16 August 2017

Twelfth

Regarding  Saturday, August 12th....

Last Friday night, I reached The Cumbria Park Hotel in Carlisle exactly three hours after setting off from Sheffield. After a hearty breakfast, I had a little stroll round the neighbourhood and took a photograph of  a nearby pub - "The Crown" where I had enjoyed a couple of late pints. Back in the hotel car park I noticed a statue with an adjacent sign. It seems that I was standing on the site of one of the largest Roman forts that was built along the course of Hadrian's Wall during the first century BC -  Uxelodunum.
Then Clint took me back to the M6 motorway and into Scotland. I turned left just past Gretna Green and drove along the A75  under grey skies towards Dumfries. As Clint's windcreen wipers swished away the rain I was cursing the BBC weather service. Had they got the weekend wrong?  It was the promising weather forecast that had spurred me into action. However, by the time I got to Phoenix Dumfries the grey was giving way to the blue.

I headed south onto what I shall call The Desnes Ioan Peninsula as that was the medieval name for this secret corner of Scotland. You might also say that I was travelling along the East Stewartry Coast. The weather was improving all the time and I made several stops along the winding road taking several diversions and snapping lots of pictures. The roads were quiet and the sun was shining. 

One of my first stops was in New Abbey where you will find the ruins of the pleasantly named Sweetheart Abbey. It was founded in 1275 by Dervorguilla of Galloway in  memory of her recently departed husband. After his death,  Dervorguilla apparently carried his embalmed heart everywhere she went - in a casket made from silver and ivory. I wonder why this practice isn't followed in modern times. It shows true love. She was even buried with said heart.
Sweetheart Abbey rising above the houses in New Abbey
The John Gray scarecrow in New Abbey
Down the coast, I took a detour to the village Carsethorn which was once a medieval port. There's a pub there, a telephone box and a few houses that look out over The Solway Firth. At low tide, the waters recede significantly leaving sand banks, mud flats and occasional quicksands. It's paradise for seabirds and waders but challenging for sailors and watersports enthusiasts.
Tidal flats at Carsethorn
And then I travelled on to the hamlet of Overton. At the junction with the main road there's a quirky bus shelter which local children have vandalised decorated while waiting to travel to school in Dumfries:-
Onwards to Southerness with its lighthouse. Close by there's a holiday site with static caravans, a pub, an amusement arcade and a fish and chip shop. I ate golden chips from a polystyrene container and drank tea from a cardboard container before visiting the "table top sale" in the pub. Most of the stuff displayed belonged in a rubbish bin so I didn't stay long.
Southerness Lighthouse
This blogpost could easily stretch as long as as a roll of toilet paper but I'm trying to reduce it down to a few sheets. After Southerness, I headed west through Caulkerbush and Heughs of Laggan to Sandyhills Bay and  Portling. Images from these places are shown below:-
At Sandyhiills Bay
Portling House enjoys magnificent views across The Solway Firth
Clint and I then travelled inland to Dalbeattie but we didn't stop there. We cut south into what was now the old county of Kirkcudbrightshire. I was conscious of the time as I travelled around the next peninsula, arching round towards to the county town but I made a few more stops. For example:-
Orchardton Tower
The ruins of  Dundrennan Abbey
Even though I hadn't travelled far and had taken my time over the journey from Dumfries I realised that I had missed so much along the way. For example, I didn't even drive into Rockcliffe and as I say I missed Dalbeattie entirely. But it was now late afternoon and I had to press on to Kirkcudbright - my Shangri La, my San Francisco - the place I had been dreaming of for several weeks.
A view of Kirkcudbright from Toll Booth House
 Finally, I made it there - Kirkcudbright - "the artists' town" and joy upon joy there were no double yellow lines, no parking machines in the car park and no parking enforcement officers strolling around like stormtroopers. It was indeed a modern day Nirvana. I treated myself to a pint of shandy in The Kirkcudbright Bay Hotel and then strolled around the little town for a while before heading to my B&B accommodation in the hamlet of Girthon. 
Church ruin by Kirk House in Girthon
I was staying in Kirk House by the ruined church. After an hour's rest, I headed into the old mill town Gatehouse of Fleet for more exploration and my evening meal which was ordered in a busy pub called "The Masonic Arms" - just off the high street.
A window  in Gatehouse of Fleet
It had been a wonderful day. So many lovely sights. I was already looking forward to Sunday August 13th which will be the subject of my next blogpost.

