My cousin Rosa met us as we walked out of the ferry terminal. We drove to Ayr and had a late lunch in a little pub - chicken stuffed with Haggis!!!, then on to Aberdeen where we stayed in a Holiday Inn. All our accommodation has been booked by Rosa and Phil through a late room website and we have had good deals. After settling in, we went to visit Ben and Nicky ( Rosa and Phil's son and daughter- in- law) It was lovely to reacquaint with Ben and to meet Nicky who has been a Facebook friend for a while now.
The next morning we went to City Church with them. It was a family service run by the Kids Ministry team showing what they had done in holiday club so we had a pantomine, mad songs and a farewell to Ben and Nicky who are moving to York. After soup lunch at Ben and Nickys, we went into Aberdeen shopping and for a coffee at a free internet café - the hotel was charging $10 hr for internet - welcome to Scotland. In the evening we went to a pub for Pims and Ale, and to An Indian Restaurant for tea. The girl working there was from Sikim, near Assam and was very excited to meet people who had been to the area and knew that even though she didn't look like other Indians, that she was!!! We watched Bill Bailey, a comedian after - very funny.
The next day, we drove along the scenic route to Inverness, stopping at a whiskey distillery for a tour. Then we went down the left side of Loch Ness, took a slight detour up to the high road, via a narrow steep winding track which was only just wide enough to drive 1 car, hoping we wouldn't meet anyone as both sides of the road were sheer drops!!!. At a couple of corners, we had to do a 3 point turn to make it around the corner!! Scary!! It was an amazing trip though, and we ended up at Fort William on Loch Linhe. The B&B advertised loch views but the room that Lurch the one -toothed Scot showed us to, had the view hidden by a trailer home plonked right in the middle of the block!!!! We asked him if he had Earl Grey tea, but he said that it was too expensive and that he had to make a profit somehow!!!! Well, we ARE in Scotland. Wandered into town for tea that night.
The next day, we drove through Glasgow. Sam wanted to check out a shop so we dropped him off to ask directions, and then spent the next half hour trying to find him, and avoid parking inspectors!!! We decided to let him sleep through towns from then on. Our final destination was Carlisle where we were booked into the Swallow Hilltop Hotel - a hotel that had seen better days and was like a scene out of a movie about a pricey Old Folks Home. We were the youngest in the place by at least 20 years!!!. When I asked about the internet, I was informed that it hadn't been working for 3 weeks- no apology, or thought that maybe it should be fixed. We found out later that the hotel used to rent out rooms with a "lady" coming with each room!!!!
Before tea, which was included in the price, we drove to Bowness -on -Solway to see where we would start the walk the next day, and had a drink at the Kings Arm hotel - where people start the walk .
Went to bed, keen to start the walk the next day.