Day 122

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Campbeltown to Inveraray

Driving tour

Inveraray hostel

I left Campbeltown fairly early with a thought that I would get the ferry from Claonaig to Lochranza on the Isle of Arran. I was really early so I drove past the ferry terminal for a couple of miles to see the ruins of Skipness Castle.  

Skipness Castle
 By the time I had walked around the grounds of this 13th Century castle and dodged a tractor on the road back there was a long queue for the ferry and not enough space for my car. Oh well, I wasn’t sure about going to Arran anyway as I couldn’t find accommodation and I wanted to climb Goat Fell but the weather was terrible (as usual) so the views would have been non-existent. I reassessed and instead carried on driving back up to Tarbert and caught the ferry across Loch Fyne to Portavadie on the Cowal peninsula.  

Looking back at Tarbert from the ferry
 This is the heart of Argyll and there were plenty of clues that on any other day the scenery would be outstanding as there are 3 fingers to Cowal that are separated by 2 sea lochs, known as the long lochs. Then you have the lochs separating Cowal from Kintyre to the West, Inverclyde to the East, and the Isle of Bute to the South. No wonder Argyll and Bute has a longer coastline than the whole of France! There are hills, trees and water everywhere you look. If only there wasn’t so much rain and cloud! 

The Kyles of Bute and the Isle of Bute
 I drove up the West side of the Kyles of Bute and Loch Riddon, admiring the views whenever the clouds parted. I missed out the “middle finger” and drove around the top of Loch Striven and across to the Royal Burgh of Dunoon. Loch Striven was where Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bombs were tested. 

From Dunoon I got my first sight of Glasgow, across the Firth of Clyde, confirming that I was indeed heading to South Scotland now.  

Inverclyde across the Firth of Clyde
 Dunoon was the first place that looked like a “seaside town” since Fife on the East Coast. I was almost excited. It certainly looked like a town that was once a Victorian seaside destination, with its promenade, pier and big old buildings. I climbed up Castle Hill but the views weren’t great with such low cloud.  

Looking down on Dunoon from Castle Hill
 As I couldn’t really see much of the town I spent an hour in the rather fascinating Castle House Museum with its odd collections. On leaving the town I stopped for a quick coffee at one of the worst cafes I’ve been in – possibly a sign of the state of the town?

From Dunoon I headed North around the end of Holy Loch and all along Loch Eck to reach the East side of Loch Fyne at Strachur. Holy Loch is so named because a ship carrying sacred Jerusalem soil bound for Glasgow Cathedral was wrecked here. It also has the distinction of being the training ground for the Cockleshell Heroes and was a Polaris Submarine base until 1992. 

Loch Eck

It was the addition of so many trees, along with so much water, that made this afternoon’s drive different and spectacular. There were still lots of hills and mountains, and I went over a few as I criss-crossed between lochs. I headed back East to Lochgoilhead and drove down the dead end road alongside Loch Goil to Carrick Castle, yet another castle on a loch; Scotland has so many!  

Carrick Castle on the shore of Loch Goil
 I didn’t fancy camping in the terrible weather and the only cheap accommodation I could find was the hostel at Inveraray. This meant driving back around the head of Loch Fyne, but it’s all so picturesque that it really wasn’t a chore. I particularly enjoyed driving over the A83 mountain pass called Rest And Be Thankful. I did indeed stop to admire the (obscured) view and was thankful for being in such a beautiful country. I was looking at 2 parallel roads: the A83 and an old military road cut into the hillside. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo. 

On the way back down Loch Fyne I passed the original Loch Fyne restaurant and oyster bar. It also had a seafood and deli shop that looked amazing.  

The original Loch Fyne restaurant
 Inveraray was a surprise. I had no idea I was staying in such a fine example of an 18th Century Scottish new town. It was designed by one architect as an estate village to house the workers on the Duke of Argyll’s estate. Inveraray Castle is a Georgian mansion house just on the edge of the town and is the seat of the Campbells.  

The main street in Inveraray
Inveraray Castle
On the top of Duniquaich hill, overlooking Inveraray is a monument that is a prominent landmark.  

Monument Hill
 The town itself also has a jail (now open to tourists), an excellent bell tower that is not part of the church, and a wonderful war memorial.   

