I was about to say I didn’t have the best sleep last night….
But given the angle of the van it’s hardly surprising. It’s on an incline to the passenger side and downhill so I spent the night sliding into the near side wall and off the bottom of the bed. I had to climb my way back up the bed several times starting at 3.21am precisely…
So all in all it was actually a great sleep as I never really surfaced until 7.30 and this was the view out my window.
I never even heard them get up! What a view though eh?!
So first of all a few photos from last night.
It’s lovely here. The dogs are loving the freedom.
The sun came out and it was a lovely evening.
The fire was super toasty!
I loved watching the smoke billow up into the trees.
It’s getting dark it’s been a lovely long evening.
So we had bacon 🥓 in soft pitta for breakfast with coffee in the Jet Boil and decided to take the dogs for a big walk on the River Ayr to the Ballochmyle Cup and Ring Marks.
They are fascinating!
Craig took sneaky pics….
This is the 1751 inscription… Craig spotted it!
These next couple even look like they have ink still showing.
This rock is the other side of it, back on the main River Ayr Walk. Sadly graffitied now.
We start off on the woodland walk. This part is not actually alongside the river but much higher. You can look down on it.
We came up to the Ballochmyle Viaduct which was built from 1847-1848. There are 7 arches but the centre arch is the largest masonry railway arch in the UK.
This is the view point and to be honest, you can’t even see the 7 arches, let alone the span of the centre arch!!
This is us walking under one of the smaller ones.
There are beautiful bluebells everywhere.
Just like a carpet!
This photo doesn’t do it justice but it’s a really deep ravine don’t to the river.
Looking uphill there are fallen trees right across it. I did say to Craig we could recreate the Dirty Dancing movie scene on that flat log up there. Imagine falling off that?!?
We walked down into this field and I got a lovely gate photo in the sun.
The walk continues on through the style but we decided to turn around and head back.
We decided to turn up to the left to look for Kinencleugh Castle. We knew where it should be… but never actually got to it. The map didn’t take into account that there was a huge ravine in between our path at the castle. 🤦🏻♀️🤣
It was a lovely walk trying to find it though. Came across these giant badger lairs… or that’s what we assume they were. We had to cross them!
We got back on the River Walk path and headed back to the campsite.
The Catrine Show 2022 was being held in the field just across from us. It was fun to see them setting up and as we walked past we had a good nosy in at the cows, sheep and horses on show.
This lovely beach is just around the corner.
They all went for a paddle.
The bridge is stunning. The dogs have caused these ripples in the water.
Back at camp and the river has gone down a fair bit overnight. The dogs love going down paddling and it feels safer today!
Spot the Collie!
She who watches.
So I have swapped my camping gear and 3 Border Collies for lovely warm house, Downton Abbey on TV and the most gorgeous Gordon Setter, Elsie, for company!
She belongs to my friend Evelyn and they are out tonight so I am Elsie sitting.
I’m having the loveliest time (not even sure if that is English!) We went out for a walk in the park across the road and she got a bit of a fright when she saw this stag painting. I had to talk her through it and tell her it was ok! She was a good girl!
I then met a lovely lady and her dog Charlie and we had a lovely chat while the dogs had a blast!!!
Look at the lovely spread that I have for the evening! I’ve had some AF Gordon’s and tonic, some Ritz crackers and cheese and I am not opening the Maltesers as I will eat them all 🤦🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️🤣
Elsie was all worn out when we got back 😆🥰
She’s tired but a little bit sad when I leave.
It’s a good drive back to the campsite thought I’m scared to get there in the dark. Fear of getting stuck again. Craig walks
I’m back safe by 10.45pm and in front of the campfire again. It was a loverly interlude!
So the day starts well. To be fair it is pouring with rain but that doesn’t bother me in my van. I woke at 5.23am. Wide awake. I read for a bit then decided to go for an early shower.
I put the heater on to heat the van up for when I get back.
The campsite is lovely. There’s only one shower but it was lovely and warm and great to get in before everyone else gets up.
There are only 4 other vans on the site and no one is moving at 6.30am.
I get back to the van and there’s no heater working. I figure despite following all the “rules” around these heaters… maybe I didn’t actually switch it on so I try again. I make a coffee and sit down to enjoy it…. But it’s cold… the van that is, not the coffee.
I leave it because you shouldn’t be switching these heaters on and off loads….. they get very upset…. till about 15 minutes pass and I try again.
