On Thursday night we got the train up to my mum and dad's, with only 2.5 hours delay due to a lightning induced signalling failure, and after being joined by the others in the morning we packed up Dad's and Dave's cars and headed on up the M6 to Glasgow, the along the A8 to Greenock and Weymss Bay to get the ferry across to Rothesay, and then take the coast road three miles down the shore to Ascog House, which was to be our home for the next week.
Over the course of the week we drove pretty much every road in the island, visited several different beaches and three different ruined churches. Mum and I got sunburned in the garden while the others went off on a long walk involving chambered cairns. Em, John, Steph and Dave went off to Glasgow for the day, while we joined mum and dad in visiting the wonderful and eccentric Mount Stuart, we saw a hedgehog, bunnies and roe deer in the garden, explored the wilderness and saw treecreepers and chaffinches, saw oystercatchers everywhere, including a baby one down by the bay, saw seals and jellyfish at Scalpsie and sea anemones in rock pools further up the coast from Ettrick Bay. We ate lots of nice food at home including a barbecue manfully lighted without firelighters (even though we had some) in the rain, and also from the chippy (deep friend black pudding and haggis were enjoyed) and at the Kingarth Hotel.
We made planes from balsa wood and flew them in the back garden, participated in a game of the Krypton Factor devised by Em and John (I won overall, despite not winning any individual round) and bemused them all with an episode of Never Mind the
BuzzcocksAscogs, where the girls narrowly beat the boys by only 1/2 a point. Steph did some more learning to drive, taking Dave's car out for 20 miles round the island, sadly I didn't get to practice, and the insurers decided I was too much of a risk, not having driven since I passed my test. We had rain every day, but we also had sunshine every day. There were rows, but only really among everyone else, and mostly we all had a really good time. Though next time we're not taking John and Em with no car of their own to an island only 15 miles long by about 3 miles wide.
The good pub guide once again proved its worth on the drive back down on Friday, finding us an excellent stop for lunch, and we stopped again and enjoyed the sunshine of the best services in Britain on the edge of the lake district. Coffee and cake and a potter round the farm shop. An overnight stop at mum and dad's followed by a lazy morning pottering round the house and garden and it was time to get back on the train and come home again, thankfully on time. And still with Sunday to relax and recover from the journey and watch the brilliant tennis final. A fab holiday all round, can't wait til we have another one!
As usual click through for the rest of the photos, of which there are many!
ETA: The house we were staying in was Ascog House, which is run by the Landmark Trust. I really recommend them for (slightly pricy) excellent places to stay, full of character and history but still comfortable.