You know, one of the joys of having a Vince parked outside, is that we can get up & go at the drop of a hat – especially if the sun has got his hat on. That was the case for us at the start of this week when we spotted that, rather unusually, the weather was going to be positively spring-like. I know! Who’d have thought we would actually get some spring weather in Scotland, in spring… After the winter we’ve had, it was a real shock to the system. The joy of a short break is that we didn’t have to think too hard about packing; a couple of days’ clothes, a few toiletries, half a tank of water and plenty of beer was all we needed. Oh alright…and some white wine for the laydee.
Our destination was the Isle of Whithorn, about a half-hour drive from our new home in Newton Stewart. We’d visited once or twice in the car on our house-hunt, and spotted that you can park overnight for free in the harbour car-park. There are toilets and fresh water available, and the harbourmaster’s office on the quayside has more loos and showers – primarily for the village’s hard-working fishermen, but a blind eye is turned if campers use the facilities when they’re unoccupied.
The area has many pointers to its maritime history; an Iron Age fort once stood a few metres from where we parked up, and a cairn now marks its location. We’re working our way through Amazon Prime’s Vikings drama at the moment so it was really interesting to find that the Northmen had raided the area, eventually making a settlement by the abbey a few miles up the road in Whithorn, and farming the land all around. It is believed that St Ninian sailed over from Cumbria to visit the religious community of Whithorn leading the monks to build St Ninian’s chapel in the 13th Century. The King’s ships and revenue cutters were berthed here in 1793 but were eventually moved along the coast to Garlieston when the Isle’s harbour was deemed too small for the ever-increasing amount of shipping. We discovered a neat coincidence – in that Garlieston was where prototypes for the Mulberry Harbours used in the Normandy landings were tested. The very same pontoons which still lie on the beaches we visited in France in 2016.
We managed to bag the best parking spot in the car park. We learned from our recent trip to Glencaple that if you leave enough space between you and the view… somebody will squeeze their camper van in so that you spend the rest of your time looking at the side of another vehicle. We made sure that there was only room for us to open the doors against the car park wall – result! As you can see from the pics, we couldn’t have found a better spot. Without even getting out of the front seats we could watch gannets diving in the bay, and oystercatchers wading among the rocks catching er… probably not oysters, actually. As we’ve discovered over the time we’ve owned Vince, motorhomes can be a bit temperamental and this trip was no exception. We had a nasty buzzing sound from the box which contains all his electrics, until I shut down and reset. It did it again when we got home so a bit of fuse-pulling and general prodding around will be necessary before we venture out again. Oh yes, and his airbag light has come on too, sigh. To add insult to injury somebody has nicked our recycle bins which we left out for collection while we were away!
As we were only staying a night we decided to push the boat out (sorry!) and eat out. The Isle of Whithorn has a popular bar and restaurant right on the quayside so we adjourned to The Steampacket for the evening. And what a good decision that turned out to be. They have a huge selection of ales to try (I did) and the food was exceptional. I’d never before tried chicken fillet with haggis & seasonal veg, served on a mashed potato base with a Drambuie – yes that’s Drambuie sauce. Phwoaar! And it was all the better for being able to watch the sunset while we munched. Gill had to get a wheelbarrow to trundle me back to the van afterwards. Highly recommended and you don’t need a Vince to visit – they do B&B as well.
We’re finding these quick trips quite helpful to relieve the stress of sorting out our house build. So far nothing has happened, some more nothing has happened and I suspect there’ll be more nothing happening for the rest of this week. Everything is so slooooow when all we want to do is get on with it. At least it means we can continue getting to know south-west Scotland with a few more Vince excursions – and we’ll be sure to share them with you as they happen 🙂
Don’t forget, a tap or a click on any pic will enlarge it. Take care, and chat soon