Friday 30th December
After a leisurely breakfast we left our hotel in the rain, naturally!, but to our surprise the road heading to the A74M was flooded so much care had to be taken. We reached the motorway but due to the heavy rain and standing water across all the lanes, progress was rather slow. Our SatNav suggested we left the motorway due to floods but we ignored it as it was a minor road she was suggesting and we were still moving along reasonably well. Our destination for a coffee stop was the Duck Bay Hotel on Loch Lomond; arrival time circa 1100hrs.
Soon after we had “ignored” our SatNav instruction the traffic backed up and eventually stopped. We then “stopped”, “started”, and “crawled” for a couple of miles when we came across a roadworks sign sending everyone over to the fast lane, hence the crawling but no. Having started shuffling one way we then had to shuffle the other as the motorway was closed due to floods!!!!! Oh why did we ignore our SatNav. Anyway as instructed by the Police, off we came in totally unknown and bleak territory; where to now? There were two roundabouts with several roads off them but which one??? Cars were heading off in all directions so we chose one and headed off. After 2 or 3 miles SatNav told us to turn left onto a very minor B road. Having ignored her once, we decided to go with her this time. Fortunately there was another car in front, “safer in pairs” as we followed this “single” lane over the top of some big hills with water “sprouting” out of the ground and “gushing” and “flooding”everywhere, nowhere to turn around we kept going; fingers crossed we would find a way to somewhere!!!! Eventually we came to a junction and told to turn left, naturally we dutifully obliged but had a sense we were heading back to where we came from🤔🤔🤔. After a mile or so our next instruction to turn left again; now we knew we were heading back to whence we came. Next minute we stop behind a row of cars, we’ll actually SUV’s and up ahead a jolly big flood across the road with one car “parked” in the middle. From where we were it didn’t look that deep, what’s your problem SUV drivers??? Anyway, they all looked petrified at the prospect and just waited, for what I don’t know so I pulled out and went for it. Into the water at a slow and steady pace so as not to create a “bow-wave”, passing the stranded BMW, obviously he went in too fast, created a bow wave, wet his electrics and that’s where he stayed. We were out and on our way arriving at the very same roundabout so went down another road, “bingo” this one was signposted Glasgow and eventually brought us back to the motorway after the floods. By now we had wasted about 45minutes and David being a Scotsman probably knew which road to take and would be sitting with their 4th cup of coffee wondering where we got to. Just then the ‘phone rang, ah yes they are going to ask what happened but instead told us they had taken a wrong turning and would be late!!! Not only had we both gone the wrong way, but they were actually following us, albeit 5-minutes later on the same back route we took!!!!
We both arrived at the Duck Bay hotel https://duckbay.co.uk/#content__main about the same time but not for coffee, now it was for lunch!!! Christine ordered a bacon bap, sorry can’t serve a bacon bap here, soup, sandwiches and cakes only. Again David, like the crumble last night, was going to have the same as Christine!!!!
We were recommended the Duck Bay as a beautiful spot to stop, sitting on the banks of Loch Lomond; just a pity it was grey and cloudy but at least the rain had stopped for a few minutes.
After lunch we headed off but decided to stop en route at the “rest and be thankful” viewpoint https://beta.visitscotland.com , Unfortunately there were very low clouds, it was grey and it was spitting so couldn’t appreciate it much; on the return journey, perhaps🤞🤞
Once we were on the A83, a small A-road that follows the loch progress was slow, overtaking wasn’t very clever, too many bends etc but the scenery was spectacular, what we could see of it naturally. Being later than planned we couldn’t really stop, we had Mulled Wine and Shortbread waiting for us at Stonefield, could miss out on that!!!!
We arrived about 1600hrs, enjoying a glass or three of Mulled Wine, where we soon got into “party-mood”. As many of you knew, we were booked into Stonefield for last year but had to postpone as Christine contracted COVID 🥵
Stonefield Castle was built in 1837 and was once the home of the Campbell family. The title “Stonefield” came from the name of the estate which the Campbells owned on the shores of Loch Etive. The gardens around the estate are well known for the many plants brought from the Himalayas collected around 1849/50 by a Sir Joseph hooker and still thriving today due to the sheltered shores on the northern end of the Mull of Kintyre. The family finally sold the castle in 1946 and has been a hotel ever since.
Tonight is casual dress so we arranged pre-dinner drinks in our room before heading to dinner where we were greeted by “Mine-host” a very nice Australian who handed us a glass of bubbly and took us to our table.
Christine and Dave were going for the Sea Bass but alas no, sea bass was unavailable, poor David, he is jinked by Christine, that’s the third time she has chosen something that is off!!!
After a lingering dinner we headed off for an earlyish night, driving through such floods and rain was quite exhausting.