Day 22, 8th June 2011, Newton Stewart to Stoneykirk

We only ended up today some 40km from where we started after 101km of riding.  Today was something of a nostalgia trip for Roz.

Our intention was to do a little tour of the country to the west of Stranraer, including a place Roz had visited on a family holiday in 1959.

The weather forecast was for light rain, moving to showers, which our hostess from last night informed us was just like light rain, but not as continuous.

Sure enough it started to rain shortly after we left, and this seemed to affect my mood for most of the day.  We did not get wet, except for our feet, which were soaked.

Today would normally be classed as a classic bike ride.  It was through gently rolling country, with a couple of minor climbs, and pretty scenery.

We first went to the town of Wigtown, where the residents have pulled of a huge coup, in getting the place recognised as a major book sale centre.  There are actually about 6 very small book shops in a pretty dull town, but apparently there is now significant tourist traffic.  Good on them for pulling of such a fraud.

The weather was threatening all day, but we stayed dry.  The cold dull sky did not add to my mood.

I have always believed that there is something wrong with people who are gormlessly merry all the time.  They need to go to a doctor to get some mood altering drugs that will give them a more realistic perspective on life.

We arrived at Portpatrick, an unusually attractive village in an area where this is not the norm.  It is not the Cote d’Azure, but quite pleasant.  Apparently you can see Ireland from here on a good day, which of course begs the question as to why you might want to.

There was bugger all chance today of seeing Ireland today through the mist, fog, drizzle and low-hanging cloud.  Nice days are not common around here so I think this is probably a local myth, passed down from generation to generation.



My mood improved markedly as we climbed up to a low ridge above Portpatrick.  We rode through a forest of old deciduous trees with an occasional understorey of rhododendrons.  The forest and rhododendrons grew denser, until they formed a hedge alongside the narrow winding road.  This is extraordinarily attractive.


Roz wanted to go to Lochnau Castle, where her family had holidayed as a child, and we founds it situated by the loch, which in turn is surrounded by the same dense forest and rhododendron understorey.  As we reached the castle, actually more of a large baronial home, the sun came out, and the scene was simply gorgeous. 

We spent some time there before descending off the low ridge to the ferry port of Stranraer, where we expected to find accommodation.  There was none.  They are extending the ferry port and every bed in every B&B was taken.

A nice B&B man helped us find our accommodation 8km south of town and we are all the better for it.  We had a beautiful evening ride through clearing weather, arriving just before dinner time.  Dinner was superb.

I was going to say something about beer, a subject about which, not surprisingly, I have strong opinions.  That will have to wait.

I can't make Google put the map in the centre of the page.  Use the scroll keys at the top left of the screen.

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