Countless forum stories had made us go to Scotland for a first impression trip and we have to admit: the country didn't disappoint us. Well, there was no rain as promised nor did we experience that typical midge feeling, but for the rest we enjoyed a marvellous short break.
After several mini-cruises with DFDS-seaways
we felt the urge to have a look beyond the Newcastle horizons, preferably even into Scotland.
When earlier that year the Rabobank happened to mention
we couldn't resist (mirror), we took the opportunity with both hands
and so on Sunday September 2nd we were sailing (sort of) for England once again, this time with car.
The weather was calm and dry, and there was no storm head-on (as had occurred before);
a nice start of a nice week to come.
We had breakfast onboard. While slowly approaching England we got ourselves used to the beans and sausages and other (warm) parts of the English/Scottish breakfasts.
Soon after Newcastle the satnav directed us to the B6318, which is an easy to follow road
so one can pay much attention to the surroundings as well. It's a real treat to drive this road.
Easy going, the landscape continuously changes from one beautiful view into the other and
time seems to run at a lower pace.
Next, we continued on the B6318, which guided us into Scotland
Late afternoon we arrived at the
Aston hotel and checked in.
The reception, bar and dining room are housed in one of the original buildings of the
Crichton Campus whereas the guest's rooms
were attached to it at the back in a modern, more functional setting.
We planned to go for a drive today and started with our first Scottish breakfast to fortify the inner man (and woman).
We didn't really expect it but we still hoped for a dry day to do the butterfly route:
And what a day it was! No hesitation whatsoever to take the roof off from the car. An open Suzuki Cappuccino, dry weather, little wind, warm and a whole day to spend. How lucky can one be?
and the other side >
We continued the drive as we had chosen Rockcliffe for stretching the legs and possibly touching the sea.
We parked the car and walked the first bit towards the castle point.
Although we ourselves live near the sea, we also like foreign ones,
so we spent quite a while on this coastal path.
and the sand,
and the scent;
we love it!
The Broughton House
in Kirkcudbright was our next goal and on a day like this it's a real pleasure to be in its gardens, but
before going there, we had a look inside the house. Things were well preserved and exposed.
The house was thoughtfully built and furnished and decorated. It's a nice exploration to find out
why and how things have been done the way they have.
The garden was still very colourful, about to prepare for the autumn.
A kind of twilight zone between seasons. Lovely!
After a while we continued our route which lead us to Loch Ken.
From the maps I thought that we might be driving very much higher than the water surface,
but in stead we were at the same level.
The view over the lake is not less spectacular.
We drove on, past the Galloway Park (our destinition of tomorrow) and took
the long road back to the hotel.
Here is the tadpole route. The weather conditions were about the same as the day before, so: off that roof!
A special part of South West Scotland that we very much would like to see was the Galloway Park. We couldn't really imagine how it would look like. Forests? Fields with heather? Bare hill tops? Lakes and swamps? Surprise, we found it all. OK, small in both size and amounts, but nevertheless, they were there.
For a place to do some exploration on foot, I selected this visitor centre, but alas, a 'strictly no access' sign on the last stroke kept us from reaching it. We found an alternative place to go to and on second thoughts it may very well be that the visitor centre has been relocated to an easier accessible area near both the lake and the main road. A little exposition showed and taught us some facts about the plants and animals living near the lake, and hereafter we walked a stretch to some higher points for an extended view over the lake lying between hilly surroundings.
was the day to start travelling back home, which does not mean that the holidays are over yet. Right through the Kielder forest runs a probably scenic road and it can easily be included in the going-home route:
The most Northern part would consist of a single track road, another must-have-done item.
Again nice roads to drive. Mostly small enough to make them pleasantly exciting, large enough to keep pace.
After all we had to catch the ferry boat in time.
For the second time we had slept very well on the slightly swinging ship.
Early morning we spent a long time on the open corridor at the front of the King Seaways
(the Princess doesn't have one, which is always a pity), seeing us entering the harbour so familiar to us
(we live nearby IJmuiden). Debarkation went smoothly this time, so we were home very soon.
Things we learned:
and the inevitable "Bloopers":
All in all we experienced a beautiful country,
friendly people (except for one or two speed drivers) and a lot of nice things to see and do.
Is this a Spanish influence?
In that case: ¡Hasta Escocia!