Thursday 17th April
“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Shazza, Happy Birthday to yoooooooo !!”
We had nothing planned for this our last day at Strathclyde Country Park CC site, so another leisurely morning in bed with a cuppa and then just a generally lazy day. We were both looking forward to our night out, Shazza’s birthday treat, first we were going to the cinema to watch the film ‘Noah‘, this would then be followed by that Chinese meal at a Restaurant we had promised ourselves and fortunately there was one just around the corner from the cinema. The next part of the plan had then been to do a ‘big’ re-stock of provisions at ASDA, however, we both decided that we probably wouldn’t feel like shopping on full stomachs, ,so we went and did it before lunch. Once we had returned and got all the shopping packed away we settled down to lunch, then there was a knock on the van door !! It was Ian & Jean, another couple of new Assistant Wardens that we had met on our Training Course, they had arrived here today ready to start work on Saturday. We chatted for a good half an hour or so before they left to finish getting themselves settled in to their new home for the next six months or so, we exchanged Emails and both said that we would keep in touch with each other. Later that afternoon ‘Tony’, the site Warden, came around and invited us to join him and the other two Assistant Warden couples later that evening for a takeaway, however, although that was really nice of them we had to decline as we had already made plans to go out. We got ourselves ready and went first to see the film, it was a decent enough film, no complicated plots to follow, no real violence or blood and guts everywhere and it certainly was not a ‘chick flick’, just a good entertaining film with Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins and Ray Winston. We then went and had our very enjoyable Chinese ‘Buffet’ style meal, and although we didn’t feel as if we had over indulged we both felt ‘uncomfortably’ bloated when we had finished, but it was worth it as we rarely went out in the evenings so it was a nice change.
Friday 18th April – Strathclyde Country Park to Killin (63 Miles)
Perhaps we had felt the aftershock from the earthquake that had been reported in Lincolnshire, maybe it was the indigestion I was suffering with from the over indulgence of yesterday evenings meal, whatever it was we had both awoken at 05:30am. Shazza just wanted a glass of water but I needed a hot mug of coffee, whilst the kettle was boiling I peered outside, it was daylight and the grass was showing signs of a light frost. The sky was blue and cloudless but the moon was still clearly visible although the sun was beginning to rise, it had the makings of a very nice ‘Good Friday’. I looked at the internal temperature and it was barely 6 degrees(c) so I turned the heating on then took my coffee back to bed, Shazza was already tucked up under the duvet and back in the land of nod. After finishing my coffee I debated on whether to get up, the debate didn’t last long, lovely warm duvet and the prospect of another couple of hours of sleep or a chilly lounge, we both awoke again at 08:15am !!
The moving on day rituals were completed with their usual efficiency, normally we would just drive off the site leaving the barrier card in the drop box but we couldn’t leave without saying farewell to our fellow work colleagues as they had been so welcoming and friendly throughout our short stay. We didn’t have a long drive today, only just over 60 miles, but having previously done several tours of Scotland we knew that today’s drive was going to be quite scenic, today we enter Scotland proper, well once we got off the Motorways that is. The only disappointment was that I didn’t have Shazza as my co-pilot or duty photographer, or so I thought…………….
We were experiencing a lot of firsts on this trip, staying on lots of campsites that we had never visited before as well as visiting lots of places we had never been to before. ‘Killin‘ was another one of those firsts, we had always either been a hurry to get further North or in a hurry to get home so had by-passed it, all we really knew was that it was a bit out in the sticks, surrounded by mountains, the campsite being on the bank of the ‘River Dochart’, which runs into ‘Loch Tay‘ about one mile away so we were looking forward to just ‘Killin a bit of time here‘. The drive was tremendous as I knew it would be, a few twists and turns that made for an ‘exhilarating‘ drive in places !! but to be honest the roads were fine, if they were good enough for articulated lorries to travel on then they were okay for ‘Big Momma’.
How many times have you arrived at a new place, not knowing what to expect, but fall in love with it as soon as you see it ? This was Killin, we entered through the small village (or maybe it’s a small town ?) however, it wasn’t as small as I had imagined it would be and it really was one of those ‘Chocolate Box Picture’ places. The campsite was just outside of the main village and again just driving through the entrance I knew that I was going to like this place. I can understand why the Wardens had smiley happy faces when they greeted us, what a place to work.
Admin procedures completed we again had the freedom to go and find a ‘pitch’, I wasn’t too hopeful that there would be any Riverside pitches available but I was wrong, just the one left and we nabbed it and what’s more, it was level so no levelling blocks required here, simply connect the EHU and we were settled and the views……….. utterly magnificent !!
It was travel day and the general rule of thumb on travel days is that once settled on our pitch we just relax, other than a quick walk around the site to check out the facilities and have a goods ‘nosey’ at all the other ‘campers’ units !! We had actually fallen into a bit of a bad habit on ‘moving on’ days, we were not eating breakfast, tut, tut !! However, that meant that as soon as we were set up on our new location we had lunch, which is exactly what we did but then it was out with the sun chairs and get some sunbathing in, now this really is the life. I also decided that we needed to keep the ‘sun god’ in a happy frame of mind and that meant performing a sacrifice !! I volunteered to be the victim on this occasion and so got myself prepared, first I needed to find an appropriate receptacle, that done I then had to measure the appropriate amount of liquid into the aforementioned receptacle and swallow it, it had been the first Jack Daniels that I had had for ages, I really must learn to be less selfish and ‘sacrifice’ my liver on more frequent occasions !! Mind you, I had to sacrifice myself again shortly afterwards, I hadn’t realised that it was quite as hot as it was as the first sacrifice ‘evaporated’ before my eyes !!
As afternoon turned to evening and the sun dropped behind the mountains we retired into ‘Big Momma’. Having watched the film ‘Noah’ recently I couldn’t help wondering whether someone knew something that we didn’t and another sole had been chosen to build ‘Arc II’ for their, in front of my very eyes I witnessed a steady stream of Animals all making their way to ‘the meeting point’, the shower block, animals of all shapes and all sizes, perhaps I had overdone it with the ‘sacrificial drinks’ but no, I wasn’t seeing things, it was the evening parade of the ‘onesies’ ……………………