Inveraray’s Bell Tower
The war memorial on the shore of Loch Fyne
 Inveraray is clearly a popular stop on the tourist trail and I quite liked it. I went for a nice dinner at The George Hotel and hung around to listen to the live band playing traditional Scottish music afterwards. It was a good evening.  


Day 121 Mull of Kintyre

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Oban to Campbeltown, Kintyre

Driving tour

Campbeltown Backpackers

I didn’t get to sleep until after 1 am as that’s when the bar downstairs closed. I did not enjoy being cramped in a small room with 5 blokes so was up very early after a poor night’s sleep. The room stank of sweaty men and I needed to get out of there. 

Guess what…it was raining. How unsurprising! My only plan was to get to the Mull of Kintyre. I had bought a road atlas yesterday as I’ve run out of maps; this means I am unlikely to be doing much walking now without OS maps to scrutinise for walks to do. Still, in this weather I’m happy just driving to be honest. 

The poor weather meant the views of the islands in the Firth of Lorn (Scarba, Lunga and the Garvellachs), and later across the Sound of Jura to the islands of Jura and Islay, were not what they could have been. 

 From Oban I drove down to Easdale, the town at the end of the Isle of Seil, which is attached to the mainland by the Clachan Bridge.  

The Clachan Bridge
 From Easdale there are views across the Sound of Insh to Insh Island and the Firth of Lorn to Mull.  

The dark coastline of the Wild West
 I didn’t bother stopping again until I reached Kilmartin, the main town in the beautiful Kilmartin Glen, which opens out onto Moine Mhor. This was a gem of a place with a great little museum giving an insight into the rich archaeological history that is visible all around this valley. There is a line of stone cairns running along the valley, standing stones, fort remains and various cup and ring marks that one could spend days looking at it all.  

The stone cairn at Kilmartin
 I think Kilmartin Glen and the raised peat bog of Moine Mhor have the largest concentration of historical places and monuments that I’ve seen.

I spent a couple of hours in the excellent little museum at Kilmartin, which also has a nice cafe. The Kilmartin church had some crosses that were similar to the Pictish crosses on the East coast, but Celtic.  

Moine Mhor
 I really enjoyed the drive across the Moine Mhor peat bog as it was such a different landscape – a wide open low lying area on the edge of the mountains. In the middle of the Mhor is a lump of rock with the remains of Dunadd Fort on top. This is the hill where St Columba came to anoint Aidan as first Christian king of Scotland in 574. So much history! 

The Dunadd Fort hill on Moine Mhor
 Next stop was Crinan and the entrance to the Crinan Canal. The road followed the canal for a bit and I was able to see a few of its 15 lochs and 7 bridges. The canal was built in 1801 and handily links the Sound of Jura with Loch Fyne, thus eliminating the need for boats to go all the way around the Mull of Kintyre. The canal is now part of the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail that goes from Oban to Helensburgh.  

Crinan Canal
 I drove on to Lochgilphead and across Knapdale to the pretty little town of Tarbert, at the entrance to the Kintyre peninsula.  

 It was raining quite hard by now but I stopped briefly to admire the harbour and, in particular, a couple of Loch Fyne skiffs that were moored up.  

Loch Fyne skiffs in the harbour
 From here I drove down the West side of Kintyre and could just about see across to Jura and Islay; the Paps of Jura were faintly visible through the rain and cloud.  

The paps of Jura are there somewhere!
 I thought I ought to check out the old RAF Machrihanish, which now serves as Campbeltown Airport. The road to the Mull of Kintyre skirts around the end of the runway. 

Kintyre felt like the Wild West to me. It definitely had a really remote feeling and the drive to the Mull of Kintyre lighthouse was single track, up and down, with a couple of gates to open on the way. Kintyre was the heart of the Dalriada Kingdom, started by the Gaelic speaking Scotti tribe from Ireland around 300AD. 

More rugged coastline
  I was surprised to see a couple of very remote houses; I wonder who lives out here and how they do their shopping? Once I arrived at the final, locked gate it was time to abandon the car and walk down the steep hill towards the lighthouse. I didn’t bother going all the way down and gave up about halfway, after about 4 hairpin bends. Despite the grey day I could see Northern Ireland really clearly; it’s much closer than I thought.  

