A rather longer day, covering around 180 miles but with the added bonus of fish and chips thrown in.
The Plan had us split the day in to four equal legs, with two coffee breaks and a lunch stop neatly dividing the drive. We were aiming to be at the Bridge of Allan by 4:30 pm, allowing a chip supper from the Allanwater Café and leaving plenty of time to check in at Blair Drummond. As usual Mr Snail declared "too soon to stop" and drove on all the way to Ralia before we stopped for coffee and rather delicious muffins.
I took leave of my senses at Ralia and bought a handbag!
After a grey and mizzly start, the sun came out just as we crossed the border in to Perth and Kinross. We drove on to Perth, where Mr Snail hoped to find a motorhome dealer with a waste trolley in stock. We failed in that mission but we did fill Brunhilde's fridge with goodies from M&S - my first M&S in over 14 years. My first pot of their sour cream and chive dip in just as long. Oh, my!
The Bridge of Allan was not at all as I remembered, not a sleepy little village but was in fact heaving with people and traffic. Bruni would not fit in the car park but after a full circuit we did find a kerbside spot outside the care home by the river. Happily this was just around the corner from the Allanwater Café and there were picnic tables at hand.
Two large Cod suppers were speedily ordered.
NB - we do not order Large fish because we are greedy, no, we order Large fish because it simply fries better and yields a nicer result. Skinny fish dry out in the cooking. So, imagine our horror...
I swear it was not a trick of the memory. The years have not been kind to the Allanwater Café. What was once the best chip supper in Scotland is now distinctly average. The business is now in the hands of a new generation, the fourth, I believe. Clearly not safe hands. Greasy batter, lukewarm fish, undistinguished chips. A grave disappointment after so many years waiting for a good piece of cod.
We were so sad that we did not return in search of home-made ice cream and cherries but simply went on our way - though not before I spent some time enjoying the real and definite signs of Spring.
The Blair Drummond Caravan Park is a Caravan Club Affiliated site.Part of the Blair Drummond Estate, the site is set largely within the old walled garden and is separated from the Safari Park by a woodland, accessible from the site. It being the Easter school holidays, the place was quite full but the warden pointed us towards a quiet part of the site outside the wall. This space had three pitches but only ours was occupied.
The woodland walks were beckoning to Nell and she happily slipped through the hedge with us and in to a world of trees, rhododendrons, snowdrops and daffodils. There were woodpeckers pecking and birdsong everywhere about us.
The sun was quite strong, strong enough that I bemoaned not bringing a hat and a bottle of water along. We kept in the shade of the trees as much as possible and were entertained by surprise vistas - the castle hove in to view at one point
closely followed by the realisation that we were looking down on the Chimpanzee's island at the Safari Park!
We found a swing in the woods
and also a tipi construction
and then Mr Snail led me up the
and home to Brunhilde and another early bedtime - we had an almost equally long journey to face the following day.
Owls hooted and called all night and the woodpecker was busy very early in the frosty morning. We were perhaps not as refreshed as we might have been when we set off the next day.