A life less complicated

Having reached a crossroads in my life I am choosing to step off the treadmill that is my busy life and take time out to travel.  On October 5th 2017 I set off with my Springer Poppy in our motorhome (subsequently swapped for a caravan) ‘freedombird’ initially to explore the remote beauty of the UK coastline and then – well let’s see……

We are compiling a beach guide on our way round: Freedombird UK Beach Guide

To catch up with our earlier adventures in:

  1. Cornwall from 5th October 17 to 11th February 18 –   Freedombird in Cornwall
  2. Devon from 11th February to 19th March 18 – Freedombird in North Devon
  3. Somerset from 19th March – 29th April 18 – Freedombird in Somerset
  4. South Wales from 29th April – 14th August 18 – Freedombird in South Wales
  5. West and North Wales from 14th August – 21st October 18 –

 

Moving over to the East Coast and Edinburgh….

Well it seems the rain has backed off for a bit, with just a couple of light showers as we were packing up we were away in the dry by 11am. The journey of 85 miles, one of our longest so far, was also one of the busiest, driving through Glasgow (albeit via the M8) and into the outskirts of Edinburgh, but we did it without a hitch, even following the CAMC directions written on a post-it, rather than trusting the Sat Nav! The sun was shining on our arrival and we were soon settled on our pitch.

The beauty of this site, aside from it being on the edge of Edinburgh is that the shore is a short 10 minute walk away – so off we went. Now the tide was in so there was only a little strip of beach exposed, part sand and stone.

Enough beach for us to have a little play and for Poppydog to expend a bit of energy! We are looking forward to seeing the beach when the tide is out, as it promises to be a large area of sand.

There is a wide walkway / cycle path backed by open grassland (some sections mown and others left to run wild) which we shall explore during our stay here.

With views across the Forth to the coast of Fife, we are keen and excited to continue our journey.

A very different day out in Gourock….

Well it started to rain during yesterday evening and hasn’t really stopped! We’ve been soaked twice and got damp quite a few other times (nipping to the loo, fetching water etc.) – what a difference a day makes! Still as this is our last day here in Largs we have an agenda to complete, so waterproofs packed we set off for Gourock, our most north westerly point for this section of our journey – we shall be back at some point to complete Scotland from Glasgow and Edinburgh upwards. We parked easily (not surprisingly) on the front at the beginning of Gourock and as the tide was fully in followed the coastal path along the promenade towards town.

There wasn’t any beach to access, as West Bay, a mostly stony and rocky beach was completely covered by the tide, though Poppydog peered hopefully through the railings from time to time! Across the bay, on a clear day, the Argyle Peninsulas would have been in clear view and I guess the bay dotted with multicoloured sails was f all the moored yachts.

Towards the town some local children were enjoying the outdoor pool inspite of the driving rain.

Beyond the Ferry terminal and railway station lies Cardwell Bay, our furthest beach, looking equally stony beneath the tide.

Wandering back along the promenade, facing into the still falling rain was not the most pleasant experience, however this colourful display did lighten the spirit briefly!

Back in the car, we stopped briefly to take a look at Cloch Lighthouse…

And then for Poppydog to have a proper run around we called in to look at Lunderston Bay, the last beach on our list.

Clearly the best of the sand remains south of Largs! Still today we are wet and not terribly fussy – any empty beach will do!

Two thoughts of the day:

Why is it that when it rains it feels like it has been raining for ever and when the sun shines it always feels a very temporary affair?

So far since October 17, we have been travelling up the West Coast – I wonder what the East Coast has in store?

Oh my, our first island experience on Great Cumbrae…..

A cloudy start to the day but still warm and as the afternoon arrived the sun came with it! Today we are having our first experience of an Island visit by ferry – we are off on the 7 minute crossing from Largs to Great Cumbrae.

And what a happy little journey it was – first on and first off!

We decided to take an anti-clockwise journey using the coastal road which hugs the shore all the way round and we very soon came across our first beach – White Bay.

The road is mostly a wide single track road with plenty of passing places and little nooks to park up in on the way. There were few cars on the road but plenty of bikes and little scooters, both of which are available to hire in a number of places, so stopping and starting to take photos or explore further was never a problem. Our first stop was appropriately Wine Bay (not that I had any then but I am now!) a mostly stony beach though the tide is fully in.

We took the opportunity to have a play and a paddle as apart from a fairly constant stream of cyclists along the road there was no one about.

