After much excited preparation and a visit to eldest daughter in Manchester en route, off we then set, squeaking with excitement at the prospect of – at last – being on the high road to Scotland.
An uneventful journey up the M6 got us to Gretna Green at about 1 PM and hence towards Dumfries which provided little in the way of parking, some challenging three-point turns and eventually respite at Morrison’s supermarket where we took lunch in the cafe in true Thursday lunchtime tradition.
Refuelled and set off again into the wilds of Dumfries& Galloway where our first port of call was Callingshaws Loch and Forestry Information Centre at which we arrived in torrential rain, so our view of the loch was bleak and vaguely reminiscent of our fog-enveloped visit to the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia the previous year. The Info Centre was nothing more than a teashop-with-leaflets so we moved on with the rain abating to provide good views of lowland Scotland.
Rolling hills, arable fields, purple heather and not much in the way of attractive human habitation as Newton Stewart was quickly dismissed and we carried on to a second Forestry Visitor Centre at Glen Trool arriving at about 16:40 to find the small Café-With-Leaflets already closed and all but two cars in the scenic car park – these departing as we explored the immediate area to find a range of waymarked footpaths promising forest views and the prospect of Goldcrests.
We parked up the van with a view of distant cloud-clad mountains and a slowly-forming plan to park up overnight here amidst this wonderful scenery, just across a little-used road from a peat-coloured racing waterway which added to the visual stimulation and general scenery. Donning stout boots and waterproofs we elected to follow the Blue Trail – 2½ miles – into what became heavily deforested forest, but the sun was shining brightly to extend our shadows before us and warmed our backs to the extent that the outerwear soon came off.
An interesting walk to stretch journeyfied legs and take in some refreshing clean air. Huge log piles waymarked the deforested tracks and then back along the rushing foaming riverside which reminded as both of Canada. Back to the van where we enjoyed a pre-prandial Bloody Mary then a simple supper of soup and cheese prior to discovering that the TV didn’t work – hence this overlong journal entry as, asides from a brief game of Domino’s we didn’t have any other distraction to keep us from our bed, to which we are now heading at 21:30.