It’s 15C, I’m in my jammies and I’m cold. I have some cereal and decide since I’m still cold, just to pack up and head back home early. I was going to get my nails done today anyway as I couldn’t get another appointment. I have to be there for 10.30 so I went via the house to see if Craig needed anything brought down.
So toenails done and back down to the campsite. This is where it all goes a bit drastically wrong.
Now I may have said yesterday that Craig wanted to go to this site as they have a wild camping area down by the river. Willy who owns the campsite suggested we could have the tent on one half of the pitch with the van on the other. The pitch is right down on the River Ayr and it’s been raining heavily all night.
I reverse back down the small dirt track and I am so damn chuffed with myself… I don’t need Craig going left a bit, right a bit.. I get to where I want to be and reverse a bit further so I can pull up onto the spot I want to stop on.
Figured I’d be easier driving onto it than I would be reversing. How wrong could I be?!
Abbie the T5 heavy weight camper van slips about 10 inches to the left… towards the river and I am stuck. My cockiness comes back to bite me in the ass big time.
I took a photo after we both had a try but she just kept on slipping sideways.
We called Willy (the campsite owner) and he came down to save the day but honestly it took about 3 hours of hours. I was devastated I caused all that. At the time it seems like the most dramatic and terrifying thing in the world. Instead of staying calm, my anxiety had me in shock, half in tears, half shaking. Ridiculous looking back.
He basically dug her out…. With a shovel and bricks and complete patience.
He almost got her driven out completely when she slid sideways again and we were almost back to where we started.
The “leave no trace only footprints…. oh and loads of dug out gouges and tyre tracks” mantra ringing in my ears.
He decided that he was going to have to go use the quad bike to try and tow her out as digging wasn’t working.
Then starts the…. “Find the manual”…. “Where’s the front towing eye” …. All of which heightens my anxiety levels. You all know how well I react under pressure. We finally find it… a learning curve for us all… and thankfully I remember that I actually have the towing eye itself, in a bag in the back of the van.
So he threw some huge rocks on the front of the quad to give it weight and gently towed her out… Craig driving of course. I was far too scared to have that responsibility yet I felt dreadful for “making” Craig have to do it.
He then tried to tow her back into the correct position… by this time I just wanted to go back up to the main campsite. Or home maybe.
I was all over the place… just like the van.
Willy was so lovely all the time he worked on it. A calming influence telling me it would be ok and that he’d thought it might be worse when I called him…. He never complained.
This is where he left her and she’ll stay for the remainder of the weekend.
I’m puppy sitting tomorrow night so I’ll have to take Craig’s car for that… ain’t getting Abbie out now til Sunday.
So how do I feel…… absolutely shattered, exhausted, fearful, sad, you name any bad word and I’ll own it. I can’t take the “this could happen to anyone”…. I need to use it to beat myself up with.
Yet again I’ve proved that despite my love for camping… I struggle to cope with things that don’t go according to plan.
I’ve ruined the day. I’m stressed to the hilt, at the same time trying to soak up the atmosphere and breathe but I’m watching the dogs every move. Jumping at the slightest thing.
In a bid to get some kind of normality, Craig made a lovely dinner…
He had spicy wings and I had curried chicken breast on rocket.
The location is stunning. The river is much higher than it was last night. It’s dramatic and flowing like fizzing Coke due to the peat in the water.
I am trying to keep calm, trying not to worry, trying not to panic, trying not to snap at the slightest thing. This is meant to be fun….
I’m doing a lot of soul searchingtoday. Questioning everything all because one thing happened that could have happened to anyone…. just not to anyone who would have had the common sense to reverse onto the pitch first. Hey you live and learn and today was a huge learning curve. If the road isn’t tarmac’d I ain’t driving it 🤦🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️🤣🤣
None of the photos are loading but I’m publishing anyway… maybe they’ll come through. Maybe not. It’s the words that matter.
(It didn’t publish so I’m back home adding to this now!)
We took a wee walk further down the track and found this lovely wee hut that he lets out. It’s at the end of the path and so very private with only the river in front of you.
The puppers are allowed off lead down here and they are in their element.
I am, of course, waiting for any possible thing that could go wrong, to go wrong… another dog to appear, people to pass who don’t like dogs, I invent every scenario I can in my head.
None of that happens and we have a lovely evening. Especially when the dogs go to bed and finally I can switch off the ridiculously high alert status.
I am calm though slightly shaken. 🤦🏻♀️🤣🤣 and off to sleep at a 45degree angle!