French red wine  it wasn't too bad. Brian had water and Steven drank coffee - just as a designated driver should. Poor guy!
The morning after the night before
In the morning we went into Ayr to do a bit of shopping. I have been going to Ayr for decades and I love the hustle and bustle on the streets. Although many stores have closed I still find it exciting. We took a taxi both ways. My primary (grade) 3 and 4 teacher, Jean McMurdo, picked us up at the campsite and drove us to a lovely restaurant. We had a very good meal which she insisted on paying. When we return in November we plan to take her out. It was a relaxing time of humorous stories and anecdotes. For an 87 year old she is quite amazing in her ability to remember dates, places and names. Plus, she handles her wee vehicle like a racer car driver!
Sunday was the day to lunch with the Montgomerys, my mother's cousins. Drew collected us. Drew's brother Ian and his wife, Jan, were already at the house and so was Sandy, Drew's daughter. Sandy is being married in November to James. What a spread Vivian put out. There was every imaginable meat, fish and poultry with just as many side dishes and then three desserts. She outdid herself!

                                 James, Drew, Sandy                     Ian, Drew, Vivian
      Vivian, Jan, Ian, Drew, Brian                                    Sandy

As you can see Drew is quite the comedian, just like his late father. It was a terrific afternoon and evening!

In the morning we packed up and headed back to Brian's brother's house in Girvan. 

Robert Burns is Scotland's National Poet. Brian and his brother can quote pages of verse so it wasn't too surprising when they wanted to visit the Burns Center; a regular haunt of Joe and his pal Linda.

We had tea and scones. The Clootie Scone was so delicious Brian had to ask for the recipe. The baker was a young woman who kindly wrote it out for him and he has baked quite a few since.

  The next day we were on the road again.
Leaving Girvan we took the coast road south. 
Girvan and the Ailsa Craig

We stopped at a lay-by a few miles from Girvan to look at a couple of monuments. This one below commemorates the Yarvig
From Wikipedia:

During World War I, Russia and Japan were allies and several ships were transferred by the Japanese to the Russians. She (Soya) was returned to the Imperial Russian Navy at Vladivostok on April 5, 1916 and renamed Varyag. She was sent to Great Britain for an overhaul, and was due to re-enter service with the Arctic squadron of the Russian Navy. However, following the Russian October Revolution on November 7, 1917 she was seized by the British and sold to Germany in 1920 for scrap. That same year, while under tow in the Firth of Clyde, she ran aground on rocks near the Scottish village of Lendalfoot, and was scrapped there (55°11′03″N 04°56′30″WCoordinates: 55°11′03″N 04°56′30″W). She finally sank in 1925 and was never recovered.  

The Varyag Memorial was unveiled at Carleton Bay , Lendalfoot on the 30th of July 2006 and was attended by members of the Russian navy .
The Varyag was a Russian cruiser which was involved in a heroic battle in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904.
After a checkered history, she eventually sank off the coast of Lendalfoot in 1920 .

Continuing south to Stranraer we stayed at Don Aird Campsite run by a very old couple. We thought we had driven into a fairytale, everywhere there were 'hundreds' of little bunnies munching the grass and fearlessly hopping all about.

The sun was shining and it was such a treat to watch the 'free range' bunnies! Perfect!

                     We made dinner then relaxed with a movie

We had bought lettuce which still had roots and it lasted for a very long time. What a great idea!!

We thought we would go to Port Patrick the next day and possibly do a night of wild camping there. That means not spending the night in a campsite hooked up to electricity. The area is so picturesque and it is a tourist spot with a golf course out of the village and up by the big hotel.

View from the harbor towards the hotel

Looking down to the harbor (now that was a steep climb!)

If you take a picture of the gorilla you are asked to put donation for the Lifeboat Rescue Fund into the container beside him. We complied willingly. What a handsome fella, but a bit grumpy looking!

We didn't camp wild but found another campsite nearby. This time there were horses.

Two good-for-a-laugh signs we spotted on our travels:

Until next time....