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Driving through Cowal and starting our return trip


Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 09 September 2006

Saturday 09 September, driving through Cowal and starting our return trip

Elisabeth does not feel really good yet, but the worst pain is gone. By 10 am the tent is completely dry and a while later we are ready to leave. There is still a cloud of fog flowing through the air, but it disappears slowly. The camping ground is also pretty dry due to the higher temperatures during the day and we are happy that we can pack our things dry.
Lifting mistTonight we have to be in a hotel in Motherwell, near Hamilton, but we have the whole day ahead of us and Elisabeth indicates that she can sit without problems in the car again. We must, however, regularly add toiletstops.
Dunoon CastleFirst we drive through Dunoon to the south and follow the long dead-end road around the southern tip of the peninsula. On top of a grassy rock is Dunoon Castle, right in the center and less than 200 years old. Dunoon is the capital of Cowal although there are far fewer people than before. There was once a nuclear submarine base nearby (Holy Loch) but it was closed in 1992, which of course did not do much good for the economy.
Knockdow Estate DunoonThe road around the southern tip is long but fairly quiet. From here we have a nice view on Bute and we now know that we definitely have to go there again one day. Here too, there are vast farmlands, but we also encounter a military base, almost at the end of the road. On the way back we have a beautiful view of the coast of Ayrshire and Dunoon. In itself a nice place, but the hospital visit yesterday was sufficient for me and we drive quickly to the next area.
Tichnabruaich view pointWe go through the beautiful Glen Lean to the west and then on to the peninsula Cowal to the south and we go up further and further. Slightly north of Tighnabruaich we suddenly have a great view of Loch Riddon and the Kyles of Bute. There is only a small parking lot and luckily there is just one plave left for our car. The skies are clear and the weather good, and there are many sailing boats at sea.
Loch Riddon and the Kyles of Bute Loch Riddon and the Kyles of ButeWe are high above the water and the rocks seem to be a popular climbing destination. We especially admire the view that changes every moment when there is some vague fog in the air. In the nearby Tighnabruaich is a sailing school and a number of boat rental companies, perhaps that explains the large amount of sailing ships we see.
Loch Riddon and the Kyles of ButeWith a temperature far above 20 degrees Celsius it is great to be outside. We still have to do that one day, sailing for a longer time with a boat over a loch, kyle, sound or whatever water in Scotland. But only with good weather!
Then we continue south on single road tracks and most of the time we have fantastic views of the water. Here too, people are busy picking blackberries.
Road at Otter FerryThe area here in the south is hilly and slightly sloping, but more to the north are the higher mountains. We drive north along the west coast, past Portavadie and at Otter Ferry we take the steep road that I drove alone yesterday. Only from this side it all seems much less steep and certainly less exciting, but certainly not less beautiful.
Gate at GlendaruelAt Glendaruel we search for a while for the Kilmodan Sculptured Stones that eventually turn out to be in the cemetery. Big signs point to them until you're about 200 meters away, then you have to search.
A lonely road, parallel to the main road, brings us to the north where we see a glimpse of Dunans Castle from afar.
Dunans CastleWe drive there and people are busy with a major renovation plan to turn the gardens into a park and the castle itself is also being restored. It is not finished yet, but seems to be very nice with good hiking trails through the wild garden. We also have a chat with an elderly English couple who, like us, love Scottish castles and do their best to visit as much as possible.
GlasgowBut it's already 5 o'clock, time flies again, and we really have to go to Glasgow because we are still a few hours away from our hotel at Motherwell and Elisabeth feels the back pain returning. Gradually the beautiful nature disappears behind us, although the mountains only really disappear when we are 20 kilometers away from Glasgow. And just like last year, our navigation gets confused around Glasgow and we have to try and avoid the traffic jams of all returning day-trippers who also enjoyed the beautiful weather and the environment.
Eventually we get past Glasgow but then the navigation abandons us again in Motherwell. According to the device the hotel should be right in the center of town but when inquiring some people it appears that we have to be in a neighboring park. People are very helpful, but an already tipsy man in a residential area after 5 minutes of explanation even goes sitting on the driver's seat to explain the route to Elisabeth. After a minute he suddenly realizes that he is behind the wheel and that he is explaining the route to the co-driver with his double tongue. We think it is funny, especially because the best man is not annoying at all, otherwise we would never have allowed him to just sit down in our car.
It is 9 o'clock when we finally arrive at the hotel, a Holiday Inn and a perfect room. Although, it is still so warm that camping would have been pleasant now, better than the cold we had in the past 2 nights. It is a pity that our trip is almost over, with such weather we would want to stay for another week!

 


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