Portpatrick to Girvan, plus a bit more

Day 26  Thurs 24 March: I’m aware that I haven’t commented much on the stunning scenery over the last 100+ miles. Well that’s because I haven’t actually seen much of it. According to the locals,  this “driech” or “drecht” damp, grey weather is not uncommon. There have been some tantalising glimpses of estuaries and dark red/grey castle ruins but most of the high and distant land has been shrouded in cloud. After a very wet start on the climb out of Portpatrick today, again it didn’t bode well. Despite this, I really appreciated the helping hand of the wind on my back at last. Stranraer was reached very quickly. Thanks to Terry Simpson (Lifeboat Ops Manager and local baker), Sean and Dylan (ILB crew)  for turning out to welcome me and stuffing my bags with more KitKats and a Mars bar. These supplies were, apparently essential fuel supplements for the notorious Glen App, Carrock Hill and Ballantrae climbs on the road ahead to Girvan. They (and the southerly tail wind) certainly helped.  An hour ahead of schedule at Girvan = nobody yet at the LB Station.  Just a lonely but lovely old Mersey Class Lifeboat moored in the harbour. Actually, not so lonely.  There were many lovely old working boats of all shapes & sizes in the busy harbour.  Roddie, ex Cox’n and Ian (DLA) were soon in attendance. Much good banter and tales of fascinating local Lifeboat shouts over hot mugs of tea and more KitKats was most welcome. A Scottish Lifeboat crew room is clearly not complete without a stock of KitKats. Thank you gentlemen. It was time to take advantage of the early hour and notch up a few extra miles before finding a bed for the night. Just a few miles later, continuing North on the Ayrshire coast road, the smell of bacon enticed me to pull in to the Balkenna Tea Rooms. At that very moment a very brief sunny spell revealed the almost unreal mass of Ailsa Craig a few miles out to sea. Like a giant cup cake on the horizon. I don’t recall any other physical geographic feature making me feel hungry. One bacon roll and 5 miles further up the road, another serious attraction. A very smart place to stay. “Go on, spoil yourself, while you can” said a little voice in my head. So I Did.  No regrets.  The Support Your Local Lifeboat sign on the door helped tempt me in. Wildings at Maidens in South Ayrshire is well worth a visit. First class rooms and a five star restaurant at an affordable (once in a while) price. Thank you so much to the staff here who’ve already chipped in a generous donation via my VMG page directly to the RNLI.

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