My birthday in December just appeared like magic. Honestly, it didn’t seem like a year since my last birthday day out – Outlander birthday with Storm Frank.
I really wanted to visit somewhere new on this day but the thought of travelling for many hours up north wasn’t calling me this year. I was still to finish my Marcothon running challenge and I needed to be up early the next morning for my final run of December. More about that later …
So, I thought … there’s so much to see and photograph here in Ayrshire where I live, why not just stay close to home? It was new year’s day before Alan and I managed to get out for a walk though. I decided that I’d like to visit Dunure Castle again.
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Dunure is a pretty little fishing village that sits on a rugged coastline with a castle ruin and the most stunning views across the Firth of Clyde to Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran. On a clear day of course! There has been a castle here since the 13th century but as usual with castles, what you see today dates later.
Dunure Castle was once the main fortress of the Kennedy family, the Earls of Cassilis. The Kennedys are now more closely linked with Culzean Castle, further down the coast. I read that from the 1200s, Dunure Castle was by far the more important of the two.
It was later in the day when we arrived at Dunure and we only had an hour or two of daylight left to explore. I wish we’d left earlier in the morning, but sometimes these things happen for a reason.
We couldn’t park in Kennedy Park next to the castle as the gate was locked, so we found a layby up the hill and walked down towards the castle. It was a sunny new year’s day but windy and so cold.
There it was. The sun was slowly setting, lighting up the castle. I had forgotten how beautiful it was here. I can see why this area was chosen as a filming location for Outlander Season 3.
There was an information board outside the castle that said Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the celebrated world-wide architect, designer and artist, holidayed in Dunure regularly with his friends during their summer holidays and weekends. I bet they had fun times here.
We wandered around separately for a wee while, both of us taking photos from different angles. I then thought that this was a perfect time of day to visit as a sunset was definitely going to be on the horizon this new year’s day!
I wandered inside the ruin by myself. Alan had wandered off further up the coast to get views of the castle and the maze.
The rays of the sun were beautifully lighting up the inner walls. The photos don’t show exactly how warming it was to see this glow and how it made me feel. It felt like a new year’s glow of happiness with hope and new adventures ahead. I felt a little sad too though, the laughter and sadness than once lived here was now lost. As is with any old building. If only walls could speak!
The small stone window frames were glowing orange as the sun was sinking lower in the west. It looked like warm glowing candle light. I started thinking about when these walls formed individual rooms. The sunsets must have been so spectacular with beams of light peaking through.
I walked up metal steps, as far as I was allowed to go. This area was closed off with a gate. I assume because it isn’t safe. Why is it that the closed off area is where I really want to go?
It was a very short climb and I was rewarded with this view from the open top. You can just make out the little island Ailsa Craig, a volcanic plug and bird sanctuary.
As I watched the sun getting lower in the sky I thought I’d better hurry and get down on to the beach so I could capture it in all its glory. The castle looked quite different as a dark silhouette.
I’d lost my other half … but we eventually found each other and quickly walked towards the village to access the rocky beach.
It was freezing, I could hardly hold my phone to take photos.
The waves were so powerful and crashing against the rocks, a spectacular show indeed.
I loved how the sun was shining on the rocks giving them a warm glow.
The sky was colour changing by the minute creating beautiful pictures for us to see.
I wandered across the pebble beach towards the sun and climbed up on to the rocks. Then I noticed when I was taking photos with my phone that Alan was calling me from the beach behind.
He asked me to stand with my arms up like the sun salutation, which I did. I felt a bit silly, but I knew that he was taking photos of me. This was the best one of a few that he took. I just love it.
It was getting really cold and time to go home so we walked back up towards the castle.
I then realised there was still more of a sunset to see. We walked further up the park towards the sun and Ailsa Craig. Wow!
This huge star called the sun was slowly sinking into our ocean. It was the most beautiful, soul finding sunset I’ve ever seen with my own eyes.
It was gone, just for a wee while. Tomorrow was another day. We walked back to our car via part of the Ayrshire coastal path. Dusk was upon us.
That was new year’s day and such a lovely way to start a new year, even though I couldn’t feel my fingers and toes …
A wee update on my running challenge.
I actually did it! I’m so proud and over the moon to say that I completed my Marcothon running challenge. I ran every day in December for 25 minutes or 3 miles, whatever came first. Most days I ran longer than 25 minutes!
This is my Strava training log showing that I ran every day in December. The distance is logged in kilometers.
Look… that’s me running up a hill on Christmas day! I met lots of people out walking and running that day … it was the busiest I’d ever seen this country road. My other half drove the car to where I was running to take photos and run me back (in the car) after my 5k.
Boxing day was very windy and wild … I ran the Ayr Turkey Trot 5k fun run.
My last day of running I went to Ayr Parkrun with my Outlander/Peaker friend. What a great way to end my running month and I filled my sticker chart of completion.
I honestly didn’t think I could ever do this, I’m not an athletic person at all. I’m just a mum of two who decided to take up jogging four years ago then found My Peak Challenge to help me along the way.
The hardest part was in my mind. I’d put on my running gear, step out that door no matter how tired I felt or what the weather was like. Once I was finished I felt good. The only thing I really noticed was how tired I felt some days and wanted to nap in the afternoon. Possibly just my body’s way of coping … I’m not sure.
New year challenges
Every new year brings many more challenges to our lives and we need to be able to deal with them. Good and bad.
I suppose all I can really say is ‘Believe and you will achieve’.
Thanks for reading.