Scotland Trip #3 – Why NOT to plan!

Lets head to Scotland!

We totally love Scotland.  Have been twice now so this particular weekend, the Bank Holiday weekend May 2018, three goals were planned.  Here’s how it went wrong and how we fixed it.

Unfortunately when it comes to planning with me it all seems to go rather hazy – i think it get distracted quite a bit….(oooo cake) and the finer details never seem to be in place – lets just say I’m a dreamer and leap into the unknown quite a bit!

So came May bank holiday – my plan was I wanted us to spot Puffins, I wanted us all to catch some razor clams and BBQ them & wanted to go snorkeling in my new wetsuit.

Well the swimming idea went straight out the window cause I forgot me snorkel – so I’ll leave that – but hey! Puffins and razor clams.  Lets go!

We were already behind!

We headed to Scotland one day late – I wont bore you with details but it involved a warm evening at the local, gin & karaoke – so we awoke on the Saturday morning and I began running round like a lunatic trying to pack the van with no organisation whatsoever – Chris declared

“Lets just go!” I picked up a melon ready to load into the van.

“Eh? I’m not ready!!!”

“Don’t worry! There are shops in Scotland if we get stuck you can get things there!”

Poor Packing

After a lovely trip up – with ever decreasing temperatures – we arrived in Ayr and as we had all been cooped up for ages all leapt on the beach.

It was utterly freezing.

A heatwave in Dewsbury lulled is into not taking coats or even jumpers.  We doubled up on layers.  It was dusk after all its bound to get chilly.

We spotted razor clam holes in the sand.  I’d watched a youtube video of the salt trick how you can make razor clams pop up and eat them – they are delicious apparently (i still don’t know)

However I had forgotten to buy table salt however we are a bit classy us and we had a salt grinder in the van so we proceeded – unsuccessfully – to try and grind the razor clam out of the sand.

My final failure

We bedded down for the night in familiar Girvan (read blog here) and began to google how to spot puffins on the West Coast of Scotland.

Oh dear.  Its not at all easy.

Amazingly we have already been to one of the best puffin spots in the UK at South Stack in Wales, but this slipped my mind when heading off.

We read that they are on the island of Ailsa right in front of us at Girvan, but read very pessimistic blogs.  So I binned off that idea too.

Sunday Morning

After a cold morning with our plans out the window completely we decided to just go to a cool beach we’d been to before.  Consequently we got lost trying to find it.

The kids were arguing, I was fed up we had left a local heatwave to be freezing cold, Chris was fed up and me being fed up.

We were on a narrow bumpy road trying to turn round to try find this particular beach when all of a sudden the wardrobe door fell off with a huge bang.

I laughed my head off cause I find it hilarious when Chris gets stressed.

He exploded.  The kids got told off for fighting – the wardrobe door got swore at then fixed (he has a drill in the van) and I got told off for being grumpy.

A Bad Day Turned Good

Everyones moods changed.  I know myself I had lightened up.

We arrived at Croy Beach, still freezing cold, but in higher spirits.  The kids chucked on their wetsuits.

As if by magic the heatwave hit us – and literally within seconds the beach filled.  It was fantastic.

There were kids everywhere in wetsuits splashing around, dogs jumping around everywhere panting, milk bottle white Scottish men with their shirts off – twas great!

The water is crystal clear – outstanding clarity on this coastline and it was just gorgeous.  We tried razor clamming again unsuccessfully (with table salt this time).

The BBQ was lit and we spent the rest of the day enjoying the stunning scenery and heat.

and food! MMMMM BURGERS!

What to Write About

After another night in Girvan (I’m getting boring aren’t I – I do really like it here as you can see, kids are also very safe to play out just outside motorhome on the beach) I realised I had absolutely nothing to write about in my blog that I hadn’t already covered.

As we needed to start making the long depressing drive home we would stop at various attractions along the way.

Everywhere you head in Scotland there is a brown sign giving you an idea what to do.

We stopped at Galloway Smokehouse – I bought some Smoked Seabass – Very nice (with a Rosé).

The next brown sign was Cairn Holy Chambered Cairn.

Absolutely no idea what this meant but within five minutes we were in a stunningly tranquil place with panoramic views of hills and the ocean.

Cairnholy is the site of two Neolithic chambered tombs, the second of which is the final resting place of mythical Scottish king Galdus.

The site is significant because part of a ceremonial axe made of jadeite was found which must have been imported into Britain from the Alps in mainland Europe.

Its presence shows Scotland’s Neolithic population interacted and possibly traded with foreign groups. More here.

The kids loved it.

SHEEPS!

As the kids, dogs and I were exploring, Chris began chatting with a local farmer from the North East who had spotted our motorhome, and being an ex motorhomer who decided to give up the wheels and actually move to Scotland,  had something in common which ended in a great chat – and him shouting to the kids –

“Dya wanna see some lambs!?!”

I’ll admit – i was probably more excited – but serious cuteness overload.  We met Salt & Pepper – two weeks old!

And low and behold the farmers wife came out seconds later saying its feeding time would you like to feed them!

Yes please!!!

Then it was the turn of the bigger sheep – they had a wonderful contraption which allowed us to giggle at their happy little tails.

It was such a lovely idyllic experience and I shall be eternally grateful to this lovely friendly couple.

Next Spot!

So after that brown sign success we were buzzing! We spotted Threave Castle.  It would be our last stop as we seriously needed to get back down home ready for School in the morning – but us Stoners cannot resist a castle.

I discovered after a short chat with the cashier I learned that Threave is an island fortress built in 1369 that kept James II’s forces away – read the history here.

It is also a huge nature reserve with Ospreys & Peregrines just a couple of the big hitting nature names that hang round this area.

Exciting stuff! And did I mention boats?

Yeah – a very short boat ride is required to get you to the castle.  Unfortunately you cant take dogs on the boat – so I hung around with the dogs while Chris and the kids went over.

I had a go at vlogging which i cannot show cause I’m to embarrassed at my red face and common accent …… go on then just the one bit….really need to get better at this I imagine…..

p.s. dogs were in a cool dark motorhome after a long hot walk with air con and  fresh water for half an hour.  I do not condone putting pets in cars on a hot day obviously.  As they are both black this was a much cooler option as my big lad struggles with heat – the safety of my dogs is always my priority.

And Thats Another Weekend Gone? Or Is it???

We desperately needed to get home, but the weather was so good.  We decided on one last BBQ and one last bit of sun before home.  What a spot.

One banging BBQ and one hellova long drive we were finally home – unpack – wash – ready for the next.

What Did I Learn?

Well, I shall never ever try plan again – well to the degree that I did.

An encyclopedia of knowledge is at your fingertips everywhere you go! And the most successful results were purely from following brown signs and instinct.

So my advice is – plan for tide times (they can actually be important). Everything else is all at your fingertips….utilise it!

 

And most of all

 

Get yersen off and tell em Fran sent ya xxxxxxxx

 

Have a good one xxx

Fran xxxxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Frances Stoner 29 Articles
Mum of "The Traveling Family UK" - here there and everywhere - love life and living. I enjoy the odd (bucket of) wine and love trying new food. My kids drive me mad but keep me driven. My husband comes up with the ideas - I execute them - and him. Oh and my dogs....my babies forever! Love them!

1 Comment

  1. This is refreshing stuff, Fran. You are your mums daughter, and I’m sure she will enjoy, up in the ether, this healthy and interesting account of family life, on the road. Keep busy, stay young, and do what you can whilst you can. I’ll never forget my Uncle Georges last words….”fuckin’ ‘ell, a lorry…aaaaaargh! “

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