Heading further south.
Tuesday 23rd July.
Another leap south and it turns out to be a bigger leap than it looked on the map. Why is it that everywhere in Scotland seems so far apart? I think it’s because us ‘softy southerners’ don’t appreciate just how big and wild Scotland really is.
We drive a mile or two to Connel where we cross the bridge and join the A85 through the Pass of Brander and down to the banks of Loch Awe where we turn south onto the A819 to Inveraray. Then east on the A83, over Rest and be thankful and through Glen Core until we meet the A82 on the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond, except the the banks don’t look very bonny because the sky has gone dark and it’s throwing sheets of water out of the lowering clouds and there are flashes of lightening.
So, that’s it then, summer is over after a few days of warm weather.
We battle on through the storm and as we head towards Glasgow the sky starts to brighten a little. We take a detour off our route to make a quick replenishment stop at Dumbarton and by the time we leave Morrisons the pavements are drying and the air is hot and steamy again. Over the Erskine Bridge and join the motorway round the south west of Glasgow and then on to the M77 heading south west towards Kilmarnock. The M77 becomes the A77, past Prestwick, through Girvan and onwards past Stranraer and it’s ferry ports. It’s a long haul but we finally arrive at our destination, the New England Bay Caravan Club site (GPS 54º44’17.66”N 4º55’16.03”W) situated on The Rhinns of Galloway, a large spur of land sticking out into the Irish sea.
Quite why it’s called New England Bay I’m not sure as I can’t see any reference to New England on my map, only Luce Bay; I suppose New England has an upmarket and romantic sound to it. Still, we get a warm welcome and are told to drive round and find a pitch that we like. It is a very pleasant site with direct access to the beach and the pitches are in small groups separated by gorse bushes and grassy banks, which gives it an intimate and yet open feel. Unfortunately the views that we came here to enjoy are hidden by the murk and mist over the sea.
Wednesday, our second day in ‘New England’ and it’s murky and cloudy again but it starts to clear during the morning. Despite the stiff breeze it is pleasant sitting out in the sun but every now and again we retreat inside when a larger cloud drifts over. The views across the sea are limited by the banks of gorse on the site but they do give some shelter from the wind. If you want uninterrupted views this is not the site to choose but if you want sea, fresh air and peaceful surroundings (out of school holidays) this is your place.
Thursday and it is time to leave New England but we both agree it is a very pleasant and laid back sort of place that we will come back to in the future.
Back into England.
Thursday 26th July.
A shorter drive for once as we head east along the A75 and then into England and south on the M6, west on the A65 and into the Cumbrian hills. We are heading to the CC site at Troutbeck Head (GPS 54º37’05.31”N 2º57’13.36”W), a site that looks great from the photo in the book, with views across open country to the hills and mountains of the Lake District. As we drive west on the A66 the road climbs and lovely vistas open out in front of us, the views from our site should be great. A left turn off the main road and as we descend through open country there is no sign of the site or of anything resembling caravans and motorhomes. After a short distance we see the Caravan Club signs and turn down a steep entrance drive into the site and realise why we couldn’t see it from outside, it is huddled into a valley with plenty of trees to screen it. Very good for the National Park of course but not so good for the views of the open country and hills that we were looking forward to. We drive round and choose a pitch that has at least some views of the hills, including Skiddaw & Saddleback. Unfortunately we are looking at more caravans than hills so we will have to switch to ‘people watching’ mode, always a failsafe backup when the British public are on parade.