After all the excitement at the pre-historic hill fort, I continued south until I saw a little road leading up and off the main carriageway. It was in fact a completely flat area, partly tarmacked and surrounded on all sides by trees. The noise of birds was delightfully deafening and occasionally I caught a glimpse of one or two in the trees. Those I saw were, I think, song thrushes and I also heard the squeak of grouse and all sorts of other birds I can’t identify. The spot was private and calm and once an hour I saw the roof of the train passing by just beyond a fence.
Loads of words got written and it seemed like a good place to spend the night, but first I had to satisfy my wanderlust and seek more laybys. I was being a ‘monkey-in-tree’ Buddhist, leaving something fabulous for the possibility of something miraculous.
On returning to the main road I found an information board directing me round the corner to Kinclaer Viaduct which the road winds under twice in a few hundred yards. This makes a delightful twisty corner and is also an indication of the terrain: tunnel one minute, viaduct the next, train on the horizontal.
Also on the info board were some of the wildlife to be found in the vicinity. These were barn owls, tawny owls, pipistrelle bats, long-eared bats, swallows, adders, slowworms, common lizards, deer and badgers. I wondered what it would be like to fall asleep to the sound of owls hooting.
Unfortunately, on this occasion I had reason to return to Girvan but I made a mental note of the spot.
However, the following day took me in a different direction, to a layby up a tiny back road. My chosen spot was half hidden by a hedge (thanks goodness as the weather was roasting) and got lots of work done there. But then panic set in. The dodgy petrol gauge had already got me into trouble earlier this year. Mobile reception was non-existant outside towns. I was deep in the hills. I checked the map and headed further inland, back to Dalmellington which my trusty map told me had a petrol station. On the way I bought bread in Straiton, used the community-run public toilets there, and carried on. But going straight on through Straiton doesn’t take you to Dalmellington. It takes you directly south to Newton Stewart. About half way along this beautiful road I realised there were no windfarm constructors, which there should have been, and began to slow down. Then there was a tiny road directing me back to Girvan. Drat and double drat. I was on the wrong road.
Newton Stewart had two kinds of petrol station and was very hot indeed. I immediately returned to the safety and cool of the trees on the mountain road I’d just left, sat by the road and listened to the birds. Aah.
But the muse was disturbed. I knew if I returned to the Kinclaer layby I’d spend the night imagining snakes making their way into the van through the little drain in my sink and the muse would run screaming. I knew I didn’t want to be four feet from the nearest campervan at the seafront in Girvan either. It was time to go home. So I went. But with 6,500 words more of the novel.