The Mull of Kintyre, Northern Ireland in the distance
 I wended my way across to Campbeltown via Southend and the road that hugs the rugged coastline.  

The view along the Southern coast of Kintyre
 I stopped on the Southern bit to look at Keil Caves, once inhabited, and to see the footprints in a rock. Apparently these belong to St Columba and signify the spot where he landed in Argyll when he came from Ireland to bring Christianity to the Picts.  

One of the Keil caves
St Columba’s footprints
I arrived in Campbeltown early evening and made my way to the Campbeltown backpackers. It works on an honesty payment system (put the fee in an envelope and post it in a box) and there were only 2 of us staying the night, me and a journalist who works in the town but is waiting for a house. Unbelievably this guy came from Fairfield, about 5 miles from where I am from, on the outskirts of Birmingham. Shame I didn’t like him! He did recommend the Ardshiel Hotel for a nice dinner. Their whisky bar looked amazing…if you like whisky!  

How many whiskies?
 I learnt that Campbeltown used to have 17 whisky distilleries and Paul McCartney used to have a place here (hence the song). These days the town looks a little rundown.  


Day 120 Ferries, Bridges and Castles around Loch Linnhe

Monday 3 August 2015

Craignure, Mull to Oban, Argyll and Bute

Driving tour

Corran House Hostel

It was raining again when I left the bunkhouse and headed just down the road to the Fishnish ferry terminal. I think this is the smallest and quietest ferry terminal on Mull and so I was in one of only 4 cars to board the ferry to Lochaline.  

Fantastic roads right on the edge of Loch Linnhe, driving through the rain
 Back on the mainland I was once again in the Highlands for a short time as I headed up the West side of Loch Linnhe to Corran. Here I could get a ferry across the Loch, thus avoiding a 40 mile drive around the Loch, via Fort William. What a bonus to arrive and drive straight on board the packed ferry without having to queue.  

The Corran Ferry across Loch Linnhe
 The first of 3 bridges for today was the magnificent Ballachulish Bridge spanning the point where Lochs Linnhe and Leven meet.  

Ballachulish Bridge
 A bit further along the coast there were good views of Castle Stalker, a Clan Campbell residence, marooned on a small island at high tide. The best views were from a well-positioned cafe so naturally I took full advantage and took a break. 

Castle Stalker
 Next up was Creagan Bridge, across Loch Creran and then finally Connel Bridge, which took me out of the Highlands and back into Argyll and Bute.  

Looking back at the Connel Bridge from Dunbeg
 As I approached Oban I stopped at Dunstaffnage Castle for a quick look at one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland. Built on a promontory overlooking the Firth of Lorn it has a great strategic position and is supposedly where the Stone of Destiny was brought from Ireland (later the Stone of Scone). It was once the seat of power for the rulers of Dalriada, the ancient Gaelic Kingdom that included much of Western Scotland and a bit of Northern Ireland.  

Dunstaffnage Castle
 As I approached Oban the sun started to come out for the evening and I could have camped but I’d already booked a hostel to escape the bad weather. I drove around Oban and along the front towards Dunollie Castle, the capital of the Kingdom of Lorn and the seat of the Clan Macdougall Chief, Lord of the Isles.  

Dunollie Castle, Oban
 By the castle is a huge rock that is known as the dog stone. Folklore says this is where the Celtic mythological giant Fingal tethered his dog Bran.  

Fingal’s dog stone
 I thought Oban was quite a good looking and busy town based around a port and sheltered by islands. For the best view I walked up the hill at the back of the town to McCaig’s Tower, a circular wall built to resemble the Colosseum.  

McCaig’s Tower on the hill overlooking Oban
 A ridiculous folly but it’s a great view point to watch the sun setting over Oban Bay.  

Sun setting over Oban Bay
 The hostel I was staying in was packed and I was sharing a cramped 6-person room with 5 blokes. I definitely should have camped! I decided to go for a nice meal to forget about the cramped, smelly room that awaited and so I splashed out on a good restaurant. The thing about being in my own is that places can often just fit me in without a reservation. I got lucky at Ee-Usk on the North Pier and had a lovely seafood dinner.  


