Date: 9th June 2018
Travelled: 126 kilometres from Castle Douglas to Ballatrae, Scotland.
Visited: Cardoness Castle, £4.50pp and Castle Kennedy Gardens, £4.50pp
Stayed: Ballatrae, on the beach, free. N55.10364, W05.00862
Today we continue further west along the southern Galloway coast before turning north. Another sunny day according to the forecast so we are up relatively early. A last check of the Hymer and we say goodbye to Castle Douglas and turn onto the A75.
Within half an hour we turn again for the village of Gatehouse of the Fleet, they have some interesting names for places in the UK. The village stands on a hill overlooking fleet bay. We don’t know the history of it all but it does sound formidable. From here it’s only a short drive to Cardoness Castle.
We pull up outside the castle and a lady looks out the office door, perhaps a little excited we must be her first customers for the day. Pam calls out to her saying we are going to have a coffee first. She disappears back into the office.
When we finally walked into the office the lady seemed a bit disappointed that we had a membership and entry was free. Asking if we were Australian, she then enquired if we have any McCullochs in our family, I responded with I had a McCulloch chainsaw but I sold it years ago. Not sure if she saw the humour in it or just thought I was a pratt. Cardoness Castle is another impressive tower house built in the 14th century. This one by the McCulloch Family.
Pam sitting on a park bench at the base of the tower, taking in the view. The wild flowers in the grass are just lovely.
Another view of the tower from the south. The lower entry lead to a series of storerooms which vaulted stone ceilings. All in amazing condition given its age.
The McCulloch’s appeared to be a hard lot and not neighbours to take lightly.
The view across Fleet Bay from the tower parapets.
There are lots of places to explore with information panels to explain who did what where !
So we say goodbye to Cardoness and continue west on the A75. As we approach Stranraer an hour or so later we see the sign for Castle Kennedy Gardens and turn in to have a wander.
From the message board at the entrance to the gardens. By the way this garden is not covered by our Scottish Environment Membership much to Pam’s displeasure.
This is the ruin of Castle Kennedy, I now what your thinking another bloody tower house ! No this is just the backdrop for some 75 acres of gardens, both formal and informal.
Didn’t wear these hats in Norway last year but here we’re in Scotland, catching a tan.
The gardens are full of various rhododendrons in huge clusters. The gardens sit along an isthmus between two lochs.
Looking across the lily pond which was in full flower. According to the blurb most of the spadework required to build the garden was completed in 1730.
Pam enjoying a rest at the far end of the gardens. It takes more than 90 minutes to walk the path we choose. Lochinch Castle which is really more of a stately home stands at the far end of the estate, it the current home to the laird.
We wander back to the Hymer and drive the last couple of miles into Stranraer for a very late lunch.
We find a nice parking spot on the waterfront. It’s low tide but still a pleasant aspect for lunch. The Lonely Planet describes Stranraer as an old ramshackle port. But on a day like today it has an ambience. We could stay here for the night but there may be something better just up the coast.
Bonus photo, new toy on the back of the Hymer. The detachable scooter rack came with the Hymer when we originally purchased it. We normally leave it at the storage facility, not this year.
Half an hour later we park up with 3 other motorhomes on the edge of a shingle beach at Ballatrae.
We enjoy the last of the afternoon and evening sunlight with this magnificent view.