1647-1648: Busy with Electrics & Admin
Monday 7th to Wednesday 9th September 2020
David the electrician magician worked some wizardry on our electrics … we are now plumbed in for power through all our van sockets running off the inverter. At the moment, the fridge, hot water and heating CAN all run off the inverter. But with this weather, we are not getting enough juice back in … so we are monitoring how it goes. I did managed to kill the investor on night 1 by using both Instant Pot and Remoska with leisure batteries not full. So we booked onto a CS with EHU nearby.
This also gave us the opportunity to do some much needed admin … we are now insured, car and us, for our trip to Crete (Covid excepted when we travel to a Gov non essential travel country, as Crete currently is). Laundry, using the socket that David wired through to the garage and showers too.
Whilst David worked his magic, we walked along the River Tweed … fishing is a big thing in these parts. Can’s see the attraction of standing in cold water for something to happen.
Coldingham, where we spent 1 night was a fabulous sandy beach, with beach huts.
Start of the walk to St Abbs overlooking Coldingham beach.
St Abbs: coffee and tray bake and a conversation with other motorhomers at the next table. Is it mean, but I really didn’t want to rave too much about Greece … we hear so many motorhomers thinking about it …
1649-1650: Hawick and the Devil’s Porridge
Thursday 10th – Friday 11th September
We swung by David, who worked out how to re-set the inverter. Not just a case of an on / off switch, but actually removing the cable. But we know now! We stayed the night in Hawick (pronounced Hoik!). I walked the park by the river and then we settled in the free carpark at the other end to all the heavy works vehicles, who are shoring up the river bank.
No chance of this hotel re-opening in the near future.
In the morning, we wandered into town. A lovely coffee and cake – taking shelter from the rain of course! We looked at some of the cashmere shops, for which Hawick is renowned … but the prices or the styles put me off a purchase.
We then took up Meg’s suggestions for a tour … and drove off to our pm booking at the Devil’s Porridge Museum in Eastriggs. At the start of WW1, ammunition was in short supply, so a cordite factory was built. I spread 9 miles east of Gretna. Spread with miles of pipe work out due to the hazard. Thousands of girls, most of them domestic servants were housed in brick buildings that are now well constructed bungalows, and all the entertainment and day to day infrastructure was built. Sadly the museum was housed in a new building as the local council didn’t grant perimssion for the use of a WW1 building. But it was super interesting with committed staff.
The museum also had a display on the worst rail disaster.
Oscar had a go at pre-washing a yogurt pot!
1651: Caerlaverock Castle & a Non Rugby Game
Saturday 12th September
We spent the previous night a donations aire in the Caerlaverock Castle estate. It used to be a 5 pitch site, but opening it up to all and sundry for donations probably required less work. It had services so I did a mini wash, using the twin tub whilst keeping it in the garage … just ‘cos I could. Our neighbour was much interested. We walked through the woods to the Caerlaverock Castle. On arrival, a steward (I noticed she was impervious to the cold and had bare arms!!!) told us that unless we had a ticket, we were to stay on the path. Given we could see a lot of the castle from said path, we stayed on it and didn’t buy a ticket. Covid Times: I bought 2 postcards for £1.60 and had to pay by credit card!
Site of the original castle (free to roam here). The owners moved as it kept getting flooded.
So they built this. Photo taken from the path!
A rugby night so we headed into Dumfries … basically the nearest car park to a Sky Sports pub that said on the phone they would put the game on one of their screens for us. Ahead of time we arrived to get a prime seat … pub pretty empty. No FOOD! But happy for take in, so I went and queued at the Chinese. Game about to start, but NO! despite both us reading that the game would start at 7.30 BST, it had been on at 6.35 BST. Probably best missed as Leinster had a massive fail … as did we!
Would that be your glum face James? The pub said they would show the rugby, but no food, so take out / in Chinese … but no game … the internet had lied about the time.
1652: Sweetheart Abbey and Kircudbright
Sunday 13th September
We had no ambitions to wander Dumfries despite the delights the guide book offered of various museums and churches, so headed down the coast to … Sweetheart Abbey. With a name like that, it is a must.
Sweetheart Abbey … the widow of john Balliol, of Oxford Uni, was so distraught at loosing him, she had his heart embalmed and carried it with her! She founded the Abbey.
We had a lovely circular walk along the coast and then back slightly higher. Of particular interest were the stones and pieces of wood placed outside a house … the judicious adding of eyes, made them very real.
A lovely stretch of coastline.
