Richard's Retirement Blog


10th - 16th March 2011

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Thusrday 10th

A very pleasant drive from Kirkcudbright via Girvan to Maybole through pretty countryside; then up the coast to Ayr - worth a visit in its own right sometime - with a strong wind off the sea; then over the hill to Kilmarnock with said wind blowing in a very destabling manner from behind and lovely views in front; then through Glasgow.

Not for the first time, I got into trouble by doing what I was told. On the M77, Sign 1 said For M8 West and Clyde Tunnel follow M8 Tradeston and Kinning Park. Sign 2 said A8 Tradeston, so I didn't take it. The A8 is not the M8. Sign 3 was a repeat of sign 1. Sign 4 said M8 Tradeston and Kinning Park - but it was at the bottom of an exit I didn't take after sign 2.

Plan B: take next exit onto Clydesdale expressway. Problem with Plan B: they've built a barrier so you can't do that.

Plan C: Exit onto A82 in a mile or so. Problem with Plan C: I'm hopelessly trapped in the left lane, and forced to take the next exit into Glasgow City Centre - with a caravan? Just what I did not want to do.

Plan D: Follow the SatNav. Problem with Plan D: it wants me to turn right, the wrong way up a one-way street. Then it wants me to turn right into a road which is closed (road works). Then it wants me to turn right up a side-road I know gets very narrow and cluttered with parked cars and tight bends.

Plen E: Guess. We're heading west past the University: keep going, and we must reach either the Expressway or Crow Road or the Great Western Road, and then I'll know where I am. So I got here; but the last bit was slow and tiresome.

Friday 11th

Snowing. Cold. Horrid. Not even nice snow, wet sloppy stuff that makes a mess. Ugh. We'll stay at home and keep warm and dry.

Saturday 12th

Not a lot better, but we did get out a little. Went to see the ruins of a Roman bath house (sound familiar?), this time on the Antonine Wall at Bearsden. Compared to the one at Ravengalss, there are only foundations; but the floor plan is complete, so you can get a better idea of what the rooms were for and how they were used.

Sunday 13th

A much better day, and we went to Falkirk to see the Falkirk Wheel, a device for lifting boats from one canal to another with a vertical distance of 35 metres between them. Absolutely fascinating, and deserving of a page of its own. Here it is.

Monday 14th

First to Dalmuir to see the drop loch. This is really a follow-up to yesterday's trip to the Falkirk Wheel, and is part of the same project to re-open the Clyde - Forth east-west canal across Scotland. The Wheel replaces an old set of eleven locks, which could not be reopened because they've been built over; the drop lock gets the canal under a main road where there used to be an opening bridge. I won't attempt to improve on James Gentle's excellent description, but I did take a couple of pics of my own:

Then to the Trossachs, up a very beautiful and lonely back road, past Loch, Loch Chon and Loch Arklet to the lonely eastern shore of Loch Lomond, quite different from the western shore with the main road to Oban and Fort William running along it.

Two views of Loch Lomond looking north:

Two views looking south; two versions of each. I've noted before that my camera takes pictures into the sun with a sort of before the storm look to them: if you lock the exposure in another direction before sighting into the sun, it doesn't. Good-oh!

There was a particularly good waterfall - the advantage of its being wet recently:

An excellent late lunch at a garden centre; and so home.

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