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Via Dumfries to Ayr, Scotland

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 24 August 2006

Thursday 24 August, via Dumfries to Ayr, Scotland

We wake up late at our hotel where we arrived late last night. We were exhausted and wake up quite late, we leave the hotel just before the check-out time of 12 o'clock. A nice room by the way, we are going to pay more attention to this hotel chain (Travelodge). And because we booked a few months in advance, the price was only 26 pounds (about. € 39). But once we are gone, we race to Scotland, because we want to go there. The weather has brightened up after yesterday and after a short shower the sun breaks through.
Dumfries, statue of Robert Burns DumfriesAt Gretna we cross the border with Scotland and first we drive to the center of Dumfries, in the Middle Ages a flourishing trading town. Due to its success, it has been destroyed several times by the English. The city now attracts tourists in memory of the best-known Scottish poet Robert Burns who spent the last 5 years of his life here at the end of the 18th century.
Dumfries Dumfries, Midsteeple prisonWe first look for a terrace and they are only a few of them. We still find a table and after yesterday's rain we did not expect to be sitting outside in the sun today. High Street is the shopping street of Dumfries and a favorite meeting place is the Midsteeple, the old court with its own prison in the middle of the street.
Galloway Forest Clatteringshaws Loch, GallowayAfter this break we drive quickly to the west, through the Galloway Forest Park. This is a beautiful area for walking (there are several walks indicated), and here and there are facilities to extinguish forest fires. What strikes us is that some paths are moving up and down when we walk on them. Is it just swampy or is there something below the path through which it moves. When we jump up and down you see the whole path going up and down!
Bruce’s stone Galloway Forest ParkWe walk to one of the two Bruce's Stones in the park, a stone where Robert the Bruce supposedly took a rest after he defeated the English in 1307. Scotsmen are attached to their history, that is why there are many such places throughout Scotland with a story, legend or real history attached to it.
Murray’s MonumentA little further along the A712 we pass Murray's Monument, in memory of an illiterate sheep boy who worked himself up to become a professor in Oriental Languages at Edinburgh University. The high building can be seen from afar and from the moument the view over the surroundings must be very nice, but we want to drive a lot further today so we skip this walk.
Take care!When we are almost out of the woods we encounter this beautiful traffic sign. We recently started to look better for someone who wants to put pictures of all kinds of traffic signs on the internet. We drive a bit in the direction shown and there is indeed a strange bump in the road.
Alisa Craig Crossraguel AbbeyAt Girvan we reach the west coast and see in the distance the island of Alisa Craig (Elves Rock in Gaelic). During the Reformation it was a place where Catholics fled, nowadays there is a bird sanctuary and in the summer a boat departs daily from Girvan to the island.
On the right the ruin of Crossraguel Abbey where the abbots became powerful landlords in the Middle Ages.
At the end of the afternoon we arrive in Ayr where we search for a hotel. We do not get the last boat to Arran from Ardrossan, which was actually the goal for today. Tomorrow we will go that way. Smoking is not allowed in the rooms of the Almont hotel, but when we walk out again, the owner quickly arrives with an ashtray and asks us to leave the window open all the time. The room is very small and not really worth the price ( 70), but we are still tired and do not feel like looking for anything else, the few places we have already tried were full.
Ayr AyrIt is a beautiful, warm evening and we are not the only ones strolling along the long beach promenade. Especially young people drive in groups with their cars back and forth over the long boulevard where 15 miles an hour is the speed limit, which of course can sometimes be difficult when you are so young. An agent who also drives up and down keeps an eye on things. We are close to the new city with wide, straight streets from the Victorian period, much more uncomfortable than the old city with its nice (and sometimes dilapidated) alleys.
Beach at Ayr Beach at AyrWe take a beach walk along the long beach. Many places in Scotland with much smaller and less beautiful beaches like to advertise that their's is an 'award-winning beach'. Fortunately they don't have these screaming signs here. What is the point anyway for a beach-award if nobody ever swims there. We could start an award-giving company, Scotland seems to love awards. Well, in our opinion Ayr has an award-winning sea and beach!
Sunset in Ayr Sunset in AyrBut of course it is also beautiful because of the nice weather and the spectacular skies where the sun shines through the clouds. The colors change every few minutes and we keep taking pictures.
Sunset in Ayr Sunset in AyrThe sun is still above sealevel when we return to the hotel, because it suddenly becomes very cold outside at 8 o'clock. We read something in our hotel room and fall asleep early. We are tired of the hustle and bustle of the last time and this holiday we are going to try not to take it easy.


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