We were so cold and achy on our return from the ‘back of the bay ocean’ that we took a shower and then took a blue pill, this being one of Maice’s Canadian versions of an ibuprofen tablet, to help ease our aching limbs, and surprisingly we slept through the night, with neither of us requiring a visit to the ‘facilities’ block. Considering our Highland Fling antics last night we awoke at 06.40am with no aches and pains (photo courtesy of Sandra) with me taking some more photos of the sunrise and Maice off to the facilities block to carry out her ablutions. We had a lot to do this morning. We needed to strip the beds as per the instructions, wash all the dishes, as per the instructions, sweep the floor as per the instructions, pack, and of course blog….as per our instructions! Like the moon, the wi-fi was nowhere to be seen so we gave up trying to upload/download the blog and accompanying photos and concentrated on sorting ourselves out for our imminent departure. We were leaving at 9am in order to a) catch the ferry to Mull b) drive across Mull to catch the ferry to Oban and c) drive to Newbiggin on Lune in Cumbria where we were staying for the next two nights.
We said our goodbyes to the Scottish contingent in Pod 6…..Pearl, Dianne and Sandra and caught the 9.35am ferry from Fionnphort to Mull. It was a lovely morning. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the sea was calm…it was going to be another glorious day. We were by now feeling peckish so back at the car we unpacked the folding chairs and had ourselves a breakfast picnic consisting of youghurt and baby-bels, slap bang in the middle of the carpark. And why not, it seems to be the ‘on-trend’ thing to do these days!
All to soon it was time to begin the 33 mile road trip across Mull, with Angela in the drivers seat. After successfully negotiating the one-lane road, with its twists and turns and hundreds of passing places we arrived safe and sound, parked up in the relevant queue at the port, purchased a cappuccino and sat in the car eating our triple cheese, falafel and crisp rolls. The Scottish contingent arrived about thirty minutes later and advised us that those people in cars weren’t able to get out of their vehicles during the crossing so we said our goodbyes and with that we drove onto the ferry.
After a regroup in the front seat of the car we made an executive decision about SatNav Steve. We were extending his holiday due to the fact that our map reading skills seem to be improving so we’ve decided to give it a go because we’re M&A and we just ‘go with the flow’ so Maice, who was in the navigating seat, was going to a) direct us off the ferry b) direct us out of Oban c) direct us to our first coffee/loo stop and d) direct us to Newbiggin on Lune, our home for the next two nights. At 2pm, we disembarked the ferry at Oban and with the Supreme Scale Atlas of Britain 2010 firmly planted on her lap and her eyes looking out for directional and speed signs she managed to navigate us off the ferry, out of Oban and onto the motorway without carrying out any extraneous deviations or u-turns. Maice also pointed out that the Atlas stated that speed cameras and speed limits were highlighted on the roads but look as she might the only one she spotted was some way down the M6 which was no good to us, given the fact that we were in Scotland!
We were just a few minutes outside Oban when Angela managed to stall the car, forgetting she had a third pedal that needed to be actived every now and again. So repeating the mantra…’I must use my left leg, I must use my left leg’ for the next fifteen minutes we continued on until a wee stop was required. Navigating us beautifully into one of the beauty spot service stations along Loch Lomond we joined the queue for the loo. It was too long and going far too slow so we abandoned our quest both agreeing we could hold out until the next place, which we were sure wouldn’t be far. What a bad decision that was. A few miles down the A82 we came to a crawl, then a complete standstill, then a crawl and so it went on for the next hour. Apparently there was a serious rta involving a motorbike and a car…..we drove past the carnage and it didn’t look good. We were fortunate to be on the road when we were because they later closed the road and put in a 54mile diversion on the A85. Our bladders certainly wouldn’t have held out for that long. To make matters worse Maice navigated us onto the wrong road as we drove over the Erskine Bridge, sending us right to Greenock instead of left to Glasgow airports. Admittedly the signs were confusing, but the extra distance just put even more pressure on our bladders. Finally, making it past the other side of Glasgow and onto the M74 we stopped at the service station and sprinted into the toilets. Such relief. We weren’t the only ones who made a quick dash for the loo. We witnessed a mother holding her young toddler at arms length rushing into the loo…..whether they made it or not, we’ll never know. It was now just shy of 6pm and we were hungry. We treated ourselves to a Costa coffee and ate the rest of our triple cheese, falafel and crisp rolls. We had at least another two hours before we arrived at our destination. We also decided that as Maice‘s navigational skills didn’t quite make the grade, SatNav Steve would need to make an appearance on the dashboard to navigate us to Newbiggin on Lune.