It really is absolutely magical, clear, warmish waters, misty island views (Bute), birdsong, the occasional chatter of passing cyclists – what a pity I didn’t bring a tent or we would have been tempted to stay awhile!

We did eventually move on to Little Skate Bay and just around the corner the larger and sandier Bell Bay.

Finding ourselves a little sandy nook for another paddle and wonder!

A short hop to Fintry Bay…

A stony beach, with a popular picnic spot on the grass above and also home to a very busy cafe with atleast 50 bikes abandoned outside!

And a particularly well loved (and indeed much appreciated) Toilet block.

A bit further along the road was this rather lovely memorial to those lost during the wars with no known graves.

Beyond which we discovered this little gem – Sheriffs Port Beach.

Here we spent a good while paddling in the shallows, watching the world go by and of course chasing stones.

It was nearly 5pm by the time we reached Millport, with the tide well on its way out, we wandered through the town? which was buzzing with people enjoying the sunshine, picking up or dropping off hired bikes and scooters, eating in the many street cafes or wandering along the promenade gazing at the fabulous views beyond the towns plentiful beaches – fabulous place to live – I wonder what it would be like to retire here? From the pretty little harbour…

Along the lively sandy main beach – Newtown Bay.

To the mostly deserted sandy Kames Bay…

And all the way around the crescent shaped beach to view the town from the other side.

One more beach to see – Ballochmartin Bay.

Then it was time to catch the ferry home Two thoughts of the day:

What a fabulous day we have had – up there with my favourites.

We will definitely return to visit as many if the other islands as we can – maybe with a tent?

A rather lovely sunny day in Largs…..

Wow so it really can get warm in Scotland as another bright sunny day laid ahead of us. We dropped the couple of miles down the lane into Largs and easily found off street parking at the bottom of the lane. We walked to the northern most part of the long promenade where Noddsdale water cuts this section of rather stony shoreline off from where we were yesterday. The tide was fully in…And wonderfully calm again.So we wandered along the fairly busy promenade for a couple of miles to the Yacht Club with fabulous views across the water of Largs.We passed by the Yacht Club beach which was quite stony.Before venturing down onto a little partly sandy cove just by the Pencil Monument.

Built to commemorate the battle of Largs in 1263, where the Scottish defeated the Norwegian Vikings. Pencil Beach, though quite stony with patches of lovely pink sand was an empty and welcome paddling spot for us both!

Next up was Castle Bay, again a mixture of sand and stones and being used by a junior sailing club.

And then back to Largs Bay, disappointingly nearly all stones with most people opting to picnic and play on the grass on the other side of the promenade but of course right up Poppydog’s street!

The town was busy but has a really nice atmosphere with the ice cream parlours and fish and chips a plenty.

Two thoughts of the day:

I’ve been told that you can get the best ice cream in Scotland here but I’m just not sure from which parlour!

Some promenades are just joyless concrete walkways – this one however a very happy place!

Back on the road again….

Well after a very enjoyable 10 days away, spending time with my Dad, (doing a fair bit of hard labour in his garden, I might add) and visiting friends, we’re back in Largs to pick up where we left off. The drive was a long one both there and back but we were very lucky with no traffic issues either way and the drive from the Lakes up to Glasgow is wonderfully scenic and the motorway quiet enough that you can actually enjoy it! As the sun had come out during the last 30 miles of our journey we took ourselves down to Meigle Bay (just north of Largs which was very busy) for a quiet dip and play in the clear shallows.

With not another soul in sight, the water completely calm and glassy and fabulous views of the Cumbrae Islands and Bute beyond it was idyllic.

Poppydog who had travelled without any fuss from 7.30am to 3pm (just one stop) was delighted to be running free and splashing about in the shallows. Video on Instagram under Freedombird.blog where incidentally I also post photos of my beach of the day.

Back on site we found the caravan tucked away in a field on its own (having been moved out of the main field by the site owners to make room for others in our absence as was agreed) and though we were unable to get it perfectly level (side to side) decided it was close enough for the next few nights! In full sun during the evening and in the shade of a tree in the morning – ideal.

Two thoughts of the day:

It was nice to take time out of our journey to visit friends and family but it is also nice to be back by the sea!

With the use of decent WiFi we have confirmed the rest of this year’s journey, heading across to Edinburgh on Thursday and then gradually making our way down the east coast of Scotland and Northumberland to Whitley Bay and then following the A1 down south visiting friends on the way as next year we shall explore the South Coast. Fear not though we shall be back to explore the rest of Scotland in the future.