Scotland – 1
The focus of this trip was to explore Scotland. I had been to Scotland 3 times – once an overnight stay in Glasgow to attend a 40th birthday, once a 3 day stop in Edinburgh to attend a wedding and thirdly a day visit to see customers close to Edinburgh airport. I don’t feel that I have “visited” Scotland from these trips and wanted to see the majesty of our northern neighbour.
We left the Lakes on a Sunday and headed north. The trip wasn’t too bad. The weather was cloudy bright with barely a shower, which was so very different to the south which was being hammered by 200% more rain than was usual for the time of year.
It was really the last 35miles of road which I didn’t like. It doesn’t sound far but on windy roads through small towns and villages this takes longer than you think. At this point I’d decided I preferred sailing to towing. Sailing, at least the way we did it, felt infinitely safer than towing. For over an hour my mantra was “this too shall pass” (also one I had used on the boat a couple of times when I wasn’t having fun). The mantra was right – it passed and we arrived at our next site. It felt quite strange driving into a busy town to our next place. We drove through the college campus to get to the site (oops) and arrived at Craigie Gardens in Ayr. After the usual stress of unhitching, this time the hitch would not release so not my input, we were in. The site felt remote and was surrounded by trees but within the campus in town. A short walk brought us to the River Ayr and it was then a pleasant walk to town along the riverside.
That first night I noticed how light it still was at 10:20pm. Not daylight as such but not dark either. A reminder of how close we are to the summer solstice.
We explored the town and walked to the seafront and strolled along the prom. The scenery is already starting to get majestic. High mountains on the horizon and on the islands. A taste of what’s to come.
We went to Culzean Castle (as seen in the 1973 film The Wicker Man). The gardens and grounds alone were immense and well worth a look. As with many National Trust properties they had a second hand book shop and Neil picked up a copy of ‘Own A Steel Boat’ by Mike Pratt. If you have read Neil’s first book ‘A Foolish Voyage’ (get it on Amazon here) then you will know that Mike Pratt was the owner of Abraxis, a boat that Neil worked on and then sailed to Tenerife. Quite a coincidence for Neil to come across this book.
After 3 nights in Ayr we continued north staying on the west coast heading into the Highlands.
…to be continued in Scotland – 2.