The Road to Arran

After a few setbacks we finally left Leeds and were Arran bound, due to arrive at Lochranza campsite Wednesday afternoon.

We had decided to complete the journey over 2 days having a stopover somewhere enroute. Being an ostrich sort of person I hadn’t really considered where we would stay on Tuesday evening…..just somewhere. Luckily I am married to “Google Gary” who for several weeks had been on line investigating all the possibilities and permutations and these depended upon which route we took once we hit the M6.

As we tottered up the A66 looking at the glorious views it provided we agreed to head for Dumfries and then to a little harbour close by called Glencaple. This would leave us about 80 miles to do the following morning to Ardrossan where we were catching the 12:30 ferry to Brodick on Arran.

Dumfries is just out of the picture on the map being about 5 miles north of Glencaple

Gary had found out about this stopover from the Brit Stops book
http://www.britstops.com/welcome.php and then had checked it out on other sites where it had been given great reviews.

Those reviews did not deceive. It was a beautiful spot with glorious views looking out towards the Solway Firth.

Although it was mid week in late April the car park’s designated space for 5 motorhomes was already busy by the time we arrived at about 4pm, but we did manage to squeeze in.This was despite the fact that 2 vans had been badly parked and, with their owners nowhere to be seen were occupying more space than was their due. No wonder motorhomers often get a bad press!

The stopover is provided by the local council and has designated space for 5 motorhomes. An honesty box with information about the site which includes a request that motorhomes only park in the designated area is in a prominent position. There is  no accompanying recommendation regarding the amount of donation, but we thought that for this delightful spot £5 should be a minimum. If the site is full then there is the option to go to Castle Corner which is about 3 miles away and has space for 7 motorhomes.

There are clean toilets in the car park which are supposed to be locked overnight but when we were there seemed to remain open all the time. A cafe/ restaurant is adjacent to the car park and opposite is a pub, the Nith Hotel.

We ate in the pub that evening and had a very enjoyable meal.

We had, for us an early start the next day and reached Ardrossan with enough time to stock up with provisions and fuel at the ASDA, which is very conveniently placed next door to the ferry port, long before embarkation was due to start.

The van at Ardrossan waiting patiently whilst we collected the tickets

As we were there quite early we were just about first in the motorhome queue for the ferry. For once, we didn’t seem to have to wait too long once boarding began, before it was our turn. But Quelle Domage! When Gary was beckoned forwards and he turned the ignition on the scary red ECU light came on which we know means bad engine trouble.

What should we do? If we didn’t move we would be in the way, if we did there was a slight possibility that we would wreck the engine……..

What did we do?

We moved!

We drove onto the ferry promising ourselves that on the other side at Brodick as soon as possible we would park up and investigate the cause of the menacing red light.

On the ferry at Ardrossan harbour

With great trepidation we restarted the van when it came time to depart the ferry at Brodick hoping against hope that the red light was just a glitch and it would have disappeared…..but no, it was still there.

The ferry at Brodick…. plus random finger!

Brodick was very busy and we struggled to find anywhere to park our long vehicle. Finally we staggered into the Coop car park which was rammed. Gary was driving and I as navigator got him stuck in a dead end by the recycling bins.

Tempers were becoming fractured. I jumped out to see him reverse out of the dead end…..he revved the engine hard twice…not in anger as I erroneously thought……and miraculously…… the red light cleared and we were on our way again.

It was only 14 windy, twisty  miles to Lochranza through stunning coastal scenery past Goatfell, over the tops and we were finally there on site and pitched up!

Phew! What a view. It was definitely worth it!

The Final Countdown

Less than a week to go to our Arran adventure and our preparations have continued apace.

On Easter Monday our lovely friend Maggie organised a goodbye party for us with close friends. This was a fabulous day and all down to the hard work of Maggie who provided a sumptuous feast for 14 hungry people.

The Pearce ladies + one

Live music by Chris and Neil in the blazing sunshine of an unseasonally hot afternoon gave an extra sparkle to the occasion.

The next two younger generations had exhausting fun too. Here they are keeping Lady Edie busy…..or was it the other way round! She certainly seems to be in command!

Maggie, as well as starters and mains of dolmades, spanakopita, mixed olives, Greek salad and moussaka provided no less than 4 desserts including a Victoria Sponge cake and a rich chocolate torte…..all home cooked. She must have been cooking for days! But for the diners the effort was definitely worth it!

The balcony wasn’t sloping…..special camera effect possibly due to use of Prosecco lens!

On Tuesday we had our very, very dirty van washed at Coney Park where we store our Classic Hymer van by Adam from Clean Bay Marine Valeting Servicehttp://www.cleanbay.co.uk

Before Adam

I was very insistent that he take great care to wash our pop up roof vent…..only to discover that most of the extreme filth was on the inside! While he washed the exterior I cleaned the interior including the walls, windows, doors and floors.

Post Adam
Our Hymer Classic restored in all its glory…so shiny and gleaming it looks like it has had a respray!

When he had finished, after 4 hours of ceaseless work the van looked so much better and less battered almost new.

This was the second time we have had the Van cleaned by Clean Bay Marine Valeting and it certainly wont be the last.

On Thursday we took the van to a BP petrol station on Kirkstall Road which Gary had espied as selling LPG. The place we used to take it to in Meanwood had stopped trading a few years ago and we had struggled to find somewhere local that was easily accessible.

As ever we approached the self service LPG pump with trepidation. I know everyone will say its easy but we never quite remember how to use it. The loud blaring blast of gas as you undo the nozzle once you have finished always takes me by surprise as at that point we are usually so intent upon disconnecting the ruddy thing correctly. Additionally, the steps 1,2 and 3 of the instructions of how to use it had been ripped off the pump and so we had to try and work it out for ourselves. But we or rather Gary did….quite easily in the end…. my mind seemed to have been blown. Think I have let the caterpillars into my cabbage of a brain again so that it is full of holes!

Anyhow, job done we filled our tank up to 85% for less than thirty quid. That should meet our heating and cooking needs through till October.

Today, Friday has been a day of catching up with little bits that needed doing. So Gary has had his hair cut and met up with a friend at the cricket at Headingley…until miserable weather sent him home.We have also organised an internet shopping delivery of essential items for the van for late on Saturday evening. The nearest shop to us on Arran is 7 miles and either a bike ride or a bus ride away. so we want to be well stocked up for a bit whilst we establish what our work shifts and shopping options might be.

So finally,this weekend we have just our clothes to put into the van, a few last bits and pieces, books, DVD’s and crochet stuff and then somehow manhandle our bikes up to Coney Park and onto the back of the Van so that we are ready for our Grand Depart on Tuesday morning sharp!