When we left the lighthouse we needed somewhere to stay. Everything from hereon out was unplanned. To book anything we needed to drive to somewhere with mobile signal; a common problem in this part of Scotland. We found Airds Farmhouse online, which is close to Castle Douglas and near to the places we wanted to visit. Sam called ahead and we had a B&B room for 3 nights.
Heading back inland, we tried a different route, and left the comfort of the A75 at Castle Kennedy. About 40 minutes longer, our adventurous path took us through a vast and empty expanse. The road was single track with passing points and it went on, and on and on. The only signs of life were the tiniest of hamlets, New Luce and Glenwhilly, really just a couple of farmhouses and an old trainline. We didn’t see another car for half an hour. The hills spread out around us, their peaks lined with wind turbines. Sheep slept on the warm tarmac, a fox was foraging for food in the midday sun.
After a 2 hour drive through the wilderness, we found civilisation again. From the main road to Dumfries we headed north to Crossmichael and our B&B, “Airds Farmhouse”, at the end of a little farm road and over a couple of cattle grids.
Mandy runs the farmhouse, and she and Samantha seemed to hit it off; it was like they’d known each other for years. Our room was a family one, a double bed, two singles and a large bathroom. The building is lovely; a new conservatory overlooks the garden where songbirds come to feed, and the view carries on, out over the fields to Loch Ken, while Red Kites fly high above (We saw 7 in 10 minutes, and Mandy provided binoculars and a sight).
This was also the perfect spot to perch for a few days. We could reach Galloway Forest Park, and the Western edge of the Scottish Borders, and it would be a short drive south to get to The Lakes.
Of course, once we’d checked in we needed to sleep, and the afternoon was lost to slumber. Rising again for the evening light, we drove North on the A713. Using a map of the terrain we climbed hills and followed the edges of lochs, searching for photogenic spots. We ended up on small winding roads that, according to Google Maps, didn’t exist. Past St John’s Town of Dalry and Earlstoun Loch, we headed into the hills near Knocknalling. It was a lovely drive, but it didn’t yield any pictures.
For dinner we stopped somewhere that Mandy had recommended, The Clachan Inn. It had old red carpets, red wallpaper, rich wooden furniture and old shot gun shells on the walls. And the food was delicious.