I’ve started this week on Saturday from week 34 because it was the start of our holiday. So there’s an added bonus day. I struggled with which one photo to choose, but I’ll be writing about our ‘roadtrip’ around part of Scotland over the next week or so if you want to see more from our holiday. So here’s week 35 of Project 52.
On Saturday we set off fairly early to our first stop of point. We’d decided to stay overnight on the way up to break the journey, so Lancaster was a good waypoint. On the way up he was fine with detouring for a National Trust visit to Rufford Old Hall because he spotted a John Deere dealership he knew of on the way. The National Trust place was a funny one really. Small, but ok for a brief stop off and something for lunch.
I’d booked the Holiday Inn with our Tesco Clubcard rewards, so our stay was free. It was ok, a good location for continuing our travels. The pool was a good size. We ate at an Indian restaurant in a former church so it doesn’t serve alcohol. The food was great, but we waited nearly an hour for our main which was ridiculous considering it wasn’t hugely busy. Poor N had to suffer more of my university reminiscing.
Sunday was an early start as we were heading onto Glasgow for a tour slot. Breakfast was much busier than expected as a tour bus load were there at the same time and a whole load of child competition cyclists. N had hoped to stop at the Museum of Rural Life just outside Glasgow, but we didn’t think having a quick hour there would have been enough and wouldn’t have left time to get lunch. So we headed into Hampden Park via lunch and diesel stop (5p per litre cheaper than home!), for the tour around the National Football stadium and museum. There was an irish dancing competition happening at the same place so there were young dancers everywhere with very ornate hairdos!
The tour was good, although not a patch on Wembley given we don’t know that much about Scottish football, and Wembley is just bigger and newer. But the museum was much better – lots of interesting stuff to see and look at.
On Monday, we did an early start to drive out to Inverary Castle. We stopped off at the Jail too. Then back to Glasgow for the Riverside Museum, which was a brilliant transport museum where we could go on a tall ship too. We got lost trying to get back to the hotel, but luckily didn’t miss our swimming slot. It was very busy, but I got chatting for some dinner and entertainment tips from another woman which was handy. So working out the subway to go out for dinner and a bit of arcade fun.
Tuesday we had an early start to drive to get the ferry to the Isle of Bute. It was a good ferry ride – N’s first (he seems to be over his boat issues of a few years ago). We drove around the island, cow spotting, trying to spot seals, and saw some old stones. A stop in a little village meant a rainstorm, and we had lunch in a little team room – Titanic ‘museum’ – village shop. A very nice simple toastie, none of the annoying fussy sandwiches and extras that you don’t want. The sun came out for us to go back to Rothesay for a look at the castle, before heading back on the ferry.
The next stop was to Loch Lomond – a nice easy basic hotel attached to a pub, so handy for dinner and relaxing. We went out after dinner for more cow spotting!
On Wednesday we changed plans – I had wanted to drive up to Glencoe and Fort William, but decided against the 4 hour round trip in favour of staying around Loch Lomond instead. We went to Balloch Castle to walk around as you can no longer go in the ruins due to restoration and safety work being done. Then off to Loch Lomond Shores which is shopping, entertainment, cruises and activities in one place. All the parking is free unbelievably.
The shopping was pretty rubbish, but we did Sea Life Centre, the falconry centre, N did a Treezone high ropes course, and we fitted in a cruise around Loch Lomond too – with the most annoying family with 3 boys including 1 toddler who the parents let roam around while they all chatted through the cruise commentary, taking over 3-4 different benches and blocking our view. So annoying. I even had to tell the mum to sit down at one point. They didn’t even listen to the safety briefing saying keep children sitting down and supervised.
Thursday was our last full day. Checked out of Balloch, and drove to Stirling. We started at Stirling Castle trying to avoid the coach tour groups. Then went on to Blair Drummond Safari Park. Bizarrely we had to drive nearly to the exit to do the safari bit, then there were only 4 bits you drove round, the rest was walking safari or viewing platforms for the bigger animals.
We ate tea in Tim Hortons to try it out, we don’t have any particularly near us. The verdict was ok. Then we went to see The Kelpies. We weren’t late enough to see them lit up but they’re still a pretty spectacular sigh.
On Friday it was a full on day of driving. We left the hotel around 8.45 to go north to a Youtube farmer’s farm shop for N. We also decided to spontaneously detour off south of Glasgow for the Museum of Rural Life which we’d not got to on the way up. It involved more walking than anticipated (uphill) as the shuttle tractor trailer ride was full for hours, but was an interesting stop.
We had a few stops more than planned. Tebay services to pick up some food requests for our neighbours, and we spotted N’s hairdresser there. The traffic was awful being a Friday afternoon and all the roadworks, so we didn’t get back til 7. We’d also had to stop for a car check as a warning light came on (emissions/engine – eek, but said we could continue driving but to get it checked out). I’m not impressed given it’s only just gone in to fix all the lights that came on – including an engine service light which comes on regularly, and is now on again. Plus it’s had a service and MOT. Arghh. Now I’ve got to hope I can get it in soon and get a replacement car, and hope this isn’t in for too long/too expensive.
Saturday, it was an early start for a friendly football match. Against a team of lots from N’s school so it was one they all wanted to win. N’s team were missing 3 starting defenders, and a couple of strong strikers/midfielders, but they did a great job winning 5-2. Could have been more goals for both teams. N started the match which was great, and then came back on at half time, so he had a good stint, and played 2 different positions. Hopefully that gives them a boost going into the start of the season next week in a new league.