I woke early that morning looking forward to my trip to Balmaha but guess what? - the weather gods had decided to ruin my final plans and replace the lovely sunshine of the last week-and-a-bit with a blanket of grey cloud and a mist over the loch. Hoping that it might soon clear up I took the dogs for a walk, sorted out some breakfast then started on the packing up process but as time went on it became obvious that the sun wouldn't be making an appearance any time soon. With everything packed away in the van for the second time in less than twenty four hours, and with my Balmaha trip abandoned, I took the dogs for a walk into the village and back before finally setting out on the second leg of my journey home.
The cloud lasted until I was several miles south of Glasgow then the sky started brightening up, and by the time I'd reached the turn-off for Moffat the sun was out; that was just typical! Maybe I should have stuck to my original plan and stayed at the Moffat site as intended; that way I would have seen another different place and probably got some more photos, but there was no point regretting what I had or hadn't done - Moffat wasn't going to disappear so I could always go there another time. By the time I'd reached Annandale Water I was ready for a brew and a snack so I pulled in, parked up, and rather than buy something in the cafe I dragged the suitcase stove out from the back of the van and made my own brew and a sandwich. A dog walk round the lake followed then I went to have a quick look round the shop, where I got an unexpected bargain - a new blue camping chair for only £8.99! After I'd straightened the frame of my original one it had lasted all week without collapsing and would probably still be usable for some time to come, but it would be handy to have a new one just in case and I wasn't going to pass up a bargain like that!
Back on the road again I headed south at a steady pace, then as I left Scotland behind and came back into England I had another spur-of-the-moment change of plan - my camping friends Colin and Joan lived not far from the motorway on the outskirts of Carlisle so I would pay them a surprise visit. It was a bit of a mad idea as I had no way of knowing if they would be in - it was a weekday and they could be at work - but it was worth a try. I had to get there first though - I'd never been to their house before so I was relying on what I remembered from having looked it up on Google Earth several months previously. Fortunately I remembered which A road I needed when I came off the motorway and as I drove along there were several things which looked familiar; when I saw the Morrisons supermarket I knew I was getting close and just a couple of minutes later I was turning into their avenue. It was a good sign when I saw their car parked on the drive and as I approached the front door I heard voices coming from round the side of the house - they were both in, and needless to say were very surprised to see me. Joan got me a drink and we spent a very pleasant hour or so sitting chatting while the dogs played in the back garden; it was good to see them but all too soon it was time for me to leave and continue my journey south.
It was early evening by the time I finally arrived home and after taking the essentials out of the van I was glad to be able to relax for a while. As I downloaded my photos onto the pc I thought back over the last ten days; I'd been to some nice places, met some friendly people, had some brilliant weather and got loads of good photos, but best of all was Invercaimbe - it must be one of the most beautiful locations in the UK and I'd well and truly fallen in love with it. It really was a very peaceful and special place, and as I'd driven away from there for the last time I felt like I'd left a little bit of my heart behind. So who knows, maybe next year I'll return - in fact as I write this I'm already making plans!
- Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it