Weather wise, it had been such a lovely day, albeit we were indoors most of the time, either on the ferry on in the car. As Maice described it, ‘the weather is like an autumnal day on menopause’ !!!!! Who knows what’s going on in that brain of hers!
As we were pootling along on the motorway, admiring the scenery, sticking to the 70mile speed limit, Angela, sitting in the middle lane indicates to move out into the outer lane when all of a sudden a Range Rover goes racing by causing Angela to quickly move back into the middle lane and almost into the back of the lorry in front of us. If we were cats, we’d have lost a life by now. Poor Maice, her heart was pounding ten to the dozen, but soon, calm had been restored and we pootled on now down to 60 miles and hour and keeping to the inside lane.
Back on English soil the sun was starting to set, the sky was turning yellow and red and on the horizon we witnessed a ‘memorisation’, Maices word, not mine of birds moving across the sky and then we saw it, there it was, the missing moon. We’d found it in English skies and even though it was only a very thin crescent moon it was there, hanging in the night sky after having gone awol for a few days.
Our next stop was at the Tebay Services and Farm Shop on the M6 and we were very excited to be visiting here as a) it comes highly recommend by Gaby Logan b) it comes highly recommended by our friends Jane and Steve c) we needed the loo d) we wanted to purchase some non-cheese items for supper e) we needed to purchase a bottle of wine and f) it meant we were only six miles from Tranna Hill, our B&B.
Hurrah, after a full day travelling we had arrived, and it was very dark. Very, very dark and we were looking forward to our supper and our bottle of wine after we’d checked in. Whilst Maice was checking us in I reversed the car down the slope but in so doing, and with it being a very, very, very dark night, with no lights around except those exuding from the B&B I somehow reversed into a telegraph pole. It all happened in slow motion really. As I looked in the rear view window I saw the rear windscreen shatter and disintegrate into small pieces, cascading just like a waterfall. Ooops! Gulp! Oh shit! What have I done? I had to do my best hill start to extricate the car from the telegraph pole and then shuddered to a stop. As I got our of the car to inspect the damage Maice came out of the B&B, totally unawares of the ‘incident’ that had occurred in the five minutes she’d been away. Trying to shield the windscreen from her whilst I explained what had happened she looked on in calm disbelief….must be all that yoga practice! Actually, to be fair, we both remained calm, although I was a bit shaken. How fortunate that I’d taken out fully comp insurance to drive Maices car. Maice sprung into action, phoning the AA which took at least 20 minutes, standing in the one spot by the telegraph pole as it was the only place she could get a signal, whilst I borrowed a dustpan and brush and set about sweeping up the shattered glass. The AA couldn’t help so I tried to contact my insurance company but to no avail, due to the phone coverage. In the end I managed to book an appointment with Autoglass who, we think are coming on Monday, our travel day, sometime between 8am and 6pm! Knowing our luck they’ll turn up at 6pm and we’ll be home at midnight! Of course it wasn‘t just the windscreen that had a problem ......there were also two dents at the back of the car!!!
We have to give a big shout out to our host, Brenda who went above and beyond the services one would expect from a B&B host. She was amazing, helping us out, letting us use her phone, and let us park the car in the garage to keep it protected against any animal or red squirrel that may want to sneak in the car through the now glassless rear window!
So that was how our wonderful vacation to Scotland ended. We’ve had an amazingly magical time. Iona is an amazingly magical island and we’re spent time with our amazingly fabulous friends. So a big thank you to the girls, Pearl, Dianne and Sandra, the Scottish contingent and in particular Sandra for inviting us along and letting us share her favourite island with her. We can understand why she loves it so much. We loved it so much we even danced the Highland Fling on the shores of the ‘bay at the back of the ocean’.
And now for that glass of wine…..
M&A……and Marvin, who slept through it all xx