Wednesday, July 19, 2006

To Lochearnhead

My parents’ house is a positive haven for wildlife; Jim was surprised by the bees yesterday and this morning there was a duck shepherding her ducklings around on the patio while we ate breakfast. [Picture here.]

Chris C briefly dropped by to say hello while we were loading the car. He is recently returned from some work jolly which took him to Las Vegas where, rather than playing the tables, he got to play with all kinds of guns. That’s a tale I shall look forward to hearing the next time we catch up with each other properly…

The weather people reckoned that today would be the hottest day in over ninety years but fortunately, as we were driving north we didn’t see any temperatures beyond 30°C.

As we had a way to go today (250 miles) we didn’t take so many breaks as on previous days; we stopped off at Carlisle around eleven to visit the castle there [More here.] The castle was a favourite of mine as a child when we came to Carlisle to visit my grandparents. Since then there have been some archaeological digs done which have unearthed no end of Roman artefacts from the old fort which stood here nearly two-thousand years ago.

We crossed into Scotland and followed the motorway towards Glasgow for another hour or so. It was a strange section of the trip for me; the route we were taking seemed so familiar; Gretna, Lockerbie, Moffat, Abingdon, and yet thinking back I probably only did the tour that took this route two or three times. It’s funny how things stick with you.

Another strange recollection related to the music. I’d picked up some cheap CDs last night and one of them was a Simon and Garfunkel compilation (In certain moods I like their music, but don’t currently own any of it.) Listening to the lyrics of I Am A Rock, it brought back vivid memories of Peter G and I, mired in our teenage angst, discussing how well the song applied to our lives in so many different ways. It was a strangely nostalgic moment; probably for the lost innocence of youth. Anyway we made it to Lochearnhead by about four in the afternoon and booked into the B&B.

Staying at bed and breakfast establishments can be a rather hit-or-miss way to travel but this one is definitely a hit. It’s a conversion of three sixteenth century crofters’ cottages, sitting on the loch shore. The rooms have plenty of mod-cons, at the rear there’s a sun terrace with barbeque and a hot-tub(!) and on the shore of the loch there’s a little summer house and pavilion with yet another barbeque! [Gratuitous pictures here!]

Once we were settled in, Brett and I took a run over to Glen Coe, the very picturesque glen towards the west coast. It sits amongst some spectacular scenery, but unfortunately we didn’t get any photos that do it justice as the sun was always behind the good views. I wish we had time to come back tomorrow morning just to photograph it again with the sun behind us, but sadly time does not permit. What pictures we did take can be found here.

We had stopped off at the nearest grocery store to pick up provisions for a barbeque so, when we got back, the three of us fired it up and cooked ourselves some steaks by the loch. It was quite a meal; the food was all good, the temperature was pleasant, there was a gentle breeze blowing and the sound of water lapping as we sipped some light red wine and the sun set behind the hills to the west. Bliss.

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