WEEK 18 – Craignure, Mull to Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway


7 miles walked, ~700 miles driven

(total 1,161 miles walked)

What a big week! I covered so many miles and saw so much. I had no idea just how lovely the area around Glasgow is. The Trossachs looked stunning. And there is so much water, everywhere you look. 

water everywhere you look
This week I reached the Mull of Kintyre and the Mull of Galloway, and I got close enough to Ireland to see it across the sea. 

Mull of Kintyre
Such a wonderful week; however, I was starting to feel the need to get walking again. By the end of the week the weather was improving and I was reaching places that would be easy to walk around; they even had paths! I was also feeling the need for a break and the desire to go home. How fortuitous that having a car meant I could get home without too much added expense. 

sunset on The Rhins
I have really enjoyed seeing much of the West coast of Scotland by car – it actually worked out rather well for me. 

Day 125 Mull of Galloway and Luce Bay

Saturday 8 August 2015

Stranraer to Wigtown

Driving tour, 3 mile walk

Ali’s house, Edinburgh

I woke to a beautiful sunny day and packed up quickly to make the most of the early morning. My first stop was the Mull of Galloway, the Southern tip of The Rhins and Scotland’s most Southerly point. I parked the car and walked to the tip. Wow. It was glorious, and there was no one around so I got it all to myself – the quiet, the light, the creeping warmth of the sun. How lucky am I? 

Looking across the Ireland from Mull of Galloway
the lighthouse at the Mull of Galloway
 As I was leaving I spotted a strange round tower in a field that had steps all around it. I always have to climb these things, just for the hell of it.  
what is this?
 I began the long drive around Luce Bay (I think they named it after me). It was a lovely drive and Luce Sands looked like a lovely big beach. 

The Rhins East coastline, bordering Luce Bay
On the East side of the bay I stopped in Port William, a pretty little town full of the same terraced houses I’d seen going up the East coast of Scotland. Killantrae Burn flowed through the town and right past the old piggery and abattoir. Although no longer used for that purpose, it’s history was celebrated by filling the yard with plastic pigs. I quite liked it.  

the Old Piggery at Port William
 There was a wonderful statue of a man looking across the sea to Ireland.  

“What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stop and stare?” W.H.Davies
 Just after Monreith I stopped to look at a memorial by the side of the road. It was an otter and celebrated the author Gavin Maxwell who was from the area and had kept pet otters. 

Gavin Maxwell’s otter
an otter with a view of Monreith Beach
At the eastern end of Luce Bay, just before Burrow Head, is St Ninian’s Cave. I parked up and walked the mile or so down Physgill Glen to a small beach with a cave at one end. This was apparently the place where Scotland’s first saint retreated to pray and reflect. It is clearly still a pilgrim site as there were many crosses, carvings and prayers on the walls. Quite an amazing place. 

St Ninian’s Cave
prayer offerings all around St Ninian’s Cave
Next stop was the Isle of Whithorn. It’s not actually an Isle but a small town at the end of a natural inlet. 

the Isle of Whithorn
On the headland is the remains of St Ninian’s Chapel. St Ninian was the first Christian missionary to come to Scotland around 400AD. For centuries, Isle of Whithorn was the landing place for pilgrims coming from Wales, France, Spain, Ireland and Scandinavia. 

St Ninian’s Chapel, Isle of Whithorn
There is a huge witness cairn and the whole place had an incredible feel to it. 

the witness cairn
Just inland from the Isle of Whithorn was Whithorn so I diverted there to take a look. 

a beautiful archway leading to Whithorn Abbey

Here was Whithorn Priory, the earliest known Christian foundation in Scotland. It was established about 500AD by St Ninian, whose monastery became a site visited by the likes of Robert The Bruce and King James IV. He also built the Candida Casa, the little white church. So much history in one small corner of Scotland!
Whithorn Abbey
I finished my day with a quick stop in Wigtown; I had no idea this was Scotland’s National Book Town. So many book shops to choose from but I picked one and went in to buy a book. I came away with Gavin Maxwell’s Ring of Brightwater, and John McNeillie’s Wigtown Ploughman
It was time for my road trip to come to an end and, as I was a long way from Inverness where I had hired my car, I had negotiated to drop it back at Heathrow Airport, which isn’t too far from home. That way I could visit home for a couple of weeks. I had decided to drive via Ali’s house in Edinburgh to collect my old tent and rucksack that she had been keeping for me. 

