Dailly, Scotland - Our Summer Staycation
This summer we decided to head up to Scotland for our Summer holidays. The weather had been so good in the UK that we felt going further North might help cool us down a little... we were not wrong!
The evening of our arrival at Brunston Castle luxury lodges was glorious. Buzzards and swallows were soaring over head as we took to the putting green after our swim in the centre's pool. We ate the delicious panini's we had ordered whist waiting for our Lodge to be ready.(wholeheartedly recommend the chicken tikka panini!)
The ladies on reception were great with the children. They were very helpful and knowledgeable about the local area too. Including letting us know about events happening at Culzean Castle, as well as more locally. They informed us of where to go for an evening meal at Dine at Brunston Castle Golf Course a few minutes walk from the leisure facilities. Also when the fish and chip van made its rounds and when local walks would take place known as 'Ramble with Ron'.
We took the key and entered the holiday village via the barrier. Quickly found our lodge which was great, spacious,clean and had everything you could wish for including a balcony where we could sit and watch myriad birds. The accommodation was split over two levels, two small bedrooms and a bathroom on the lower level, two double bedrooms a bathroom and ensuite on the first level. And all living accommodation on the first level too.All was looking fabulous for a brilliant week...
You can't pick the weather
We woke up the next morning to a howling gale! Never one to be beaten I suggested that we just get on with our plans. We had water proofs, wellies and boots. I had even packed the odd woolly hat and pair of gloves for just such occasion. Everyone got ready in their warm gear. I packed a lunch, optimistic yes but car picnics are sometimes just as much fun as park ones! Off we set to see the beautiful coastline of Western Scotland. We followed the directions Dyllis (our SAT NAV since we no longer use Phyllis!) gave us to Girvan Beach...
...funnily enough we didn't have a problem parking on the road, so despite the car thermometer reading 6'c (yes in August!) we decided Scottish weather surely couldn't be any worse than Derbyshire weather so we went onto the beach to explore...
Thought that picture deserved to be full size so that you could appreciate how the boys trousers are plastered to their legs with the wind. Stalwart as ever we soldiered on towards the harbour. With the wind behind us it didn't take too long, (approximately 10 minutes) although we gave up walking along the beach and used the promenade due to the sand storms that kept forming on the beach.
There looked to be a fabulous play park by the harbour and a great leisure centre with a massive car park in front of it (tuts loudly!). I had hoped for a cafe but nothing was open unsurprisingly, and I didn't investigate the leisure centre. My incredibly gallant husband decided to brave his way back to the car (this time facing into the wind and driving rain therefore taking longer) and collect us from our sheltered place by the local conveniences (which you need 30p to use). We had a very quick glimpse at the harbour which on any other day would have been busy with boats, seals and sea birds... then gave up I'm afraid and headed to a well known supermarket chain in the town where we supplemented our holiday wardrobe with winter pyjamas, extra socks and thermals! My poor husband was soaked to the skin incidentally and then started with a rotten cold that evening. (Happy days!)
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger as they say!
Anyway, as I said stalwart at ever we carried on and had a fabulous time at Dailly regardless of the weather, which actually did pick up a little after that. A lot of our enjoyment of the area was down to one person in particular, Ron!
Ron holds local walks twice a week from Brunston Castle Luxury Lodges. Having lived in the area all his life Ron had many, many tales that he likes to tell on his walks around Dailly. On our first walk we were taken up to see the old Kennedy (as in the ancestors of USA President Kennedy) graveyard. A place of tumbled down stones where members of the Irish Kennedy clan were buried. Locally it is said that the Kennedy clan were a vicious bunch and that the grave site is haunted by them.
After this we took a walk towards the ruins of Old Dalquharran Castle which the children were enchanted by as Ron waxed lyrical about its history.
The final place on the tour was the abandoned Mansion house Dalquharran House. Apparently according to Ron it was originally built as a Calendar House. This seems to have been its undoing as the upkeep of such a property is so vast. A Calendar House as you may guess takes numbers from the calendar so in this case 365 the number of days was represented in 365 panes of glass in the windows of the mansion, it sits over 4 floors to represent the 4 seasons, I hope I got that right Ron! I know there was more too but I'm afraid even with the internet at my fingers I cannot remember what the other numbers represented. It was an amazing place to visit and such potential for someone with a whole lot of money to invest. It seemed quite sad that the buildings were in such disrepair but we were just so grateful for Ron's knowledge and letting us get to know the area. (He has a much better memory than me obviously!)
On our next Ramble with Ron we took off across the golf course towards the river hoping to see the Otters. Unfortunately they had decided to move further upstream. However once again Ron did not let us down. We had a wonderful woodland walk. We found out all about the original settlers of the area and how they created their homes quite literally within the landscape of Dailly. Then did a spot of conker collecting. (No more spiders in our house!)
Giant Sequoias and crazy stunts
I've left the best to last if I am honest. I learnt a lot during Ron's Rambles. On both walks he talked about the Giant Sequoias (Giant red wood trees) that can be found in the area and how they were magic trees. On the first walk he encouraged my 12 year old to punch one of the trees in a particular place. (Do not try this at home guys unless you have your very own Ron with you!) My son did this and low and behold came away unscathed. So on the second walk when Ron did this (apologies for the picture, the guy shifted for a 75 year old!)
my son obviously had to have a go to!
Yes after watching a Septuagenarian launch himself safely at the tree my son leapt at it as you can see (enjoying the spongy, rubbery bark far too much!) with determination... and came away totally unscathed (thankfully!)
We all had an absolute ball on our summer holiday. Dailly and the areas surrounding it are both beautiful, exciting, fun and full of wildlife. I would definitely recommend heading up that way and especially spending time at Brunston Castle Lodges, it has everything that you could possibly need (and apparently they are sorting out wifi too although for us it was nice not to have it!) and more, so go visit Ron, see what you can learn!
Stay tuned for further adventures from Scotland.