Saturday 30 April
Setting off from Edinburgh we took about 2 hours to reach our destination at Ayr Craigie Caravan Club site on the outskirts of Ayr. Nice site again just about a 15 minute walk into the heart of Ayr.
Ayr is on the coast and a mid sized if not particularly pretty town. We had a wander around for an hour or two with a brief stop off in an old converted church or “Kirk” as they would call it locally. (Its now a pub of course ! ).We continued through the main streets one of which was a very importantly named street called Cathcart Street. ( Fame at last ! ) the tourist information centre was actually in Lady Cathcart’s former house ( Jane was chuffed ! ) then moving along the Esplanade we looked out over the Sea to the Isle of Arran which at the time we were looking was being drenched with rain whilst for a change we were basking in sunshine. Yea!
We had a further wander around passing the Citadel walls built by Cromwell to control the unruly Scots ( wait till Nicola gets her way ! ) before finding a nice restaurant called the Waterfront which was at the side of the river Ayr just before it flowed out to sea. The food again was delicious and for two courses including a drink was only £13.50 each. Making the most of the sunshine and being able to dry out after the soggy days in Edinburgh we returned to “Cis” and got the deck chairs out to spend the rest of the afternoon and early evening reading in the sunshine before it turned cooler and we had to retire inside.
Sunday 1 May
Following a Brau Bricht Moonlicht Nicht the Noo Jimmy last night ( Except there was no moon or stars visible because of the clouds ) We awoke on a very special day.
the main reason for our trip into the land of the Celts was to come for a wedding of the elder son Colin of our friends Glyn & Lesley. He married Gemma at the Brig a Doon hotel at Alloway just south of Ayr and being famous for being the birthplace of the famous Scottish poet Rabbie Burns.
The weather was pretty pants again however the Sun did poke its head out for about an hour to allow some decent photos to be taken for the happy couple ( unfortunately I haven’t really got any ! ) The celebration was the usual excellent famous Scottish hospitality with lovely food ( and the odd drink hic! ) and in the evening an excellent 6 piece band played lots of soft rock from the 70’s and 80’s which was just up Jane and my street and saw us tripping the light fandango on the dance floor. Excellent ! Party on !
The Brig a Doon is famous from a poem called Tam O’Shanter by Rabbie Burns. It’s the bridge where Nannie the witch is chasing Tam over the river Doon as he just escapes leaving Nannie only pulling off his horses tail. Ouch !
Rabbie Burns is also famous for writing the second most sung song in the world Auld Lang Syne, the most frequently sung song being Happy Birthday.
Having had a brilliant day and night we took a taxi back to the campsite and were lulled quickly off to sleep by the incessant rain all night. Luckily the alcohol imbued stupor won over the noise of the rain.
Monday 2 May
On awaking we found that we had chosen the only pitch on site which appeared to flood and had to wade across the moat to reach the shower block !
We set off South today following the coast road out of Ayrshire and into Dumfries and Galloway. We had an hour or two at Culzean Castle about 15 miles out of Ayr and luckily managed to pick a dry spell. The rest of the day was either full on glorious sunshine or heavy rain but it didn’t stop our travel to the far South West of the county. The Scenery along the way was stunning and we headed off the main road after a while and followed the smaller roads.We stopped over night doing a bit of Wild Camping down along side the sea just on the outskirts of a little fishing village called Port William. It was a lovely spot and not plagued by “No Overnight Camping” notices. England please note !
We did very little today taking full advantage of being able to look out over the beautiful view reading and watching programmes on the old laptop.
Tuesday 3 May
We continued our exploration of Dumfries & Galloway again firstly with a quick visit to the remains of a bronze age fort and then carrying on by avoiding most of the main roads and sticking along the coastal routes. This was stunning but did unfortunately take a lot longer than I anticipated which we paid for later when we arrived at our night stop.
The weather today was much better being mostly sunshine with the odd bit of cloud and after driving for about 3 hours saw us arriving at Gretna Green
Gretna is famous for being the first village over the border from England and from 1754 onward when the new English Marriage laws came in, seeing a multitude of young couples eloping here to get married because they needed parental permission back home if they were younger than 21
Traditionally marriages took place at the Blacksmiths shop over the Anvil carried out in front of two witnesses without the necessity of a qualified priest.
Afterr stopping here for a hot drink and piece of cake we continued our journey south into England and into Gods own country Yorkshire. Here we drove through the dales particularly over Swaledale but this resulted in us being faced with a ” Not suitable for Long Vehicles” notice which forced us to do an additional hours detour through Wensleydale. Once we had driven through Hawes and Leyburn we were finally able to reach our destination of the Old Bridge Inn at Grinton.
Feeling knackered and much later than I wanted to be here ( 7.00 ) we parked up in the car park and hastily ventured inside for some well earned liquid refreshment. This was shortly followed by a nice pie for me ( much better than the Cramond Inn ! ) and some lovely Fish & Chips for Jane.
So after re-energising and relaxing for a few hours we returned to “Cis” for the rest of the evening and then journeyed back home without further stops and generally an uneventful trip the following morning.