Our two nights at Lower Glengyre Farm CL site were restful and very quiet. CLs are small sites with licences for only five vans, As a general rule they are basic places where you pay a smaller amount than a normal campsite and use your own facilities. This one had a shower, two toilets, a washing machine, fully serviced pitches and lovely owners. The cost was £12 a night with an honesty box for the shower and washing machine. A bargain for sure.
We felt extremely comfortable, especially as the sun shone and we could sit out and relax in the peace of the countryside. Once again it is a place more suited to caravanners with their tow cars making it possible to get out and about. We were happy to go for walks and chill for a full day but we would have probably got cabin fever if we’d stayed longer, it’s just a little too remote for us in the motorhome. There is a static caravan to let on the site and it has a hot tub. How exotic! Wish we could get one for the motorhome.
We moved on from there to New England Bay CC site at Luce Bay on the Rhinns of Galloway. We were captivated by this fabulous site which is literally next to the beach. The pitches are nestled in amongst the gorse bushes and it was easy to find one that gave us loads of privacy yet still be close to all the facilities.
Boo and Poppy were beyond excited when they realised that they only had to be on their leads for about 50 yards as the warden had said that although they shouldn’t be allowed to run loose on the site, they could have as much freedom as they wanted on the beach. This worked brilliantly until the third night when I walked them to the beach for their final walk of the day. As we passed the caravans on the front row of the site there were dozens of baby rabbits playing on the grass. I made the foolish assumption that by the time we got to the beach Poppy would have forgotten all about them. Not at all – as soon as her lead was off she turned tail and shot right into the middle of the campsite, scattering baby bunnies, flashing round awnings and under folding chairs and generally behaving like a hooligan. I tried to pretend she wasn’t mine and just walked away, hoping that she would find her own way back to the van. I’d only got about a quarter of a mile with a miserable Boo trying to tell me that we’d lost her – as if I hadn’t noticed – when she came flying up behind me. Presumably all the rabbits had disappeared or died of fright by then and there was no more fun to be had, so she skidded to a halt and sat down in front of me, expecting a biscuit for good behaviour. At least the wardens were off duty. I’m still a little wary of Caravan Club wardens, even though the ones on this site were friendly and relaxed without any sign of the usual ferocious demeanour some of them are famous for.
New England Bay is now on the list of places we definitely want to visit again. There is a lovely five mile cycle along the coast road to Drummore where there is a useful little village store, a couple of nice pubs that do food and a great picnic spot beyond the harbour. I should say at this point that you can wild camp right outside the gates of the Club site at New England Bay and there is a public toilet there with a water tap. We might have done this if we’d known before we booked to use the site but the site facilities are excellent and there was a lovely friendly buzz on the site that made it worth paying for, at least for a couple of nights. It is an absolute find for anyone who has a boat, as the bay is sheltered with easy launching and the site has a boat wash facility.
Next stop on the Dumfries and Galloway coastal tour was Culzean (pronounced Cullayne) Castle CCC site. We chose this because we wanted to visit our friends Morag and George who live nearby and also because we love the castle and its wonderful grounds. Culzean is owned by the National Trust and it has loads of interesting things to do for all the family. Anyone who has read some of this blog won’t be surprised to know that one of our favourite parts is the tea room. We always enjoy a big scone and coffee when we go and toast Shirley’s Mum who was also a fan of both the castle and the scones.
It was while we were in the tea room that we witnessed something that brought tears to our eyes. In fact the tears came twice – first from frustration and then in amazement. We had just settled down with our aforementioned baked delight – a big fluffy cheese scone with loads of butter – when the air was ripped in two by the unmistakeable sound of a two year old having a full blown tantrum. He was beside himself with rage and the beautiful open ceilings of the tea room, usually so well admired, became a source of dismay as the sound was amplified and bounced far and wide, disrupting everyone’s morning coffee. The child’s mother tried everything, except smothering him – which frankly was beginning to feel like a reasonable option. She offered him a drink, food, a cuddle, a toy but he was having none of it. The wailing got louder and louder and the scone and coffee got less and less appealing. Sitting at another table, not far away was another family with several children, including another two year old sitting in his high chair. Despite being too young to speak, this little one made it very clear that he was upset by the other child’s distress and wanted to get out of his high chair. One of his older siblings lifted him out and it was then that a small miracle occurred. This little blonde chap pottered over to the one who was by now squealing like a distressed pig, and simply stood beside him, looking up with such a tender expression that everyone turned to look. He then put up his chubby little hand and laid it on the other child’s arm. Howling boy stopped in mid squeal and looked down at the little chap beside his chair. The two stared at one another for a moment then he let out a soft shuddering sigh, picked up his food and began to eat it calmly. After a few minutes the small comforter trotted back to his family, was lifted back into his high chair and finished his snack. Watching this scene really did bring tears to our eyes. Kindness is alive and well even in the youngest children.
Culzean Castle site has been completely renovated in the last couple of years and has beautiful facilities, great views and of course the Castle to visit. It’s not far up the road to Ayr with all its seaside delights and loads of shops and restaurants and you can also visit Burns’ cottage in Alloway if that’s your bag.
Last stop for us on this trip is another visit to Largs, back to our favourite wild camping spot near the Yacht Haven. A jaunt down to the town is a good brisk walk, suitable for falsely convincing ourselves that we’ve deserved a Nardini’s Ice Cream. Once again we managed to turn some loose change into a profit at the amusement arcade. I fear we’ll be banned if we keep winning then walking away with our booty. Parked next to us is an Irish van with a couple who honeymooned here 43 years ago. They come back every year in their motorhome and still love it, and presumably each other, after all these years. Another place to add to our ‘favourites’ list and only an hour and a half from home.
Speaking of home, there’s a chance we’ll be returning there soon for a couple of weeks before we head off on our Winter in Europe adventure. The main purpose of our return will be to drop off all the things we brought and then realised we didn’t need. This has been a real education in the art of simple living. I feel another huge clear out coming on.