Sunday, September 11, 2011

Abandoned Walk!

Abandoned  Walk !
We had planned to do Walk 284, from Ballantrae to Stranraer, on Sunday 11th September 2011.  We had prepared our lunch and packed our rucksacks the day before.  We got up early and drove to Stranraer in plenty of time to catch the bus.
But…….the sky was BLACK, the rain was SHEETING and the wind was WICKED!  The weather forecast was that the tail-end of a hurricane was racing across the Atlantic in the gulf stream and due to hit our part of the Scottish coast on Monday afternoon with gusts of wind up to 80mph!  We thought it had already arrived.  We realised we would be walking for 18 miles directly into that wind.
We sat in the car park looking at the rain pelting down and listening to the wind whistling around the car.  I said, “Morrison’s is only round the corner and it opens in ten minutes.  It has a very nice café where we can buy a cup of tea and a bun!”  Colin didn’t need much persuading.
Fortunately we are experienced campers, and had parked our caravan in the most sheltered spot at New England Bay which is a beautiful site right on the seashore.  We had grassed over dunes behind us and huge gorse bushes each side of us which took the brunt of the wind.  Our caravan only 'bounced' a little. and we discovered a leak on one of the front corners — but it didn't cause us much grief.  Other caravanners had to move their vans from the prime seafront positions with the views, and quite a few had problems with their awnings (we haven't got one yet).
After skulking in the caravan for several days waiting for conditions to improve, we were bored out of our minds and had lost all momentum to continue the planned Walks.  So we came home once the winds began to die down.  We had no problem with the caravan on the exposed motorway, despite warning signs about strong winds on all the gantries, and no hold-ups.
We were a little disappointed that, once again, we’d had to cut our walking session short.  We really have been unlucky this year — what with blisters, a pulled muscle, a bad back and now atrocious weather.  But it will all be there next year, and we shall return in April to continue.
Months later I read, in the Caravan Club magazine, that at a caravan site at Maybole, situated between Ayr and Stranraer, nine caravans were blown over on their sides that day — some with people inside!!  Fortunately no one was seriously hurt, but they were very shocked and their vans were total right-offs.
We had been very lucky, I had considered using that site.

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