Annual Camping? Weekend. 3– 5 Oct 2014

This, supposed “He Man” weekend, has been a regular for many years, organised by the likes of Jim MacFarlane, John Shaw & the Man himself, Bill Davies, this year’s Schicklegruber.

Some 11 of us were scheduled to participate, but given the likely weather conditions, the wimps nearly outnumbered the “campers”. Well- does a Camper Van count as???

Most gathered at Bill’s for breakfast in his new garage (we were already soaked), then off on our merry way, following Bill’s Crozier 3 wheeler. Johnny Haynes joined us for the day, but was going home afterwards. We could not persuade him to stay. He did, however return the next morning with John Taylor in tow, and again they joined us for the day- real heroes!Jimmy`s spin The roads were excessively slippery, and just out of Alloway, Jim (AKA Sebastian Ogier) showed off doing a 360 degree rotation without using his Ka’s handbrake.

If there’s anyone who can find more narrow, gravelly, leafy & dangerous wee roads in Scotland- try your luck against the Maestro, Bill Davies. Bloody Hell- neck and all other muscles strained to breaking point, we finally, by which route I know not, reached Ballantrae for lunch.Ballantrae Garden Centre It actually stopped raining while in the Garden Centre café, but of course, resumed as we exited.

Again, using roads unknown to man, we arrived at Glentrool, more or less, having waited for an eternity for a flock of sheep. (That’s what you get for going off piste!)Held up because of sheepIMG_3059

6 of us were staying at The House ‘o Hill Hotel, and unsuccessfully trying not to gleefully congratulate ourselves on NOT going camping. The hotel is excellent, & when the “Happy Campers” finally arrived to join us 6 for dinner, they were really drookit.CampsiteIMG_3066

The food was top notch & a merry evening followed with a few aperitifs consumed. The hotel is famous for its food & is always busy- so best behaviour maintained. The sheep owner, who had kindly made us wait 2 hours for his sheep to be moved, was there with his wife & wean. No, we didn’t confront him- his kid was too nice a boy to observe violent behaviour.

Come the morning, the self-satisfied 6, bloated by an excellent breakfast, awaited the sorry looking 5 campers, well, really 3. (Camper Van not counted). One vehicle appeared to be an exile from Hong Kong & the umbrella revolutionIMG_3078Bill`s new roof

They were hungry & cold, but the weather improved, & by the time we arrived at Newton Stewart for breakfast, it was positively almost, very nearly, sunny.Bladnoch Inn

Again, a great find for food; thereafter, by various routes to lunch (well, some of us almost couldn’t handle any more). This was at the Bladnoch Inn- again, first class. Weather still holding, a very attractive route to the Isle of Whithorn.Isle of Whithorn 1Isle of Whithorn 4Isle of Whithorn 3 Here we smelt the sea air & there was our very David Kerr, on hols with his missus, who was brought up here. Chatted away to some folks, who, believe it or not, would see us at dinner! Lovely place, very relaxing, except for the B—dy freezing wind!

Then to Bill’s Birth Place, Garlieston- suitably commemorated by a giant statue of him and his Norton single. We went in & out, rather quickly, we thought, maybe he didn’t want to be recognised for some reason- certainly not with his funny hat.Garlieston

Bill was kind to us afterwards, & we drove “home” by what we can call “normal” roads.

Again, a fine evening, but Jim will definitely NOT order duck again. A dodgy transportation of elicit wine took place, with the strategy going “tits up”; however, no repercussions.

By next morning, Ian had given up on eating, trying to embarrass us, with no success. The campers were dispersing with Bill being the only left over. Only 3 of us followed him home via Straiton, & if anyone had visions of following him while yawning- forget it. An ex Colin McRae fan, he had the rear wheel way out of line on the bends, & we wouldn’t have liked to go any faster.Galloway Forrest Map

A great weekend, Bill- we really appreciated the work you had put into it, & also your and June’s hospitality for the Friday breakfast. You have been corralled to do it again next year.

PS- One disappointment- we didn’t visit a distillery or brewery this year- why not?