Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Monday, 12 July 2010

Stranraer to Girvan and beyond . . .

Heavy rain in the evening and hills. At least their was only a gentle SW breeze and a bus shelter shelter time gave a bus shelter list that included eider [37], black guillemot [ 7 ] and arctic terns [3]. Through Ballantrae with a water stop and onto Lendalfoot. A crackingly close barn owl didn't see me just north of Ballantrae and just at the last minute saw me and gently crossed the road. Beautiful.

Camped against a hedge alongside a large layby; one in fact dedicated to a Russian ship, Varyag, that sunk here in 1925.

Sunday 11th July 2010

Although the night was reasonably calm and the morning around 6.00am likewise; by 8.00am I needed large stones to stop the tent from flying! I was determined to finish Sally's book, which I did but I hadn't seen the tent buckle so extensively in the wind before. Good fun actually. What a gale!

Fabulous views of Ailsa Craig from here but an hour's seawatch didn't produce much. Close by gannets and fulmars, a couple of common sandpipers and a few terns.

Eventually both book and gale had finished and I packed and cycled to Girvan, straight into a busy harbour for it was Lifeboat fete day. Onto the lifeboat and a chat with one of the lifeboat men. Two young cyclists arrived who had just completed a tour of the lifeboat stations along the West coast of Scotland. 400 miles in 6 days, all proceeds to the Girvan lifeboat.

No chance of a boat to Ailsa Craig, so northwards to Turnberry, a small golf course dominating the area. Well, no a huge long hotel with many steps down to the courses and immaculate looking fairways and greens. Only for the wealthy I suspect.

North along the coast, found Culzean Castle, not that that was at all difficult. Huge modern looking castle with extensive grounds and various entertainments. Into the castle for a guided tour culminating in the Eisenhour section where details of Overlord was mapped out with an audio commentary. D-Day casuaties listed on a huge map and many photos were seen before the memorabilia room with more photos, a large Stars and Stripes and various documents.

To Maybole and after a interesting [!] conversation with someone who came along the road screaming 'Heil Hitler', who then proceeded to sit next to me at a park bench and tell me that he was going to sit there for 2 hours exactly, who then started by saying that he was schizophrenic and that his sister was inside his head. What was I to do? I asked about the badges on his t-shirt. "Don't ****ing humour me!" I was off to the pub.

Now who agrees that that was the worst World Cup Final ever. Cheats won, even if they did deserve it surely no glory in diving and waving imaginary yellow/red cards at the ref. Thugs lost; how many booked and how many should have been on the pitch at the end. Well done Howard Webb. To keep his cool and any critisism can only be because he didn't reduce the Dutch numbers earlier. So name the teams that go home from this World Cup with credit. France? England? Italy? etc etc.

Thank goodness it's over for 4 years. Maybe football will look at lessons to be learnt but I doubt it.

A lovely evening in the pub with various friendly characters and my thanks to everyone there. I didn't note the name of the place but it's near some benches in a floral type square adjacent to the post office. Great night despite the awful match.

Right, the day finished with a hasty erection of the tent in a field some 2 miles along the A77. Mistake - what a noise from lorries all night but the lateness of the hour of the match ended left little choice.

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