Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Scenic route to Ayr.

113 Miles. Now at Craigie Gardens Club site in Ayr.

We had the choice of the coastal route to Ayr or the cross country route skirting around the Galloway Forest Park. After discussions with the camp proprietor it was agreed we take the coastal route.

Castle Douglas.Castle Douglas.

Well we were not disappointed  and at times we were not quite sure where we were, Scotland or New Zealand. Around the inlet of Wigtown Bay we could have easily have been on SH1 working our way around Lake Taupo or the inland route from Newton Stewart to Stranraer could have easily been anywhere along SH3 through Taranaki. The roads and the scenery were so similar it was uncanny. We can now really understand why so many Scots feel as if New Zealand is home away from home.

Maclellan castle Kirkcudbright .Maclellan Castle Kirkcudbright .

We took a deviation into Kirkcudbright (pronounced Kirk Coo Bree) as we had heard so much about the town. We found the inland harbour where fishing boats were tied up with no where to go as the tide was out and they were sitting on the bottom with not a drop of water under the hull. MacLellan Castle was interesting in that as a castle it didn’t have all the usual defences found in castle’s of that era. It was built more as a town house for Sir Thomas MacLellan of Bombie who was the first Provost of Kirkcudbright in 1570. The top 3 floors contained 15 rooms which are reputed to have never been fully completed. When Sir Thomas died in 1597 the estate went to his first son, Robert who became 1st Lord Kirkcudbright by charter of King Charles I.

Kirkcudbright memorial to lost sailors and fisherman.Kirkcudbright memorial to lost sailors and fisherman.

The family fell on hard times and when John the 3rd Lord Kirkcudbright died in 1644 the estate was sold and the castle was abandoned as a residence in 1700. In 1752 the roof and all the fittings were stripped from the building leaving it to the elements. After 260 years the shell of the building is still in sound condition, a testament to the builders.

Kirkcudbright harbour, these fishing boats are totally high and dry.Kirkcudbright harbour, these fishing boats are totally high and dry.

Just out of Creetown we stopped at a scenic layby for some lunch. We were right alongside the estuary of the river Cree into Wigtown Bay where some Salmon fisherman had there poles set up in the river to hang their net’s on when the Salmon run begins. It was low tide and we hadn’t been stopped long when the tide started to come in again and the expansive mudflats soon started to disappear.

Wigtown Bay mudflats.Wigtown Bay mudflats.

Travelling alongside Loch Ryan we saw a Stena Lines fast ferry and a P&O regular ferry passing in mid channel on their way to and from Ireland. There are two ports in the Loch, one at Stranraer and the other at Cairnryan where they are busy building a new roll on, roll off ferry terminal. Just outside the heads we spotted another P&O fast ferry heading into the Loch so they must be busy little ports. The existing terminal was full of trucks and trailers awaiting the next sailing.

Salmon fisherman's poles across the river Cree estuary.Salmon fisherman's poles across the River Cree estuary.

Travelling up the coast to Girvan we couldn’t help but notice the dome shaped island (Ailsa Craig) out in the Firth of Clyde. This is a Volcanic plug from an extinct volcano which last erupted 500 million years ago. Two miles in circumference and 1100 feet it has had a chequered career. In the 16th C it was a Catholic hide out in the Scottish reformation. The 18th and 19th centuries saw it being used as a prison and then quarried until the 20th C for Blue Hone Granite which was turned into Curling Stones. Now it has been cleared of all vermin and is a bird sanctuary for Gannets and Puffins which explains the massive white marks which show it the photo.

Ailsa Craig out in the Firth of Clyde.Ailsa Craig out in the Firth of Clyde.

Our latest camp site is right in Ayr and only a 10 minute walk away  to town so we will see what tomorrow brings.

P&O fast ferry from Ireland passing a conventional ferry leaving Loch Ryan for Belfast or Larne.P&O fast ferry from Ireland passing a conventional ferry leaving Loch Ryan for Belfast or Larne.

A total of 2764 miles, since 5 March 2011


Jenny and Robin said...

I spotted your deliberate mistake "Firth of Forth" in the text and the correct location on the picture of the "Firth of Clyde"

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Jenny and Robin
Well spotted just to keep you on your toes.