It was lovely to catch up with Ali and Morna again, and nice to spend the evening with friends before my long drive home tomorrow. 

that’s Northern Ireland I can see!

Day 124 The Ayrshire Coast

Friday 7 August

Balloch to The Rhins of Galloway

Driving tour

North Rhins campsite

Isabel fed me up and I particularly enjoyed her homemade muesli. I could have easily settled down for another few hours of chatting but she rightly set me on my way to find the next adventure. It was a fine day as I drove across the Erskine Bridge and along the River Clyde front to Port Glasgow and then Greenock.  

Port Glasgow
 It was lovely to stand in Greenock and look across to Dunoon – I got a better view of the place than when I’d been there thanks to the change in weather.  

Looking across the Mouth of the Clyde to Dunoon
 From Greenock/Gourock, right on the bend of the Clyde, there are ferries going across the Clyde to Helensburgh, or to Dunoon, or to Kilcreggan on the Rosneath Peninsula. I had other ideas however so I left the Clyde behind and turned South towards Largs.  

The Vikings have invaded Largs
 I passed through West Wemyss (there was one of these in Fife!) and got to admire the view across to the Isle of Bute. It wasn’t the most scintillating of drives but the sun was out so it was pleasant. 

I stopped in Largs to stretch my legs and look across to the 2 islands of Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae, and then carried on to Ardrossan.  

The Cumbraes; Goatfell on Arran in the background and in the middleground (just visible) is the tip of Bute
 After chatting to Isabel I had decided I would like to get the ferry to Bute and, ideally, to climb Goatfell as I expected some wonderful views that would take in  the Kintyre peninsula, the beautiful lochs and mountains of Argyll and Bute and Ayrshire. Unfortunately, I hadn’t banked on huge queues for the ferry, well it is holiday season I suppose.  

Prestwick beach (not an air traffic controller in sight!)
 I changed my plans and carried on South through Ayrshire, around the big sweep of Irvine Bay to Troon, Prestwick and Ayr. By now the sun was warm and the sky a deep blue, perfect weather for leaving the car behind. However, the road was next to the sea and the further I drove the better views I got so I carried on, and on, and on.  

Looking back up the Ayrshire coast
 At Girvan I stopped to stare at Ailsa Craig, the remains of a volcanic plug 10 miles out in the Irish Sea. It’s the place where the blue granite that is used to make all the world’s curling stones is quarried.  

Ailsa Craig
 I decided I might as well carry on to Stranraer and onto the “hammerhead” peninsula that juts out into the Irish Sea and faces Belfast. Here I was sure I’d find a nice campsite.  

A roadside memorial to the Russian cruiser Varyag
 There was a big ferry in Loch Ryan, at Stranraer terminal, but the town seemed rather deserted. I carried on, straight across The Rhins Peninsula, to Portpatrick. It had clearly been a busy day by the seaside for lots of people and so unfortunately I was greeted by lots of detritus around the harbour and the town. It’s a quaint town and obviously a popular holiday destination. It was once the main port for ferried to Northern Ireland, until it was decided the shelter of Stranraer was preferable. I didn’t want to stay in Portpatrick so I decided to head back to Stranraer, get an early dinner, and hunt on the Internet for campsites. I stopped at Henry’s Bay House overlooking Loch Ryan for an early bird special. 

I found a nice little campsite in the middle of The Rhins. It was very sheltered (not that I required that tonight) with fire pits and looked lovely for families.  

Pitched at last
 Once I’d got my tent pitched I walked up the short hill to the Agnew Monument, from where I could admire the views in the setting sunshine.   

The Agnew Monument…
…built in 1850, paid for by locals, to commemorate the service of their politician, Sir Andrew Agnew. How times have changed!
A commanding view of Loch Ryan and Stranraer
 A lovely end to a very long day in the car.  

Sunset over the Irish Sea

Day 123 Climbing The Cobbler and Submarine Country

Thursday 6 August 2015

Inveraray to Balloch

Driving tour, 4 mile mountain walk

Isabel’s house (Morna’s mum)

I awoke to sunshine, which was a nice surprise. Everybody seemed to creep around the small youth hostel so I decided to walk back along Inveraray high street to find a nice breakfast in a small cafe/B&B. 

Looking back on Inveraray
  It gave me a chance to appreciate the views across Loch Fyne and the small Loch Shira, which is really just a bay of the huge Loch Fyne. 

