Saturday 11th, we woke at Taste of Perth and manfully elected not to go in to the restaurant for one of their wonderful breakfasts but we did buy some provisions. We were going all the way to Kippford and planned only to stop at Abington to fuel up with Autogas, with a call in at Falkirk to see the Kelpies if time permitted. The idea was to arrive at the site as close to the earliest check-in time of 2pm as we could.
Naturally nothing went as planned. Mr L had been feeling poorly for the week before we went away and his condition had by now worsened. I don’t wish to examine the topic too closely but it meant a deferred preparation for departure…
That preparation included an investigation of the windscreen wipers. It had been raining in Pitlochry last night and we had used the wipers for the first time since buying the van. It turned out that they were in poor condition, particularly the driver’s side. We fired up the WiFi and Googled for the nearest Halford’s, which was in Perth. So we set off for Perth, where we found Halford’s in a small retail park, the city kind, the kind with small car parks with tiny car spaces in them… Luckily, I spotted four spaces together at the end of two rows. We utilised them.
They didn’t stock the kind of wiper that we needed, nor could they order them in but an extremely helpful young man did at least produce some tools and swap the wipers over for us and make us safe to travel on. There followed a hiatus during which we attempted t leave the car park by the only navigable route for a vehicle of our size. It was against the traffic flow and one particular drive was in no mind to give way or to recognise our plight. Tempers were fraying…
It was well past lunchtime when we finally got on our way and so Falkirk was cancelled. We wanted only to get through the Central Belt as quickly as possible.
Then I smelled gas.
We travelled many miles on an “I can smell gas, can you?” “No” basis before agreeing that, yes, we could both smell some kind of fuel smell. We agreed to leave the motorway at Lesmahagow but did not find a place to stop before Happenden services. I tracked the smell down to the oven, fiddled with some knobs and convinced myself that the smell had dissipated. We made a quick lunch, seeing as we had stopped. Then we set off again for Abington for our LPG fillup, turning off the motorway again around Moffat to head for Kippford.
It was good to be in familiar country and Dumfriesshire is so very beautiful, all Belties and billowing hills. The GPS took us by a good route, with no scary moments but lots of scenery, and skirting just the edge of Dalbeattie. The sun came out to greet us at the moment we approached the site.
Teddy was keen to be out and about and to explore and was very cross to be kept leashed but we did take him out for some fresh air before we were ready to be off and exploring with the dog.
It is a hilly site, with its own private woodlands which are (of course) accessed by walking to the top of the hill. I huffed and puffed my way up, pausing to take photographs of the views that revealed themselves at every turn.
The site is large but very skillfully landscaped such that at no point is one ever aware of the size of the place or the number of vans around about. The views are stunning. I was captivated by the range of shrubs, especially the rhodies and azaleas in bloom and the number of wild birds, red squirrels and rabbits.
It was really good to have some proper darkness and we slept well, particularly as teddy behaved himself and did not try to get into our bed at any point. That’s not like him…
Part 3 follows