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About Me

Found 2 results

  1. We had a long day of driving ahead of us today, with approximately 300 miles to cover. We didn't want to just drive straight home though, so we made a reasonably early start from Newton Stewart. While overall we probably prefer staying in Hawick, the advantage of overnighting in Newton Stewart was that we could drive home via the M6, and that meant that we would be able to stop off in the Lake District without making much of a detour Tim had found some National Trust walks in the Lake District online and we decided to try one which started from the small village of Hartsop. It wasn't a place we'd ever heard of before but we had a really scenic drive there, starting with a drive through the Galloway Forest Park as we left Newton Stewart, and then driving along the shore of Ullswater as we got closer to Hartsop. The walk instructions started from a car park in the village, but that was unfortunately full by the time we arrived. Luckily an enterprising farmer had opened up a field and was charging £5 for parking. £5 felt a bit steep, but it did give us an opportunity to get change from some of the Scottish bank notes we'd acquired during the holiday. We'd deliberately taken cash out in Dumbarton in case we weren't able to pay for things by card on Islay and Colonsay, but then we hadn't actually ended up needing to use it. Just the views from the car park itself were impressive. From where we'd parked it was only a walk of five minutes or so towards the official start point for the walk. The walk was quite easy initially, taking us along a small tarmac road. The views were already spectacular without us needing to walk anywhere. The road soon started to lead uphill. It was a bit tiring, but the scenery made it worthwhile We climbed increasingly higher. The track was leading us alongside a small stream. Before crossing the stream, the route unexpectedly required us to climb over a stone wall. This hadn't been mentioned in the National Trust instructions! I made it across in the end and then thankfully there was a proper bridge to cross the stream. The path was then quite narrow for a while, taking us up the hillside and away from the stream. This then led to a wider track, which was much easier to walk on. We were walking towards Hayeswater reservoir. The lake is actually natural, but was dammed and used as a reservoir for the town of Penrith until 2005. It was in a really beautiful location and definitely worth walking to From the reservoir we had to turn around and retrace our steps a bit. We passed the steep little path where we'd come up from the stream... ...and continued on a wider path which ultimately took us downhill. On the way we passed little waterfalls on the stream. The path led us back towards the village of Hartsop. On the way we had to negotiate a field of cows. I wasn't a huge fan, but luckily they just stared at us as we went past! Then we were pretty much back where we had started and it was time to set off on the long drive home. The Lake District is really beautiful and it was a great place to end the holiday
  2. Last night we made the most of our final views of the sea from the cottage on Islay. We were leaving on a very early ferry this morning - 07.00 from Port Ellen, with final check-in at 06.30. Our experience with driving on the narrow roads on the island over the past few days meant that we felt we needed to leave a full hour for the drive to Port Ellen, so we checked out of the cottage at 05.30. That was a pretty early start and we hadn't had any breakfast before we left, so I was pleasantly surprised when we boarded the ferry and found that the canteen was serving a full cooked breakfast, complete with "tattie scones" The sea was very smooth this morning and we had a scenic journey back towards the mainland. The journey back to Kennacraig on the Kintyre peninsula took around 2 hours and 20 minutes. From there we had a drive of around 4 hours to our ultimate destination of Newton Stewart in the south of Scotland. We broke the journey at a National Trust place called Crarae garden. Crarae garden is just outside Inveraray and from the car park we had great views of Loch Fyne. There weren't very many other people in the car park; this definitely seems to be a lesser-visited National Trust place. So much so that it wasn't actually manned; the visitor centre was closed and we were just able to walk around the gardens without showing our membership cards. The gardens themselves were really beautiful, with a series of colour-coded trails. We followed the red trail initially, which took us alongside a river... ...from where we had a view of a little waterfall. Every so often we caught glimpses of the loch... ...and there were some really colourful trees and bushes. Once we'd completed the red trail we attempted the white one (of course, not choosing the easy route!). The hard version of the route involved quite a few steps, but we were rewarded with some good views. In general there was probably a bit more climbing up and down than is usual in National Trust gardens... ...but it was a really lovely place to visit, and so cool that we had it almost to ourselves. The final trail was blue, taking us towards views of Loch Fyne. The views from the marked viewpoint weren't necessarily much better than the views from the car park, but never mind We retraced our steps back towards the car... ...and confirmed that we had successfully completed all the trails From there it was a fairly long drive to Newton Stewart, where we are staying overnight in a hotel. We managed to get booked into the hotel restaurant for an early dinner, which was good, and then went for a brief stroll around the town. We've got another fairly long day of travelling ahead of us to get back home tomorrow, but the travelling has definitely been worth it for the experiences we've had on Arran and Islay
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