Saturday, 31 July 2010

A day out in the borders

Football is not just about arriving, it's about the journey. That's inevitably true for away games in the lower leagues - especially the ones where you end up getting tanked. But that's another story (above). This one is about a very pleasant day out in the Scottish Borders, courtesy of the three person Edinburgh Sons' Supporters club and an enjoyable armchair-bound light lunch at the Aston Hotel on the outskirts of Dumfies. Definitely recommended. As you can see (top picture), our mode of transport was a bit more comfortable than the trusty Dumbarton bus, though presumably the view, with its heather, sheep and rolling hills, was equally scenic. This is not a part of the world I have much familiarity with, but it really is stunning. I shall be back.

As for Queen of the South's Palmerston Park ground: it's a tidy little 6,412 venue (3,509 seated), and the pitch is very good indeed. Bowling green perfect on this occasion. I was required to relinquish my plastic water bottle before entry, but the steward was suitably polite and apologetic. Not what you'd get south of the border. He explained that a couple of years ago a few away fans had decided to, um, "re-fill" their empty bottles and discharge them at the home side; hence the restrictive rule. Welcome to the First Division, eh?

Thankfully the hospitality inside was rather more congenial. The QoS programme is attractively produced, and the all-seater single tier Galloway News stand on the east side of the ground affords good shelter for the away support and no lengthy queues for refreshments. Apart from the result, it was a most enjoyable outing, and another Scottish senior ground ticked off my list. 

As for an omen for the rest of the Sons' season, what better visual encouragement could you ask for than the sunset over the bus stop at Hunter's Tryst in Edinburgh, for the last leg of my journey home? "Every cloud has a multi-coloured lining just waiting to burst through," I told myself determinedly, as I recollected that fifth and final Doonhamers' goal...

(Those seeking even more trainspottery information about Palmerston Park could consult the estimable Scottish Football Ground Guide, presumably while waiting for their life to arrive in the morning mail. *Cough* Only kiddin'. )

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