Today seemed like a good day for a walk and I was itching to stretch my legs after a very long day of driving yesterday. I was surrounded by mountains but didn’t have an OS map of the area. Fortunately there was a map pinned to the wall in the youth hostel and so, after studying it for a while, I decided to head over to the tip of Loch Long and walk up The Cobbler (Ben Arthur). The map indicated a good path and, without a map, I was set to break one of my rules about walking without a back-up means of navigation so I determined that I would only walk to the top if it was a well trodden path. With a plan made I set off, driving back around the top of Loch Fyne and following the A83 back up Glen Kinglas, the main road following the same route as an old military road. I was still retracing yesterday’s route (but with some visibility today) until I reached the wonderfully named ‘Rest and be thankful’ viewing area at the high point between Glen Kinglas (leading to Loch Fyne) and Glen Croe (leading to Loch Long). What a beautiful spot and today I could admire the view that wasn’t visible yesterday. 

The road descended down Glen Croe, through Ardgartan Forest and in fact skirted around the mountain I intended to walk up, although I couldn’t see it through the trees. I reached Loch Long and stopped at the car park on the edge of Succoth, the town at the Northern tip of the Loch. There were lots of cars parked and people setting off hiking so I decided that, even though I was map-less, I would follow the well-marked path and not deviate from it. I knew where I was heading – to the top of The Cobbler and back – so it shouldn’t be difficult and there seemed to be plenty of other people with the same idea as me and making the most of a break in the bad weather.  

Looking down over the Ardgartan Forest to Loch Long
 What a wonderful climb up to the summit of Ben Arthur at 884m. The rocky top does look a little like a cobbler mending a shoe. 

“The Cobbler”
 Once I was above Ardgartan Forest the path followed a stream to the col between the 2 summits of The Cobbler and Beinn Narnain (926m). Tempting as it was to head for the higher peak, there was no well trodden path so without a map I stuck to my original plan. I passed lots of people on my walk up and down this mountain – no one passed me so I must still be pretty walk fit even after so long sat in a car.   

Looking ‘inland’ from The Cobbler, the clouds sweeping in
 There was a round route to the summit with steps going up and then a more difficult descent down the rocks. How typical that the weather should close in when I reached the top!  

at the top (honest)
 Still, the views on the way up were magnificent and I was enjoying the exercise.   

Looking down on the route I walked up (Succoth in the background)
 It took me just over 3 hours to complete my walk and so there was plenty of time for some more sightseeing when I arrived back at the car at 2pm.  

Loch Long
 I drove around the head of Loch Long, through Arrochar, and then took a wee road up and through Glen Douglas, crossing over the hills to Inverbeg on the shore of Loch Lomond. This was a stunningly beautiful drive. Although nothing is marked on the map I guess there’s some military bunkers here as there was a lot of security and megaphones were in operation. I am around the corner from Faslane after all. 
Loch Lomond
 After a few miles driving down the Western shore of Loch Lomond I cut back across Glen Fruich to Garelochhead and the Rosneath Peninsula – a tear drop between Loch Long and Gare Loch. This is Royal Navy country and I drove past Coulport and Faslane (one on each loch).  

Faslane Port on Gare Loch, the Rosneath Peninsula on the far shore
 The Rosneath peninsula is not very large but it was worth driving around to see the views looking South across the Firth of Clyde to Greenock and Dunoon. A great spot to shelter submarines.  

Greenock on the left and Dunoon on the right, from Rosneath
 Finally, I drove down the East shore of Gare Loch and stopped on the sea front in Helensburgh, once again facing across the Clyde to Greenock and Port Glasgow, and across the mouth of Gare Loch to Rosneath Point. It had been a fantastic drive cross-crossing between the lochs; there is so much water and beauty around Glasgow.  

The view towards Helensburgh from Rosneath Point
 It was late afternoon and my final stop was Morna’s mum’s house in Balloch. I headed out of Helensburgh via a quick stop to peer through the fence at Hill House, designed and built in 1902 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for the Blackie family. Unfortunately I had missed opening hours. 

I had a wonderful evening in the company of Isabel. I don’t think I have ever stayed in a cleaner house and she is a real inspiration for all the activities she gets up to in her eighties. It was lovely to be treated to good food and great company.