The last night and the run home…
We had booked a table in the hotel restaurant for our last meal so at 19:45 we stroll down. The waitress shows us to a table and says “do you mind dogs?” of course we don’t and so sit next to an older couple with an old Jack Russell at their feet called Jake. We both make a fuss of him. We have quite a wait for the waitress to return to take our drinks order, in fact Kate had to go and find her… not a great start. I order lemonade and water for the table, Kate orders cider. The drinks take a long time to arrive and eventually a young lad brings over my lemonade, Kates cider and a glass of water. We say we want water for the table and he brings over another glass of water… no, we want a jug we explain again… he brings a jug of ice water this time with another glass… Things are not getting any better. The original waitress comes over to take our food order.
For Kate the Mixed Grill.
For me the Vegetarian Bobotie with a side order of chips. Bobotie is the national dish of South Africa. The hotel owners are South African. Bobotie is a spiced beef dish with fruit and covered with egg, served with rice.
We both choose the Cauliflower Cheese soup as a starter – this is delicious and very creamy served with crusty bread.
The main meals take take a long while to arrive after the starters have been finished but when they do arrive they look pretty good. Jake looks up from under his table sensing Kate may have a few scraps from all of the meat on her plate. He will not be disappointed.
I’m not quite sure how to eat the Bobotie as it arrives on a wooden platter in two dishes. Babotie in one, rice in the other with a ramekin of mango chutney. I can’t tip them out onto the wooden platter so I end up taking half a fork of rice and half a fork of Babotie until there is room in one dish to mix them together. I enjoyed it, but wouldn’t rush to have it again. Oh, and we did have to remind them about the side order of chips…
We do decide to round the meal off with pudding. A Lemon Meringue for Kate, Cheese and biscuits for me.
After we’ve finished and pay we find that they have not charged us for the chips – we consider this a bonus after having to wait so long for our drinks and dishes to arrive. We both think that had this been our first visit to the Buccleuch Arms we would not have been that impressed.
Back in our room I compile last nights blog post – I hope you all enjoyed it – and Kate reads. We do retire to bed early as we are both quite tired today and have booked an early breakfast hoping to get packed and leave straight afterwards.
We sleep really well and get up just in time to shower, dress and head over to the breakfast room. The owners son is on duty for breakfast and normal service is resumed. He takes our breakfast orders and keeps us amused with his chat.
Plain porridge, coffee and fried eggs on toast for me. Full Scottish for Kate with plenty of toast on the side. The breakfast really did “hit the spot”.
Back to the room to finalise packing, plan the route home then load the bikes. Whilst I am loading up the bikes the owner comes over for a chat and asks which way we are heading. He advises a slightly different route which sounds great and avoids a great deal of motorway. We thank him for a wonderful stay saying we will be back sometime. He tells us just to book and he will then plan our route around Scotland for us as he knows the best biking roads so well. This hotel is the most motorbike friendly place we have ever stayed. In fact I think that they cater more for motorcyclists than regular guests.
The owner waves us out of their secure compound and we set off on the 230 miles home. The first part of the journey is on the B7076 which runs parallel to the A74(M) for about 30 miles and is virtually empty for the whole way down to Gretna Green.
We join the M6 here for about 30 miles before turning left onto the A66 at Penrith. The weather is not great again today. Rainy and cold, but the worst is the wind, it is incredibly gusty today and the bikes are pushed and pulled left and right. Which can be a little uncomfortable.
The M6 is busy, so is the A66 to Scotch Corner and we are fighting the strong gusts for the whole 100 miles. We take a quick stop at Scotch Corner for a drink and a light bite to eat before joining the A1(S). Just 130 miles to go now…
The run down the A1(S) is relatively uneventful apart from the ignorant and selfish centre lane hoggers crawling past the articulated lorries.
We eventually arrive back home and Conor makes us a cup of tea. The cats might be glad to see us back, but you can never tell with cats. I’m pleased to see them though…
So, the bikes are unpacked, the clothes are in the washing machine and we are sat back in our front room. Total mileage – 1202 miles…
We feel a little cheated by the Scottish weather having to cut our NC500 road trip short, but we have already agreed we want to go back and try again… And we now have advance knowledge of some great hotels and B&Bs.
My job for the next couple of days is to clean the bikes… they are filthy… Joy!