Wednesday 17 July 2024

Caerlaverock Aire, Dumfries and Galloway

Tuesday 16 July 2024

We'd planned to stop at a pub in the Yorkshire Dales tonight to break the journey. However, on arrival (despite have recce'd it on Google Street View) it was clear the dog-leg entrance to the car park was far too narrow for Nido, so we had no option but to move on.  We pulled into a parking area and I had a look for another pub stop, but none took our fancy, so we decided to hit the road and drive the three hours to home.

We set off from Aberdour yesterday morning for a two hour drive to Caerlaverock, Dumfries & Galloway on what's described as a campsite, but is actually more like an aire, with an open parking area surrounded by trees, with servicing facilities.  It's run by the local community and they ask for a £10 donation, either an online payment or by cash (envelope provided) in the honesty box; I did the latter.  We've stayed here before as it's a good stop when either arriving in or departing from Scotland as it's only a short drive from the border.  It was a very warm and sunny day so we had lunch sat outside before taking a walk along the edge of the reed beds and salt marsh for about four miles.  I warmed up a pork and bean stew we'd brought from the freezer at home and cooked some roast potatoes in the omnia oven. By bed time there were eight vans here, including five Europeans and one of the huge overlander all-terrain lorry-type motorhomes.  One British family were in a 5m Vauxhall van with three very young children (a 3 year old and twins aged 19 moths) and two large dogs!  They had a large double roof tent but it must have still been very cosy.  Dad sat with the three children on the picnic bench by us, feeding them, as Mum sorted out the van. They must be exhausted!

Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve

This morning after breakfast we walked to Caerlaverock Castle, through the forest next to the aire. It's a proper looking castle, albeit in ruins, with towers and a water-filled moat. We just had a walk along the grassy mound rather than pay to enter the castle ruins; we had Salty and could see other dogs inside, so he would be much happier outside!  There were ominously dark clouds surrounding us and as we walked back through the forest it started to rain, turning torrential just as we reached the open are of the aire.  In the van we changed out of wet clothes and sat it out until the rain eased, before leaving to head south.

Those clouds look a bit ominous....

...and they're getting closer

That was a dry aire parking area!

We now have a few weeks to prepare the van ready for our trip to France next month.  We haven't decided how long we'll be away. We'll book a return crossing once we've we're ready but I suspect it'll be the very of September or first week of October.  The current rough plan is to head for Alsace/Lorraine, down into the Jura and then across into Burgundy before heading back up to Calais.  But much will depend on the weather.  So far - like most of Europe - it's not been a great summer.  So we'll look for some pleasant sunshine but not too hot...we don't like it too hot!  

Since we got home we've emptied the van to give it a good clean and give Paul from CMS a clear run to complete a Gas Safety Check on Friday.  I fixed the broken Remis blind with the replacement hinge waiting for us at home.  I've also checked the toilet flush; I think the Control Panel is kaput (it must be at least15 years old) so have ordered another.  

We enjoyed our trip to the Cairngorms, despite the changeable weather.  I think our next trip north of the border will be to the west and perhaps the Outer Hebrides.  That'll give me something to research on the dark winter nights to come.