Sleepless in Scotland

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Friday, July 17, 2009

So forget about all that shite I wrote about not worrying about time.  It does matter when you’re ferry is over an hour late, you’re tired, have no place to sleep, and darkness is falling faster than you can count!

Trying to avoid the same incident as our arrival in Ireland, I decided to take some of our excess time in Larne and look up some campgrounds in the vicinity of the ferry so we wouldn’t be completely clueless.  Troon is a smaller town, so we weren’t as concerned about navigating it.  But the ferry departure time pushed back later and later, then the captain had to slow down the journey as the sea was too rough.  So now we’ve arrived, and darkness is falling.  My completely nonchalant husband smoking his pipe in Larne saying ‘sure, maybe looking up a map is a good idea’ has turned into a demon of stress!  He doesn’t like to bike in the dark (and rightly so) as we’re not equipped properly.  And pedaling around back country lanes in the dark when you’re tired is not my idea of a fun evening either.  Thank goodness I had the for-thought to eat on the ferry or we both would have been fit to be tied!  Leaving the coast is often a challenge as we were faced with continual up hill battles which are always hard for me.  Fighting our way through the sign-less roads we were able to find the tiny dot on a map called Tarbolton after about 20km. 

Completely confused as to where the campground may be,  I went into a SPAR to ask for help.  The two ladies seemed to be in disagreement as to whether or not we could camp there, but gave us directions anyways.  Upon arrival at the campground, the reception area was dark and we could just decipher a make-shift sign that stated they regrettably were unable to take tourers and campers any longer!  Darkness was upon us, all other campsites I had located were another 20 or 30 km back the way we had come, and we needed to come up with a plan B.  There was a number posted on the reception door, and fortuitously there was a phone booth down the lane.  I decided to try to call the number, hoping that a personal plea may change their minds about campers.  But after 2 tries I gave up on no answer.  Returning to Brian to hash out plan C, we heard a ring…I was sure it was from one of the trailers, but it persisted.  Walking towards the payphone, then sprinting, I answered the park attendant's call.  Unfortunately his message was the same as the sign:  they could not take campers.  They’d changed into a total trailer park and didn’t have any facilities or the liscences to take us.  Argh!  Returning to Brian again,  it was time to put plan C into action - look for a corner of a field nearby (or the cemetery up the way) and pitch our tent.  Just as we were starting to pedal away, the man I had been speaking to on the phone came out to talk to us.  Again, he was sorry he couldn’t take us, but wanted to let us know there was a B&B in town.  He started to suggest another campground he knew of, but realizing how late it was saw that there not much point.  In a final act of desperation I asked him if the farmer up the way was friendly - if he’d be likely to let us pitch our tent for the night.  At that point he realized that we weren’t after the regular amenities of a campground. Asking what time we would be leaving in the morning, we both started stammering out promises that it would be before 7am, and we didn’t need any water, and that we wouldn’t do any cooking, and we’d hide the tent, and ... he said we could stay!
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