Given the midges and the popularity of the NC 500 (https://www.northcoast500.com/), we looked to explore quieter, less travelled roads in our fabulous country at this time of year. Therefore we drove left out of our driveway and headed south towards the Scottish Borders and ended up at the Hopetoun Arms Hotel in Leadhills, about a month since our last visit. After an enjoyable dinner and a few ‘quaffs’, we returned to Iona and relaxed in the balmy summer evening. July in bonny Scotland can be heavenly!
Sunday morning saw us enjoying our usual cup o’ java after ten minutes of coconut oil pulling; look it up! After we “struck camp”, we headed east into Scottish Borders territory with a quick shop stop in Moffat. At about 14:30, we found a lovely quiet off-road spot adjacent to Byck Sike (a burn) in the valley between Moffat and St Mary’s Loch and set up for a peaceful afternoon and evening. The strong breeze kept the much-vaunted heatwave at bay, and the skies overhead offered a varied display of cloud cover!
View looking west
Monday morning arrived, although our predicted heatwave didn't! It made me wonder how easy it would be to raise the digital temperature apps we all now rely on a notch or two, but that's for another day! As "oil pulling" is now a morning ritual, we proceeded with the oral hygiene process and got the "breakfast" on the go. Breakfast consists of a cup of strong black "java" laced with MCT oil and an ice-cold glass of sparkling water fortified with Apple Cider Vinegar!
En route to our next stop, yet to be decided, we stumbled on the Waterwheel Restaurant just south of Selkirk. We enjoyed an early lunch and then had a pleasant walk to the neighbouring walled garden and back. Sadly it is shut on Mondays; however, we had a lovely walk in the splendid mid-day sunshine before heading to the Ettrick Valley in search of our park-up spot. Unfortunately, this beautiful valley has little to offer in that regard, and much of the area is a Wi-Fi-free zone. That is not usually an issue; however, we had a few problems brewing back home and needed to maintain a connection, so we ploughed on until we found Bonchester Bridge and its splendid little hotel. After enjoying a libation in the glorious evening sunshine, we moved inside for a pleasant, home-cooked meal before retiring for a peaceful evening and sleeping in the hotel car park. Well, I say peaceful; that was until 5:50 am when the glass recycling unit pitched up and created an almighty cacophony while emptying the bins with added gusto!
The Horse & Hound Hotel, Bonchester Bridge
Our next stop was a lovely ‘Aire’ on the outskirts of Thornhill. The effervescent Sharon is building a wonderful set-up for herself and family, based around horses with a park up facility for 5 motorhomes. We enjoyed our stay so much that we extended our visit for another night. The park-up is a short half hour walk into town, and we had a lovely meal in the local hotel, and the following day had a pleasant 16-mile cycle around the locality.
We cut our trip short after Thornhill due to family commitments and headed the hour or so north back to Glasgow with another wonderful experience “tucked up under our belts”.
Next up....Belladrum, the Tartan Heart music festival near Inverness in a week or so........