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Scotland, Dunragit, Stranraer: November 2021


This is my usual summary post where I can list each of my blogposts from our little break away in one place to find them more easily.




 
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Scotland: Day 3 Visiting Stranraer

Wednesday 3rd November 2021

The photos have ended up in a bit of a muddled order and it seems to take age to try to re-jiggle them in the right places, so will leave them muddled...But these were the photos from our third and final full day in Scotland. 

We enjoyed the hot tub on a couple of occasions and on this occasion, Miss T joined us too. 


We'd headed to the actual town of Stranraer in the morning and then had a look around the farm in the afternoon.  


Very close by to where we were staying in Dunragit, are Glenwhan Gardens. We never found time to visit there properly despite it being so close by but it has great reviews on Tripadvisor and has stunning views and a tea room, so next time we head to Scotland, we will be visiting! 


And these were the piggies on the farm that we totally fell in love with. You could save your scraps of food to feed them with, which they very much enjoyed. 


Beautiful poppy display in Stranraer

Stunning coastline of Stranraer
We'd packed up another picnic that morning and headed to Stranraer. The coastline was stunning and though it was a windy day, the sun was shining. 








Though our little stay was much shorter than we would have liked (we had existing commitments to get home for so couldn't extend our stay), we really tried to make the most of it and we realised just how much we had needed a little break away after being at home for so long. 

There is only one regret that I live with about our trip to Scotland. On the Wednesday night, we started seeing tweets about the northern lights being visible from various places in Scotland. There were even people posting photos of seeing the northern lights from as far south as York and Norfolk in England! Just mind blowing. 

We checked the website that shows the chance of spotting the northern lights from the UK and sure enough it was on the highest alert. Interestingly it had also been on high alert on Sunday night when we had travelled through the night to get to Scotland. It made me think back to when I spotted a green hue in the distance and assumed it was light pollution coming from a town but that MAY well have been the northern lights I had seen without even realising it. 

The kids were in bed and we knew that we had an incredibly long drive home the next day so the sensible part of our brains took control and made sure we got to bed instead of waking the kids up to go for a drive in the hope of spotting the northern lights. 

The next morning, I woke up with total regret about this as it dawned on me just how much of a rare opportunity it was for us to have been in Scotland AND for there to have been a rare high alert of spotting the aurora borealis. It is on my bucket list to see it so I very much hope I will get another opportunity! 

We had a reasonably good journey home on Thursday with one bit of traffic hold up but generally good going for most the journey and we definitely want to head back to Scotland again and stay longer and visit more of Scotland. 

We are truly grateful to Laura at The House of Holidays and the property owners of The Coo Shed in Dunragit for such a wonderful stay. It is somewhere that we would wholeheartedly recommend and very much want to visit again. 


We'll leave you with a little video of the piggies - aren't they just adorable!!! 

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Scotland, Stranraer: Day 2 Visiting Port Patrick

Tuesday 2nd November 2021

I can only describe my night's sleep as PERFECT. It may be partly because we were so tired from the long drive the night before but the beds are also outstandingly amazing and absolutely perfect for my back. 

The upstairs king-size bedroom with en-suite

One of the en-suite shower rooms

The twin room

Some extra seats on the landing

An extra seating area on the landing for bedtime stories

The living room area with a viewing window to watch the cows

The open plan kitchen area

The downstairs bedroom

I've lost count of the number of times that we've ended up cutting a holiday short because my back pain became unbearable due to the beds not being suitable so once I find somewhere with good beds, it stays on my radar and this place is definitely going to be staying on our radar for our next trip to Scotland as we definitely want to visit again. 




Stunning patterns in the rocks

Amazing landscapes! 







We packed up a picnic lunch and headed Port Patrick. It's a picturesque little harbour town close to where we are staying. As it is mid-week, term-time and out of season, it is really very quiet here. And it's a rainy day too. But it is still incredibly beautiful with it's rocky landscape.  

I have a thing about lichen! 











It was about a 25 min drive from Dunragit which is where we are staying. There was an old castle ruins which we took a closer look at. Note to self: I must look up history of Dunskey castle. You can get up to it but not inside it. There didn't look like there was much inside it anyhow. Perhaps it's a little like Sham castle in Bath where it was a built to look like a castle as a facade? But then again, Dunskey castle did have a small interior so I'm curious to know it's purpose. 

We looked around Port Patrick too and there weren't many places open mid-week off-season but it is still a lovely place to visit to see the stunning coastal scenery. 

 We headed back to our accommodation in the afternoon for hot chocolate and some of the delicious treats in our treat tray we received waiting for us on arrival. 

