Southwest Scotland: driving to catch a boat

We spent a couple of days in Edinburgh shopping and catching up with friends under blue skies and cherry blossom before travelling to Northern Ireland.

Cricket was being played in the Meadows in the sunshine. However, the return of winter weather was forecast and by Sunday evening the clouds were appearing. We did have some rain overnight but left early the next morning with blue sky again. After the motorways, we continued down through Ayrshire on the A77. Just south of Maybole, there was a good view over the surrounding landscape. Sheep and cattle were enjoying the sun.

While enjoying the view I could hear a woodpecker drumming over in a stand of trees but could not see him. I have also recently heard that some crows can mimic the sound of a woodpecker but did not see any crows either.
At the south end of Girvan beach we had our first sight of the sea and the Ailsa Craig. This unpopulated island provided the granite to make curling stones. It is now home to gannets, guillemots and also puffins. It is an RSPB reserve and can be visited by boat. Tours run from Girvan and Campbeltown during summer.

Further down the coast, there was quite a high wind and the waves were getting up. It might not be a very smooth crossing.

Our boat was due to leave from the P&O port at Cairnryan which has its own small lighthouse.

As we are seasoned crossers of the Irish Sea and the Minch, the slight rolling and pitching of the boat did not bother us. On arrival in Larne, Facebook friends were posting snowy photographs from parts of northern Scotland. We managed to get to our destination before the hail and rain caught up with us for a short time in the evening but the sun is peeking through the clouds again this morning.

To the Emerald Isle 2

Having heard last night that the Troon ferry was cancelled (due to the gales which had swept the country), we were up before it was light to drive over to the Ayrshire Coast and Cairnryan. It was certainly not the weather to be on the catamaran that the Irish call the ‘vomit comet’. As we drove through West Lothian, North Lanarkshire and into Ayrshire, the rain was still heavy and we got stuck behind various slow moving vehicles and diverted around a road closure. Once we got to the coast, we passed the Ailsa Craig in the mist and after Girvan, the weather improved.
Ailsa Craig 6 October 2014 (1 of 1)

We had just missed the 10.30 ferry which was pulling out of the port, so headed into Stranraer for coffee and to pick up some flowers for my mother in law. On the way into the town we passed a small cockle beach where an elderly man was feeding swans. I took some photos and also found a piece of seaglass to add to my collection.
Swans at Stranraer 6 October 2014 (1 of 1)

The sun was out as we returned to the port and boarded the ship. I stood outside as we passed the lighthouse and headed into the Irish Sea with the Kintyre peninsula in the background.