We drove onto Kirkcudbrigh, pronounced Ker coo bri. Hadn’t planned to stay, but I spotted a dress in a shop window and a wool shop.
We overnighted a little out of town but on the river, but in the industrial estate. I managed to buy the top I’d seen and one other … that was successful, but the wool shop was pretty rubbish.
1653: Via Wigtown and the Isle of Whithorn
Monday 14th September
After my purchases and a good breakfast, we stopped off at Wigtown, the book town of Scotland. A quick walk around, but no purchases made. A walk to the point at the Isle of Whithorn gave CO2 a good stretch. We saw motorhomes parked up, but we headed on a round to the Mull of Galloway, the most southerly point of Scotland.
The largest 2nd hand book shop in Scotland … we saw the largest in England in Alnwick.
1654: Mull & Forest of Galloway
Tuesday 15th September
The cafe at the Mull, obligingly gave us breakfast …. rather heavy on meat and lacking veggies such as mushrooms and tomatoes, but we managed. Wanting to take advantage of the Scottish Forestry Commission aire trial, we headed up to their Clatteringshaw Visitor Centre. A new chemical toilet emptying, but the only water had to be carried from the cafe. Limited walking … just along a path to a stone. Felt it was a missed opportunity not to have put a path around the lake.
Mull of Galloway parking and cafe. Not for a windy night!
Apparently Robert the Bruce rested against this rock, which of course makes it super significant!!
Oscar amused the other walkers, once they’d leapt out of the way!
But lovely views over the lake.
1655: A Decent Wool Shop and Near Melrose
Wednesday 16th September
After a leisurely start we headed back east to Galashiels. Not on our tourist route, but it had a wool shop where’d I’d made my 30 min appointment on line. It proved to be a gem … the young and enthusiastic lady gave me her full attention and I came away with wool for an extra top I’d not planned, as well as all the items on my list. Margaret and Shirley, who live not far away, agreed she is marvellous … it was one of those encounters that really lifts you and gives you a fire in your belly. I knitted most days after.
We were headed to a motorhome meet in Kelso, so stopped in a car park near a monument to William Wallace. I did a great walk to the monument and then down to a temple of the muses … passing some very smart houses. One of the things we’ve remarked on about this area is how many lovely houses there are. Meg later explained that the old land owning families own huge tracts of land and their tenant farmers are also well off … hence the abundance of smart property.
Our peaceful over night stop.
The statue is 9.4m high.
Temple of the Muses (and CO2) over looking the River Tweed.
1656-1660: Kelso Meet
Thursday 17th to Monday 21st September
Despite being much further north than the Hereford meet at the end of August, this meet actually saw some sunshine. I even dispensed with my thermal vest and we were able to eat outside a few times. With better weather, we were not all huddled in our vans, so able to catch up with more folk. The new Covid measures in place in Scotland, meant we could only mix with one other household at a time and, if the household was from a high Covid are, only outside. Dan, who we met first in Sicily, cooked us an amazing shepherd’s pie. We had a fab walk with Meg and then Sunday lunch sitting outside the van … the wine flowed and the cheese was nibbled … and we froze … multiple layers. We established that my nephew has a fishing shop in town, so we had a chat with him … some years since we’d met. Floors castle was not open, but the grounds were. And CO2 were even allowed into the formal gardens.
Floors Castle with it’s turrets.
Giant veg at Floors.
The longer than planned walk with Meg.
Which brought us back along the River Teviot.
1661-62: Another Chicken Parmesan!
Tuesday 22nd to Wednesday 23rd September
Lisa and Danny (from Turkey lockdown) had sold their Defender with the tent atop, and bought a van to self build. Danny had managed to get the bed in, so we agreed to camp at Omotherley … a really pretty village with a good pub, where I sampled my second chicken parmesan (breaded chicken, béchamel and cheese baked. Just as well we don’t live there … yummy.
Incorrect spelling though … but a lovely pub.
It tipped down all next day … a wet walk not far away … who ever thought having dogs is a good idea??? Then back to Danny and Lisa’s flat car park … a few chores and trips to the supermarket to buy supper and my introduction to the Tool Warehouse to buy a proper bottle jack for Jez.
Jesus, the Romanian rescue dog that was sent home to Lisa’s parents, at home in the van.
And no messing with his first frozen kong.
I overdid the elements of the cooked breakfast, as I included everything from hash browns to black pudding … the dogs did well.
We have never had a bad trip to Scotland, even if the weather (even in summer) means I reach for thermals, fleeces and brushed cotton pjs. Having driven through the Borders, Dunfries and Galloway previously it was good to take some time and explore there. Recommended.