Thursday, 12 July 2018

What should have been a relatively straightforward drive home :)

Time to go home . . . after six days of glorious weather, fabulous gardens and an unusual amount of sitting around doing nothing it was time to get back to Management and Daisy.  Driving time back to home is about three hours, add a coffee/lunch stop . . . and I finally pulled into Bag End more than 8 hours after leaving the campsite; I got a little distracted on the way!

I was happily tootling along thinking it might be time to stop for coffee when the opportunity presented itself in the form of a tempting brown sign:

I knew this place was nearby, and the chance to stop was just too much to resist - last time I came home from this area was by way of Garlieston and the Galloway Forest Park so I missed out the section of A75 east of Newton Stewart.  The "road" to the cairns was narrower than a narrow thing (to start with I wasn't even sure it was a proper road) but there was plenty of space to park at the bottom, and a signpost which said "½ mile" so I took water, a hat and my camera and set off.  Trouble is, it wasn't half a mile, it was a lot further, and it was uphill, with very little shade and I was starting to have a sense of humour failure.  Until I realised this (a) was a proper road (b) had a parking area at the top, and (c) there was no-one there whom I might meet on my way up and their way down.  So I legged it back to the van as fast as I could, and drove up the NARROWEST road I have ever taken Bill on.  The hedges were scraping on both sides of the van at the same time . . .  But we made it and what a reward for my 'bravery".

I sent M. a picture of where I was*.  The response I got back was something along the lines of "so you'll be a while then?".  Aw bless him, knows me so well.

There are two sites, the first next to the parking and considered the most impressive because of the huge standing stones at the front.  None of my pictures even begin to do this place justice, nor can they convey the feel of the site which was still, quiet, calm and quite magical.

The second is a few minutes walk up the track, with a modern bungalow and farm buildings nestled incongruously right next to it.

Even though I knew I "ought" to get off my bottom and go home I struggled to tear myself away.  I wandered around, had the coffee I'd stopped for in the first place, wandered some more, had a late lunch, admired the view and just soaked up the gift of what had become an extra day of holiday, instead of just a travel day.

One of the things which irritates the beejeebers out of me is the insistence of archaeologists to claim that sites "definitely had ritual purpose" when they don't know anything of the sort.  I remember a wonderful section in an archaeology book I have since lost describing 23rd Century archaeologists unearthing a late C-20th building that went something along the lines of:

The internal features were strictly linear, with a 'containment area' at one end of each line, either for the people or animals who were competing.  It was clearly a sporting arena of some kind, and the huge numbers of silver-coloured metal canisters were discerned to be tokens thrown by spectators to their favourite competitor (which is why they were concentrated in certain places).  Those spectators clearly sat on wooden bleachers around the linear features because no signs remained - they had all rotted away.  

And so the 'archaeological report' went on culminating in a Big Reveal - the excavation was not a sports arena at all, but the local supermarket.  Which is why ascribing "ritual" purpose to something created thousands of years ago drives me nuts, but on this occasion , I think we can accept that interpretation 😊

* Within touching distance of a 5,000 year old burial chamber and I've got a full-strength mobile signal.  Shakes head . . . 


  1. Now you know why I don't tell anyone where I'm going when I'm on one of my trips as I'll often see a sign and go off to explore somewhere else :) That looks like the sort of road I sometimes find myself driving along - visiting the cairn was a great way to extend the holiday though rather than it being just a travel day. As for the distance, after a holiday in Scotland a few years ago I came to the conclusion there are normal miles and 'Scottish miles' which are a lot further than they say! :)

  2. I think we would be tempted by the road sign but not the road. It turned out to be a good idea walking the distance and deciding it was safe to drive. I can well imagine it being a tranquil place to spend a few hours imagining what it was like five thousand years ago. (I Googled for more information :) Nice ending to your holiday.

  3. Lovely, all that energy must have recharged your batteries. I'm surprised the phone didn't explode ;o) x

  4. Awww Jayne, fancy you stopping off to make another full day for your holiday (giggle). What a lovely place & I do find standing stones & rings quite fascinating. Maybe as we don't have any here, that makes them so special. Have enjoyed your adventures & glad the weather was good for you. Take care & thanks.

  5. Wow- what a thrill it must have been to have that site all to yourself. Looks amazing.

  6. I love journeys like this! It's always fun making a proper trip of it :)

  7. Love this part of the world, we sometimes go camping near Newton Stewart.

  8. Thank you all for lovely comments, I am sorry I did not reply to them as I usually do.

    Eunice, I quite understand about changing plans! If I had not been on my way home I wouldn’t have told M until later, but I sort of had a rough expected arrival time and I didn’t want him to worry. And I definitely know what you mean about normal miles vs. Scottish miles!

    Thanks Eileen, if I had not walked it first then driving the road would have done my head in. I’m not worried about being on a narrow road itself, it’s the consideration of what on earth happens if I meet someone else!

    Absolutely right CT, both sites had a very special energy :-)

    Hi Susan, you might not have standing stones, but some of your Aboriginal sites are just as inspiring, and moving, and frankly quite wonderful.

    Mr Baker, thank you :) Yes, having it all to myself was quite selfishly wonderful!!

    Nikki-And, thank you and welcome to Bag End. It was a lovely “bonus day”


Thank you for leaving comments, I love receiving them; sometimes they are the only way I know I am not talking to myself . . . 😊