Today we set off from the Lake District, after a very pleasant night’s rest and an exceptionally filling full English breakfast, stopping only to top up the fuel tanks before we hit the road; first destintination, Gretna Green.
It was somewhere around Penrith that we had this crazy idea of posting a photo on Facebook, a photo that suggested we’d had ulterior motives for pausing at the infamous Blacksmiths… We posed, we photo’d, we posted, and we waited. Crickets. Not one single friend made comment, leaving us feeling rather perplexed and pondering on two questions: 1) did they think we’d actually done it, and were either not surprised, or too surprised to say anything. Or 2) they knew it was utter bollox and refused to play along. Hmm.
From there we continued on towards Dumbarton, skirting around the outter ring of Glasgow, and waved as we went past the Premier Inn we’d be staying at on our return. The drive up from Dumbarton to Oban is a scenic one, a drive that should be savoured, enjoy every bend and curve, every hill climb and mountain view. Don’t rush it. On the approach into Oban, make sure you do what we did, paused for a moment to enjoy the view from the A816, or Soroba Rd, as it looks out across the bay and over the rooftops of Oban. Spectacular!
From there it’s a quick downhill run into the town and around to the harbour. If you’re canny, book your ferry for early afternoon, they’re generally quieter, and you can have a wee wander along the waterfront while you wait! We took the opportunity to peer in some windows. If you wander around the two main roads, you’ll find a fantastic old fashioned sweets shop – be warned, there are some seriously good sweeties in there. We came out with our pockets ladened.
Once onto the ferry – a thumping big one – we parked the car and clambered up through the various ladders and gangways before being birthed into the main lounge and dining area. Yes, I do mean ‘birthed’, the long and narrow canals that bore us along certainly reminded me of high school biology lessons on the birthing procedure, with said infant then being ejected out into the world.
Many years ago I began a ritual of sorts, that upon boarding a CalMac ferry there was a certain treat that must be consumed – it’s a law, almost, or at least in my book it is. A Tunnocks caramel wafer, 30g of chocolatey, wafery, caramenly goodness. I don’t care that I’ve just made up those words, to anyone who’s had one, you’ll appreciate my sentiments, to anyone who hasn’t, hunt one down and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
With the ferry crossing being relatively quick, and smooth thankfully, we exited the ship in our little car, and once into the town centre of Craignure, we turned left, or west, and began the trek along the A849 towards Fionnphort, where we would be staying for the next week. If you’ve never driven on narrow Scottish roads, you’d best be warned, single-track roads with passing places are the norm, use them, don’t be an ass and try to overtake someone as you’ll end up in a ditch. Instead, pull over, admire the view, and wave at the passing vehicle. Much more pleasant, and far less risky. Not to mention the views are fantastic, and occasionally hilarious!
We arrived safely into Fionnphort, and our self-contained cottage/van at the Seaview Bed & Breakfast – they have rooms available in the main building, are pet friendly (awesome labradors called Megan and Lainie), apart from the self-contained ‘Bothy’. Unloading and getting ourselves set up for the coming week, we managed to organise tea before taking in the sunset. It’s a hard life.