Morning broke on the final day of our extraordinary lap of Scotland. Mom and dad were a bit sad, but the same could not be said of the kids! They goofed around in their bed for a bit before we got down to business and prepared for the short drive to Ayr.
It only took a few minutes to get into Ayr once under way. We located our flat pretty quickly, on the north side of the River Ayr, and started hauling gear from Mr. T up the stairs and into the apartment. We’d done a pretty good job of getting packed up the night before, so we made short work of getting Mr. T emptied. Now it was time to hit the road and get Mr. T home.
As you’ll recall from recent posts, getting to Hawick can be a challenge. I charted a course that was a bit longer in terms of distance than the one used by the flatbed driver back on Day 25, but avoided most of the slowest sections and simplified navigation. (Sadly, that also meant I was avoiding the most scenic sections, but the clock was ticking now.) Some of this was on fast motorway that would’ve made poor old Heidi an obstacle to traffic, so it was nice to be cruising in Mr. T. All went according to plan, and after filling the tank one last time in Hawick I made my way to Mr. T’s home and handed over the keys to Ian after being on the road for a little over three hours.
There was a flurry of activity in the yard as Davie the mechanic worked to finish up engine work on Heidi in time for her hand-over to new renters the next day. I also got to see what had happened to her: A hole had formed in one of the heads, allowing exhaust gasses to vent out through the passage for a head bolt. No wonder we couldn’t figure out where the exhaust leak was coming from!
Here’s a close-up of the damaged area:
That must’ve been eroding away for quite some time, after a flaw in the casting (or perhaps the head gasket) gave way. I’m guessing that this had been slowly getting worse since the episode back on Day 12. Unfortunately, the piston and cylinder were also damaged — which is perhaps what we were starting to hear on Day 24 when we called AA.
Getting Mr. T home was only half of the battle. Now I had to get back to Ayr via public transportation! Ian was kind enough to drive me back into Hawick to catch the X95 bus up to Edinburgh. I just made the 2:36 departure, arriving in Edinburgh at 4:51. (It’s a beautiful drive, but long and slow.) Waverly station in Edinburgh was literally standing-room-only due to flooding on the major lines to the south. Thankfully, it didn’t delay me much. I caught a train west to Glasgow, changed trains, and was in Ayr by about 7:30. I got back to the apartment a few minutes after 8:00, after stopping for a few essential groceries, and was able to say goodnight to the kids (who were already tucked in after a long day with Holly). After a month in the camper it was strange to climb into a real bed, and stranger still to be back in a “big city” after touring some of the most remote portions of Scotland. Now it was time to start preparing for a new adventure in Iceland…