Archive for August, 2019

Something a bit different from me today, a travel blog- nothing to do with tattooing or our animal sanctuary, but a mini adventure with my dog Beany πŸ™‚

It’s summer and my customers at work are all telling me about where they are going for their holidays, or where they’ve just come back from- one of my customers is even on an epic road trip around south America, making me feel like I’m missing out a bit here.

It’s a busy time for us at work and at the sanctuary, so getting away is problematic, and usually we take our holidays in the colder months (if at all), so I only managed to sneak off for one night for this mini adventure, but better than nothing, right?

I decided to visit the Isle of Bute, it’s not far from the sanctuary- an hr to the ferry and the crossing isn’t long- so it was an easy one. I’ve not been to the island since a school trip in primary 3, so i was looking forward to seeing the castle and the esplanade again, see how the reality stacks up against the childhood memory. The other thing that attracted me to Bute was a thing I saw on tv a few years ago, a program called ‘restoration’ showed what looked like an incredible mansion house in need of rescuing, Mount Stuart. This I needed to see.

My accommodation for the night was going to be my estate car, another thing I’d been thinking about trying out to see how feasible it was to spend a comfy night in your own motor. If that worked, then you could really go anywhere your car would take you… if it didn’t work, I wasn’t too far from home πŸ™‚

I took my well behaved dog Beany with me for company and security, if anyone tried to bother me while I was sleeping in the car, she would have a hairy fit and scare them off. She is an angel of a dog, as long as you don’t come too close to the car!

The ferry from Wemyss Bay goes regularly, so you’ll never need to wait too long, and the crossing is short, half an hour or so.

You get into Rothsay, the main town of Bute, a typical seaside place of faded Victorian grandeur. It was once a massive tourist attraction, but that has changed and now it seems quite a sleepy place.

My first stop was the castle, my main memory from that school trip was doing cart wheels on the lawn of the castle, until I got yelled at by an adult, I was far too close to the edge for such high jinks. Sure enough, I stopped the cart wheels and peered over the edge of the precipice into the abyss and shuddered at what could have happened.

Having looked at the same spot again, I might have got wet if I’d fallen over the edge, maybe a couple of bruises! πŸ™‚

Our next stop was Ettrick Bay, a lovely big sandy crescent with views of the Kyles of Bute and Arran.


At the south endΒ  of the bay there is a handy little car park away from the main road, (noted for future reference) we stopped there and went for a beach walk to the north of the bay. There must have been a festival of sorts just gone, and the big tent was still up, and a few people tidying up.

There’s also a tea room, which I didn’t visit, but it made me think that maybe Ettrick Bay was a good spot to try my over night camping experiment.

We took a drive down to Scalpsie Bay in the south, it’s beautiful place with views over to the mountains of Arran. You can also see the seals sunning themselves up on the rocks, there’s a nice little walk down from the road you can take to get a closer look at them, not close enough to bother them, of course. Love seals. It’s such a privilege to see them.


Our next stop was further down the coast at Dunagoil, to see the caves and walk the rocky shore, this is a beautiful spot and the site of an ancient hill fort, well worth a visit.

I was keeping an eye out for a potential camping spot, but to be honest, I couldn’t see anything that was better then Ettrick Bay. There are a few roads on Bute, some with passing places and the odd small visitor car park, and we must have been on every one of them (Bute is very small), and the rest are private access roads leading to houses. If you are looking for somewhere scenic and fairly private to park up for the night, your options are limited, so Ettrick Bay it was.

We parked up, went another walk, and settled down for the night.

With my back seats folded down and the front seat folded back, I can easily stretch out in my car, and it was surprisingly comfortable.

I made half an attempt to hang some fabric in front of the windows for privacy, but it seemed a lot of effort for no reason, as there wasn’t anyone round to be looking in. This is something I’ll try and sort better for next time, as it should be quite easy to rig something up that can be hung quickly and do the job. As it was, i wanted to windows open a bit for air, as it got really hot fast, so the fabric got folded away. Next time I’ll have a think about a sort of privacy screen, and some kind of midgie net that allows for the windows to be open without getting eaten alive. I was lucky I didn’t get bitten.

Overall, a good night, I was surprised to see another car parked a bit away when I woke up, someone walking their dog early, I was sure me or Beany would have heard something, but no.

The plan for the morning was to visit Mount Stuart, before getting the ferry around lunch time. We went to Rothsay to see about getting some vegan breakfast -apparently you can, but not before 10am…so we ate our supplies and headed south a bit to Mount Stuart.

We walked around the amazing gardens,

down to the shoreline,



around the beautiful kitchen gardens, admired the champion trees- what a place!- but there are no dogs allowed in the house. Fair enough, I’ll have to come back another time, without a dog, and do my nosey int the crazy looking mansion, good excuse to come back.

To my amazement, the little cafe had two choices of vegan cake on offer, it would have been rude not to try one, of course. Purely for research purposes!

That was our mini adventure, Beany had a great time and so did I, I recommend camping in your car AND visiting Bute!