And finally, we arrive at the highlight of my short Southern Scottish saunter.
NO-ONE had given me a good word about Stranraer, so you’ll know how Maidenhead feels now after Mrs RM and I dissed it.
But, like Peterlee and Peterhead and Peterborough (there’s a theme here) that negativity only made me want to visit more.
And it set a low bar for Stranraer to jump, which it did, just about.
Plenty of cheap hotels along the front if you want to find out for yourself.
And how can you resist boats and a loch ?
Tellingly, it lost its Irish ferry route to nearby Cairnryan, whoever they are. That gap vacated by Stena in 2011 was supposed to be replaced by a major redevelopment which appears to be only at what we call the Rhyl stage.
But there’s enough history at the old port and the castle to keep me out of the GBG pub for 20 minutes and explore a frankly deserted town centre.
See ? Not that bad. And any town immortalised by the Proclaimers can’t be bad.
“I can understand why Stranraer lie so lowly, they could save a lot of points by signing Hibs‘ goalie” – Cap in Hand, Proclaimers
Plenty of pubs for the afficionado too.
Including one that BeerMat would love.
Like Port Glasgow, some have seen better days…
My pub target has been in the Guide since Liverpool last won the league, taunting me every September during my tortuous colouring of the new GBG.
The Grapes offers an immediate welcome from half a dozen locals and Landlord, and the welcoming sign of just one pump on the bar.
Jimmy Young had just died.
“Aw, Jimmy the Painter. No !”
“Who is he ?”
“You know him, no ?”
“No, who is he ?” etc. etc.
I found out when I got home.
Imagine being known by your profession. It’d be Simon the P****r, of course.
It’s rare to get such an unreconstructed boozer in the Guide (see also : Greenock), and we should treasure them.
Notably, a buzz of conversation, but hardly a curse uttered (compare and contrast :Chelmsford).
Particularly when the Hobgoblin Gold is as good as this.
As always. the lacings tell you most of what you need to know…
I didn’t do Stranraer justice, but I have to go back, as my last tick in Wigtownshire was still on “Winter” hours.
Perhaps I can combine it with a match at Stair Park and some Americana and haggis. Mmmm.