Driving the scenic route back to England. We should stop and look round Dumfries but we are hoping to see Carlisle instead. So, Dumfries is confined to a quick trip to an out of town shopping precinct. Whilst in Oban we stumbled across Sue Reid Sexton's book Writing On The Road where she details trips through Scotland and France in a Romahome. One of the photos showed 30cm cube boxes as a way to organise the van's over-cab Luton storage area. We've got some IKEA ones at home but if we could find some cheap this would be an excellent opportunity to see how weill they fit, especially since storage space in the van is now very limited. Guess what, B&M are discontinuing then so they are on sale at £1 each! Perfect we take all that Dumfries has to offer - 2.
Gretna, and another distraction. Not the blacksmith's forge where I suspect for some outlandish fee we could have a mock ceremony to remake our wedding vows but a huge outlet village full of brand name stores that, under normal circumstances, would have us running in the opposite direction. But there's an M&S outlet and Liz needs some new under garments whilst I still haven't found the 1/4 zip heavy fleece I want for cold evenings in the van. Even at outlet prices Berghaus is still beyond my price range, and didn't have what I wanted anyway. Trespass and Mountain Warehouse similarly came up blank. I had hoped outlet stores would have clothing that had been on sale back in September when I'm sure the sort of top I'm after might have been in the shelves. But who knows, even outdoor clothing is more about fashion than function so maybe this winter such garments weren't around. Still Sports Direct have bought the Karrimor brand and had exactly what I was looking for - sorted.
Time is short and so perhaps we should run to Carlisle as fast as possible but no, we stick to alternatives to the motorway. For several miles we run on a pleasant A road with almost no other traffic, parallel to and just a few tens of metres away from the M6 and all its chunner.
The campsite is a little confused. The owner is away but by phone tells us to pick a pitch, #4 being free, #3 might be free too but we should take #4. Driving on to pitch 4 we see the electric hookup has been used by the guy in pitch 5 because pitch 5's own hookup has been taken by a caravan parked on the turning bay. We take 3 to save hassle and hope almost will be sorted on our return from Carlisle.
Fortunately we meet the owner as we leave, all is OK and we get to pay rather than have to waste time tomorrow.
The bus stop outside the camp seems to only have buses every hour but a mile and a half away is a much more frequent route. Actually a mile and a half is probably half way to town! Still it gives a miserable bus driver the opportunity to announce sternly that there's no such thing as a return to town but I need a dayrider. To be fair the bus stop was in the midst of a housing estate and I suspect we were the first ever out-of-towners to catch a bus from there.
It's too late to take in the sights of Carlisle, just head to Wetherspoons for dinner, via a city centre B&M for 2 more of those storage cubes. Fed and watered it's back towards the campsite, we have an evening appointment with another brewery