30 comments:

  1. That scarecrow is a handsome devil

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    1. He farted like a euphonium as I left him.

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  2. Many thanks Sir for stirring my happy memories.

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    1. It was thrilling to be there in unknown territory. So beautiful.

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  3. That certainly was an interesting day and trip. I thoroughly enjoyed it...thank you. :)

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    1. You are welcome Lee. Happy to have taken you there.

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  4. Sounds as if Kirkcudbright lived up to your expectations. I like the photo of the quirky bus shelter.

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    1. I wish the light had been better when I snapped it.

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  5. Such beauty everywhere ... Except possibly the scarecrow and that was comic relief (sorry, John!) Looking forward to more ...

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    1. At first I thought it WAS John Gray! I even said to him - "Did you bring Winnie with you?"

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  6. Wow! That's a lot to see for one day! I LOVE that bus shelter. I may have to travel up there just to photograph it myself. And I love your photo of the window in the pink wall with the colorful flags.

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  7. Beautiful pictures. I have worked hard today so shall wait till the morrow to Google explore all those places where you took me today. I want to paint the pink house with the beautiful window and shadows of those small flags. OK with you if I do that?

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    1. Of course that's okay Donna. In fact, I would be honoured... but I would love to see the finished picture.

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  8. You don't say whether you planned this in detail before your trip or just bumbled along the road. You did see many interesting sights.

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    1. I knew which road I would be taking. Otherwise, I just bumbled along as you so nicely put it Red.

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  9. Looking forward to this. It is somewhere we have not been and I'm enjoying your photos as usual.
    We are hoping to do a holiday in the UK next year and will probably be passing your way. Would be nice to meet up in one of your lovely pubs if all works out??

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    1. Yes that would be nice Helen. I shall sign up for evening language classes as my Australian is very limited... "G'day mate!"

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  10. What a great selection of photos. The row of white cottages with a roofless building in the background;the bus shelter with the sofa painted on the wall;the children playing on what look like mudflats, good composition here.

    Alphie

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    1. The roofless building in the background is the ruin of a thirteenth century abbey

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  11. I can only repeat what Lee has already said - a wonderful trip, and thank you very much for taking us along! With so many beautiful places, I imagine it was not easy to choose where to stop, especially as you wanted to be at your B&B in time.

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    1. You are right Meike. Looking at the map of my journey, there are so many sights and places I missed along the way. I could have easily taken a week over it.

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  12. Lovely photos, YP, as always.

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    1. Pleased to be of service. Thanks Jenny.

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  13. I love the photo of Sweetheart Abbey but you'd think the Scots would know enough about rain to realise that a roof would be a good idea.

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    1. Perhaps the English forgot to subsidise that particular project.

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    2. The sweetheart abbey is like the Taj Mahal, dedicated to the love of husband. The ruin castle at Sanquhar is quite something, strangely the houses that are right around it are VERY close and are an old council housing estate. Still beautiful though

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  14. I was very impressed with the photographic skills. A lot of thought has gone into the photographs and it shows.

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    1. Thank you Terry. Photo compliments are specially treasured when they come from people who really know about photography.

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  15. If you go again to Scotland, it would be worth going in to a tourist information to get a parking dial.

    http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/15225/Disc-parking-scheme

    Sometimes you want to stop and you are in a town, you need one.

    So pleased you had a good time in Kirkcudbright.

    I have done a post today, linking to this post. I hope that is ok, if not please leave me a comment I will remove the link

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.