Cycling Day 12: Troon To Culzean Castle

Just don’t pronounce the ‘z’…

Yesterday the issue had been the rain. Today the issue has been the iPhone. The two might be connected (but for goodness sake don’t tell Apple before I can get to an Apple Store…)

I noticed last night in the swanky (too many letters?) Adamton Country House Hotel that my iPhone had started to shut down and restart repeatedly. When I woke in the morning it was still doing so and I began to worry…

I dare say there are many of you saying to yourself something along the lines of “get a grip man! Back in the 50s (and most other decades you care to mention) we managed fine without a phone; we said goodbye to our cat and returned four months later (to a dead cat) having had no contact with anyone apart from the shepherds of the High Andes”. Well yes, but times have moved on. In 30 years time we will be reminiscing about the antiquated days of using a phone to help up along our way. It will all be holograms or thought transference etc… Anyway, I digress. Having a functioning phone is a pretty integral part of cycle touring nowadays; route finding, accommodation finding and booking, tweeting how wet you feel, Instagramming how gorgeous you look while dripping wet. You know what I mean.

So the prospect of having no access to said phone is somewhat disturbing, especially when you are in the business of flogging books about previous cycles and are desperate to maintain a bit of interest before you get around to writing the next one [did I just type that?].

The receptionist at the [s]wanky hotel suggested Ayr as a place to search out a phone shop remedy. ‘Doctor Mobile’ opposite the Vodafone shop was mentioned. So off I cycled to Ayr.

Remember Kelso last week? Racing from Kelso? That Dickie Davies reference? Dickie also used to talk about crossing over time racing from Ayr so I was expecting big things after the delight of Kelso. I was a tad disappointed. Don’t people book Shearings coach holidays to Ayr? Why? Rarely have I been so disappointed by a British town. Even the charity shops have shut down and are vacant. It’s a depressing place on the physical level. However…

I’m delighted to say that so far on this trip, I feel as though I have been welcomed by the people of Ayr like nowhere else; the guys in the Apple-accredited store just outside town (ultimately not able to help but willing for me to use their WiFi and phone to call Apple), Doctor Mobile himself (who only charged me a fiver for reloading the software, to no avail), the two people who came and chatted with me in the street about my travels as I was waited for Doctor Mobile to cast his magic over my phone, the man at the local bike shop who didn’t have the gloves I was looking for (I lost one yesterday in Glasgow) but was happy for me to use his pump and advise me on the wear of my brake pads (“about another week on the rear ones”), the guy driving a South Ayrshire Council van who chatted with me at the lights about the location of Halfords (which slightly makes up for the utterly shocking condition of the roads of South Ayrshire – second only to Albania in their quality…) and the various people who gave me directions along the way. South Kensington is a physically beautiful place through which to wander but I’m guessing the people are nowhere near as friendly as those in Ayr. Discuss.

I left the town a little disheartened about the phone but feeling positive about the welcome I had received. Having cycled 180km yesterday and wanting to spend a little time reflecting upon the days to come, I only ever intended cycling a short distance today, and so I did. 46 km according to CatEye but at least 5 of those were faffing around in Ayr so I reckon just 40km.

It was a coastal route as far as Culzean (remember about that z…) Castle where I found a Camping & Caravanning site next to the castle itself. Initially the receptionist was apologetic explaining that there weren’t any spaces but when it was clarified that I hadn’t come by car and that I had cycled on the bicycle next to which I was standing… it was announced that I could be classed as a ‘backpacker’ and allowed to stay no problem. I have a pitch the size of Isle of Arran and it’s been a nice end to a period of 36 hours of occasionally stressful cycling.

Tomorrow? The final Scottish 50km before a ferry to Belfast?

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel

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1 reply »

  1. Disappointing to hear Ayr is like that now, was always more upbeat than some other towns but that was over 20 years ago. You’d meet nicer people in nearly any town around there than you might in most of London.
    The roads in Ayrshire are by far and away the worst I’ve driven or ridden on in the UK. Unadopted roads are better than the state of main roads up there!

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