The apartment which we were staying in in Hawick was very well equipped, to the extent that the owners had even provided croissants for us to have for breakfast It was a nice dry morning in Scotland, so once we'd eaten them we set out to explore a bit more of the town. I forgot to mention in yesterday's blog that "Hawick" is not pronounced anything like I expected. In my head I was calling it "Haw-wick" but it turns out it's pronounced more like "Hoyk"
We'd been recommended to visit Wilton Lodge Park, which is supposed to be one of the best parks in Scotland. It wasn't actually too far from where we were staying, just a few streets away and across the river.
When we got to the park we found it had actually won a prize for best park in the UK in 2019
It was nice, but not sure it was quite impressive enough to deserve that title
It was quite a large park though and so we were able to do quite a long walk.
By the time we'd done a circuit and were heading back towards the town it was after 10am, we'd walked 8 000 steps and we were starting to feel the need for a second breakfast.
We ended up back in Wetherspoons for brunch, where I had a quorn sausage roll for the bargain price of £2.80. Scotland seems to be good value for money so far.
We checked out of our apartment just after 11. The aim of the day was to drive to Dumbarton, a small town on the western side of Scotland, not far from Glasgow. We didn't want to just have a boring motorway drive towards Glasgow though, so we planned a slightly longer but much more scenic route, initially driving cross-country in the direction of Dumfries.
The route took us through some really beautiful countryside.
We didn't pass through many settlements, but we saw an awful lot of sheep
The road we were travelling on unexpectedly turned out to be closed for repairs not far outside Dumfries. There were no diversion signs so we had to make up our own, travelling on this somewhat smaller road.
The smaller road took us to Lockerbie. We'd attended an Esperanto congress in the town, in this hotel, during a weekend in 2011.
I didn't remember this large turreted tower from last time we'd been here though.
Luckily Lockerbie is only a few miles away from Dumfries, so we were soon able to get back on track. We'd visited Dumfries during our first trip around Scotland in 2010, but I didn't remember a lot about it except that we'd visited quite a lot of sites linked to Robert Burns, including possibly his grave, on some sort of walking tour which had been recommended to us by a man in the tourist information office. The town itself didn't look particularly scenic as we drove through it today, but we found a place to park down by the river and got out to stretch our legs.
The river Nith flows through Dumfries and there are lots of bridges over it.
We followed a path alongside the river for a while until we got to this enormous weir.
We still had a couple of hours of driving to do to get to Dumbarton, so at this point we decided to cross back over the river and retrieve the car.
We successfully arrived in Dumbarton in the late afternoon, having got caught up in some traffic that was heading into Glasgow. We're staying for one night in an apartment here and it was surprisingly spacious, with a large living/dining room...
...plus bedroom. This one was £72 for the night, so more expensive than Hawick.
Booking.com had advertised it as having a mountain view, which I was a bit sceptical about, but it did actually turn out to be true!
We didn't know a lot about Dumbarton when we booked to stay here, but Tim had read that it had a castle. Once we'd settled in to the apartment, we set out to try and find it. After a few minutes of walking, we got a glimpse of it from a Lidl car park
Getting closer to it and taking a good photo without a car park in the way turned out to be more challenging. We walked for quite a long time until eventually we emerged on a road underneath the castle rock, which terminated at a grassy area overlooking what appeared to be a rather muddy beach.
It turns out this is the estuary of the river Clyde.
From here we found a path which led to a little park around the back of the castle.
It was really quite pretty here...
...and the views along the river in the other direction were more scenic too.
We were starving and had walked nearly 20 000 steps by this point, so began retracing our steps back towards the town centre in search of something to eat. Tomorrow we will be setting off across the country, towards Dundee