Out catching a glimpse of Nessie – Part 5

Heading Southeast, homeward bound

What is it with Capitals, that O’Ryan doesn’t like them?
Is it a sign, that I shouldn’t drive there? Not that I’m overly fond of big cities, but with a good GPSr and a routable map, so O’Ryan can lead me, I wasn’t worried at all. Turned out, I should have been…

Our last night in the Highlands was near The Red Fox, the parking lot was the perfect place to spend the night. Even though it didn’t rain but pour. No dead bug had been left on the screen, so hard came the rain down during the night. Still, it was a lovely quiet place in the forest just uphill from Loch Linnhe.
Not that we could see the Loch, with all this Scottish sunshine…

Lane down towards Loch Linnhe, wet, wet, wet.

Even in a country perceived to be rather used to water from above, all this rain from the night caused flooding and even a mudslide.

As our holiday was drawing to an end, and the timetable of the ferry was not such a long time away anymore, we slowly but surely made our way southeast again. We didn’t managed to climb Ben Nevis, even if my daughter would have loved to get her first Munro…But weather and time was against us this time round.

Flooded road, or is it a ford I’m using?

So we headed first south along the shores of Loch Linnhe, then east towards Loch Earn.
Due to last nights rain, we saw flooded roads and I had a DNF, as I was only 4m from the cache, but didn’t dare get on the other side of the tree. The river below that tree was raging and was just way to wild for me to dare getting any closer. The possibility to slip on the muddy ground and then being swept into Loch Earn was just too great for my liking.

Raging waters, due to last nights rainfall

The whole ground was shaking with the thundering of the waters.

The ducks were happy, though. Only this isn’t actually a duckpond…

The cache at the Loch Earn was a tame one, in comparison, but required stealth, as a camper van had parked quite close to the cache location. An elderly couple was in there: She tidying the interior, he sitting at the open door, combing himself and putting on shoes…
So we’ve put on stealth mode: The kids noisily went to the pebble beach and started a contest, who might be able to throw a stone further. I, on the other hand, scanned carefully the area for what the hint hinted at. Camera in hand as an excuse…
Luckily the couple drove on while I was still looking. I wonder, who’s sleeping that long on a holiday, it was 10.50h already. Half the day gone…

Loch Earn, the rain draws near again

On our way to Stirling, we followed another small lane which promised us ‘a drive in the country’.
Found this cool storyteller. I’m already thinking where I could place a similar fellow. Some old boots and a (woollen) jumper should be in the cellar somewhere… I would just need some tartan cloth to get the kilt! Maybe I let him sit at the steps to the house, to give the postmistress a fright? Or better not, she might not want to deliver my mail anymore…

The storyteller wasn’t very talkative

As we drove along the old military road, we came to Multicache, which was quite interesting. It taught me, that the Romans came even as far as north of Stirling. Imagine that, the Hadrians Wall is far off to the South…

Not that there was much left apart from small dykes, but still…

Driving through Edinburgh proved to be the same horrible scenario as the first time. Even though I didn’t cross the Firth of Forth this time, by the time we came near the airport, O’Ryan couldn’t calculate the distance to the next cache anymore, never mind showing me which way to go.
And again I got lost in the city centre, this time even worse right smack dap in the centre…

Eventually we found a way out and after leaving Edinburgh, O’Ryan could lead me to our next cache. Very strange indeed.
We spend the night close to the coast. Unfortunately this time not so nice a spot, as most parking lots had those ‘no overnight parking’ signs.
But at least we were a bit away from the main road and we even saw deer in the wheat fields. If they had kept quiet, I wouldn’t have noticed them, but as we drove past, they jumped up and ran away, always taking leaps to be able to look over the wheat.

As Newcastle was still a long way to go and we had to be there by 4 o’clock, we made our way south along the coast. The cache Roond Hill in the small fishing village of St. Abbs was especially nice.

Low tide

Harbourmasters office. The poor lad!

Parking down at the harbour, there were several cars already there. One group unloaded neoprene wetsuits and scuba gear, the other backpacks and hiking boots.
Apparently apart from famous diving grounds at St. Abbs, there is a popular coastal trail for hikers. But also on their website, they advertise geocaching, which I find a bit disturbing…
I guess, I’m one of those, who think word of mouth marketing is certainly enough advertisement. Our past time doesn’t need more publicity.
At least at home the ill effects of badly researched newspaper publishings are already to be seen…

Is it a writer or a painter, enjoying the sun?

Anyway, the fishing village of St. Abbs is a very picturesque one, the locals take care, that their village retains it’s charm. We had a lovely walk through the village and along the cliff.
As we neared the cache location, two fighter jets thundered over our heads out to sea. After a very short time they turned and came back our way, this time I had the camera ready.

Fighter jet over St. Abbs. The noise was tremendous!

Finnuala climbing the cliff face, look for the small blue dot…

The tide was out, and so my daughter couldn’t resist to climb down the cliff face to explore the rocks. She was gone for ages, or so it seemed to me. My son followed her, but only to shout at her to come back, as I wanted to get a move on, the ferry isn’t waiting for us. Certainly it didn’t for some poor family with their camping trailer, who discovered this the hard way. What a nightmare to come to the port, see the ferry, see the last cars loaded and be turned away…
Well, Time and Tide waits for no man.
Especially not a fully loaded ferry. I believe, we couldn’t even place a motorcycle… Or maybe just though…

But we managed just fine to reach Newcastle on time. We even had some time to spare and search for a few more caches.

Last farewell to Northern England, the harbour of Newcastle upon Tyne

Coast south of Newcastle, our last view of land.

The sailing was uneventful, nobody got seasick, even though Finnuala is quite prone to that. But the sea was calm, no strong movement of the ship at all.
So there was no need to tease her with my favourite saying:
You know the best cure against sea sickness?
Sit under a tree!

Straight off the ferry we passed a fish monger and his certainly eye-catching addvertisement:

Dead, I’m certain. Judging by the smell….

My plan to drive through Amsterdam and see a bit of the traditional houses there, was disturbed by O’Ryan, who again proofed, that he doesn’t like Capitals. Here, he only showed me the major roads. I wonder, if I loaded the map properly? But then, the Netherlands aren’t such a huge country, I’m quite sure, I got it all covered at City Navigator 10…. I got feed up with O’Ryans behaviour, and headed home.

On the motorway we came surprisingly into a traffic jam. Strangely though, Saturday late morning and not that much traffic. Turned out, we had to wait for a bridgelift. I’ve often seen bridge lifts, but never on a motorway! Amazing…

A bridgelift on the motorway, who would have guessed.

On our way to the ferry a week ago, we had passed several windmills. My daughter fancied seeing one again and so we went off the motorway to perhaps spot one. Sure enough, we found one. It was even working, but I’m not so sure, what they’re milling…

Dutch windmill in action

At home, my cats weren’t ‘talking’ to me, they hate, when we head off, as they have to stay indoors and wait for my friend to come once a day.
The dogs on the other hand, were more than happy to see us back. Or maybe not so, as my 6 year old nephew found it quite handy to have a dog underneath the table to dispose unwanted sandwiches and his mother none the wiser….

For those, who like me like a bit of statistics:

2332km in 9 days, fuelling up 4 times, 80l Diesel tank (not always empty, though)

from GSAK: best week caching: 80 finds, from Monday 17.08.2009 to Sunday 23.08.2009
most Northerly cache found: N 57° 28.190
most finds in a calendar month: in Aug 2009