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Friday, March 16, 2012

Maidens & Culzean Castle, Scotland, U.K. – March 14, 2012

A day that begins by watching newborn lambs frolicking on a hillside and ends on an island off the coast of Scotland just deserves a posting all by itself. 

Making our way to the Isle of Arran in Scotland, we opted to stay one night in Maidens, a small town near the coast.  The Scottish are a very friendly people and Alan was warmly greeted by the owner of Thomaston Farms.  They had a nice conversation during which Alan thought he had communicated his needs, but as they began walking toward the camping area, the farmer looked up at him and asked, “Well Laddie, wha ken I do for ye?”, leaving Alan wondering just what he had agreed to during the previous conversation.  And thus began our first struggle with a foreign tongue.

The farm was a lovely place to stay surrounded by pastures full of sheep on one side and views of the ocean on the other.  When I woke up, I looked out the window of Curry and watched as two newborn lambs ran down the hillside, kicking up their back legs as they tumbled along. 

We wanted to leave for the ferry by 10:30 so we quickly made our way down to visit Culzean Castle claimed to be “Scotland’s favorite castle.”  It certainly should be Scotland’s dogs favorite castle as they are welcome to run around the grounds off leash as long as they are under voice command.  (Although The Noses have mastered the art of selective deafness, we decided to let them off as we were completely alone.)  The castle was a short walk from the campsite and the interior doesn’t open up until the end of March but the grounds were open and we had a great time enjoying the sites on our private self-tour.  (Rosco too was running around like crazy which made us all feel even better.)

On the way back to the farm we saw a lamb on our side of the fence.  I held The Noses (now on leash, thank goodness!) while Alan walked ahead to attempt The Great Lamb Rescue of 2012.  But the lamb wouldn’t have anything to do with him and kept running along the fence, trying to force his way back to the other side.  Meanwhile, the anxious mom was baying like crazy from the hillside.  Eventually the little guy found his was back under a railing and took off as fast as his new legs would carry him up to his mother where he received a sound sniffing.

A quick change and making of coffee for the road and we were headed to the ferry port in Androssan right on time.  The crossing only took 55 minutes during which we decided to try some ferry food.  Studying the menu, I was happy to see a “Curry of the Day” and had planned on selecting that when I reached the front of the line.  But guess what it was?  Lamb.  I opted for the Scotch Broth soup.

Docking in Brodick, we had a short drive (mileage wise) to our campsite in Lochranza but we had one stop to make along the way:  The Isle of Arran’s distillery.  After all, we had been in Scotland for more than 24 hours and were scotch-less!  What better place to start than in a local distillery?

Opting to take the tour on another day, we purchased a sample pack of four to enjoy during our evening celebration of local foods:  Scotch, potatoes from Thomaston’s Farm (£1 for five pounds of freshly dug potatoes!) and fresh eggs from a farm in Robin Hood’s Bay (£1.50 for 10.)  And for entertainment?  Wild red deer and domesticated sheep walking right up to and around Curry.

The Noses just couldn’t figure that one out.


PS:  I have one scenic drive video queued up for YouTube, but a solid internet connection is difficult to come by.  Coming soon to a computer near you!