 We thought it was also time to check out the amazing hot tub. This property benefits from the covered hot tub so even when it was raining we were able to enjoy it. There are beautiful fairy lights around and we noticed that as it grew dark, the courtyard outside the property was also strung with fairy lights too giving the place a magical touch in the evenings. 

We've been watching Heroes recently so we watched a couple of episodes of that before another brilliant night's sleep. 



Miss T's school had asked if she could do some mini vlogs about her trip so she did a tour of our accommodation here: 



 

 

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Our first visit to Scotland. Stranraer trip: Day 1 Threave Garden and arriving at Dunragit

Arriving in Scotland after 12 hours on the road

 

A car full of bears and luggage (and Miss T too!)


I have no idea why it's taken over 4 months to get around to writing up about our amazing little break to Scotland last November. Especially as I'd even made notes at the time but such is the craziness of life I suppose. 

Throughout 2020 and 2021, we'd had 3 planned breaks cancelled and whilst we were glad to be able to stay safe at home with the pandemic, we had got to the point where we were "armchair travelling" on an almost daily basis dreaming about where we would love to travel to. 

I would wish for hot sunny far flung places, whilst Miss T would ALWAYS say, I want to go to Scotland. So I couldn't believe my luck when I heard about House of Holidays travel agent who had a competition running on Facebook, and I won a short break in a cottage near Stranraer in Scotland. It was like Miss T's wish had come true! 

Now if it was non-Covid times, then we would have broken up a long drive like that with an overnight stay but to reduce risk, we decided to travel through the night and do it as one long journey with some rest breaks instead of a full overnight stay. 

So we set off on Sunday evening with the aim of getting to Scotland on Monday morning. A straight drive was predicted to take 8 hours but we knew it would be longer once we included stopping at services to refuel the car, loo breaks and to rest en route too. So it was 12 hours later that we actually cross the border into stunning Scotland. 

We could see within moments just how beautiful Scotland is and we immediately knew that we wanted to visit again for longer in future. But for this occasion, we were going to make the most of our 3 nights and 4 days staying in the most fantastic holiday accommodation. 

Laura from House of Holidays had organised everything brilliantly, even giving us tips on nearby places to visit. She'd been in touch to say that the property owners were upgrading our stay from The Dairy to the larger accommodation called The Coo Shed which was really kind of them as it meant that the kids would have their own space. 

The Dairy is newly renovated and sleeps between 2 and 4 people (king size bed, and sofa bed) and a newly installed hottub outdoors. The Coo Shed is a bigger property with 3 bedrooms - a king size bed downstairs, a twin room with ensuite and an upstairs king size bed and ensuite.  This property also benefits from a covered outdoor hottub. I love hot tubs and it's often something that is make or break when it comes to deciding which holiday cottage to book. 

Both cottages are amazing! So would highly recommend a stay at either of them. For us, it was absolutely perfect to have the bigger cottage with the covered outdoor hottub. 



Back to day one's activities...despite the heavy rain overnight making driving conditions really tricky, this morning was sunny and we stopped at Castle Douglas on our way to Stranraer. We went to the Scottish National Trust place called Threave gardens. We were pleased to find that we could get free entry with our National Trust membership. The grounds were beautiful and looking very autumnal with a blanket of gold leaves beneath many of the trees as well as shades of red, orange, brown and green in the gardens. 

 








We were incredibly excited when Miss T spotted a red squirrel! Though he did look like he was a bit stuck in his feeding box at one point... but he was fine actually...

 




We still had plenty of snacks with us in the car so didn't stop for food at the cafĂ© on this occasion though it did seem like a fabulous place for a bite to eat and we were very impressed with all the covid regulations in place in Scotland to help keep us all safe. 



 As we drove on towards Stranraer, our tiredness began to kick in again, so we found a beautiful little parking layby overlooking the estuary and rested - both me and Richard managed to sleep a short while while the kids entertained themselves with their gadgets as they had slept better overnight. 






We'd received a message from Laura saying that our accommodation was going to be ready earlier than planned. When travelling with kids and having driven such a long way, that gesture meant a lot. 

So we arrived and unpacked and awaited our ASDA grocery delivery that I'd booked ahead of time ready for arrival day. 

One of the first things I check whenever we arrive for a break anywhere, are the beds. I always need to find the firmest bed for my back pain. And I was thrilled to find the beds are of superb quality so they looked very promising for a good night's sleep.

It may only be our first day but I can't praise this accommodation highly enough already... it also has microwave, dishwasher, washing machine and even a toastie maker. 


 And as if the hot tub wasn't enough of a wow feature you can also admire the cows on this working farm from the living room window! It's totally awesome seeing the cows peering in at us whilst we relax in front of the tv in the evening. And whilst on the topic of wow, we were also welcomed with a tray of delicious bakes and potato scones - AMAZING and very much appreciated after our long journey.  


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