Monthly Archives: October 2017

Three weeks, three countries

Before we start this blog I just wanted to show the path we have taken for the last 2 months in Scotland…

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After a lazy weekend, on Monday, Katie, Moray and I headed to Blairgowrie, near Perth.   Jane & David, along with four of their friends, had rented a couple of cottages just outside the town, and had a week of golfing and fly fishing planned.  We arrived mid-afternoon, and looked around until the others arrived back from a day’s fishing, with Jane being the star of the day!

The next day, we all headed out to the river, for another day of fishing.  I have never been salmon fishing in my life, and confess that I had never really understood the attraction.  I’m a convert!  The river was so peaceful, and it was really relaxing.  I even managed to catch a couple of twigs!  Katie caught a fish but unfortunately it got off the hook when she and Moray were trying to get it into the net.

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Katie, fish hunting!

While the others remained at the river, Moray, Katie and I drove to Guildtown, where Katie used to live.  We had a nice pub lunch, followed by a trip down memory lane, before heading back to Blairgowrie to cook a traditional Scottish meal of mince, mealie jimmies (white puddings), and tatties (potatoes) for the group.

The next day was a bit dismal so Katie and I decided to spend the day watching TV and knitting, while the others went back to the river.  Moray didn’t catch anything, but David came back with a nice salmon.  That evening we all went out to a fantastic fish restaurant, called Little’s, for a great dinner.  Thank you Jane, David, Johnny, Nessa, Martin and Liz for letting us crash your holiday and being such gracious hosts.

After driving back to Turriff, I spent the next few days knitting more items for the upcoming craft fair, while Moray finished off some tasks that Katie needed doing, as well as helping out with the pointing work at Sunrise.  We also accompanied Katie to her bowling club, her scrabble club and her knitting club!

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the fruits of Debbie’s labors

On Friday, Ken came over to spend a couple of nights, as he had been working so hard on his new kitchen the whole time we had been in Scotland.  Just like his brother, he can’t sit still for long, so on Saturday, they both headed over to Sunrise to carry on the pointing work with the Angus and Robert.  Then on Sunday, everyone headed to Aberdeen for the official kitchen unveiling.  It was a lovely afternoon, and a nice end to our two month stay in Scotland.

On Monday morning, we started our southward journey.  Our first stop was Stirling.  First of all, we took a look around the Church of the Holy Rude, where the kings of Scotland were crowned.  The church is beautiful and there is plenty of information available to the public, in many languages.  Now that is not uncommon at tourist sites, but I have to say, I have never seen an information sheet in Doric before!  That is the dialect of the Northeast Scots.

Next we climbed the hill to Stirling Castle and spent a couple of hours there.  There is a lot to see, from the old kitchens, the king’s and queen’s chambers (where we learned all about the official animal of Scotland – the unicorn), to the Royal Dining Room.  We also saw the carefully reproduced ceiling panels – absolutely stunning.

We left Stirling Castle and took a quick detour to the William Wallace Memorial, before heading south, back into England, to spend the night at Tebay motorway service station.

The next morning, we drove to Bowness, on Lake Windermere in the Lake District.  We bought a “Walker’s Tour” ticket , and hopped on to a boat.  This took us a little way up the lake to Ambleside, where we stopped for a drink, before taking the next boat across the lake to Wray Castle.  We didn’t look around the Castle, but stopped outside to eat our packed lunch, before starting our 4 mile walk along the side of the lake.  It was absolutely stunning scenery, and I couldn’t help thinking about Swallows and Amazons which was set in the Lake District!  We arrived at the ferry port just in time to take a boat back to our starting point.

From there, we drove down the M6 towards Liverpool, stopping to spend the night at a motorway service station.  This wasn’t anywhere near as nice as Tebay, but had showers and was a safe place to spend the night.

After a noisy night, on Wednesday morning we drove to Liverpool.  I went to University in Liverpool and so this was quite a day for me.  I loved getting to show Moray the wonderful sights that I remembered, as well as enjoying all the changes (for the better, in most cases) that have happened since I left.  We parked up at the Albert Dock and walked from there into town.  From there, we headed up to the Anglican cathedral .  The cathedral is indescribably beautiful, so I will let the pictures tell the story.

Next, we walked along Hope Street to Liverpool’s Roman Catholic Cathedral  This building could not be more different but is equally beautiful.  Just across the street, is the University of Liverpool campus.  It has changed since I was there, but we took a wander through the Guild of Students (the Student Union building in my day!).  The cheap bars have all gone, replaced with coffee shops, and the main hall where I saw Yazoo is now a coffee lounge.  Next, we walked back to Abercromby Square and took a nose around the School of Classics, where I spent three years of my life!  Not too much has changed there.  Having made myself feel really old, we next walked back down the hill towards China Town, for a quick bite to eat, before walking past Lime Street Station, back to Albert Dock.

We took a look at the Liver Building with the famous Liver Birds…

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Next, we spent an hour or so looking around the Slavery Museum.  This was really interesting and I wish we had more time there.  Our day was almost done, so we headed back to the car and started the next part of trip, but with one final detour via Carnatic Halls, where I lived in student residences for two years.  Nothing much had changed and it brought back lots of good memories.  We had originally planned to stay in a motorway service station that night, but we hadn’t slept well the night before and decided to see if there were any campsites available.  We found the Erw Glas Campsite in Colwyn Bay and booked a place for the night.  This was a great decision!  The campsite had great showers and facilities, the host was very friendly and it was very quiet!  Having paid up and settled in, we went to a nearby restaurant, called Tal Y Cafn, which our host recommended.  Unfortunately, our first choice of food was unavailable, but we had a lovely evening.  And after getting back to the campsite, we had a great night’s sleep in the peaceful surroundings.

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Debs showing off our sleeping arrangements (note all windows have blackout shades)

After a lazy start to the day, (and great showers!), we headed to the seaside town of Llandudno.  We had a good breakfast and took a walk along the pier, before heading to the island of Anglesey.  This was going to be a quick trip to visit a little town called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch!  That’s right – that really is the name of the town and is the longest town name in the world!

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The town name means “Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave”.

Having taken a few photos, we headed back over the bridge and drove to Caernarfon.   This is a walled town with a wonderful castle, built by King Edward I as a fortress.

We spent several hours looking around the castle and the town, before setting off towards Brecon, where we planned to find another campsite to spend the night in.  We had driven or about 15 minutes when Moray said “uh-oh”.  That never bodes well!  I asked what was wrong and he said that the battery had just died and we needed to stop.  We were literally just arriving at a service station, so we pulled in, just as the car died.  The service station checked the battery and confirmed that the problem was our alternator.  That was bad news in itself, but worse was the fact that they were short staffed and wouldn’t be able to fix it that day.  They suggested another service place, got our battery charged enough to get there and pointed us in the right direction!  We made it to B&K Williams and went it to tell them our sob story.  They were absolutely amazing.  They sent us off on foot into Caernarfon (Only 15 minutes on foot) while they obtained the part we needed and fitted it – all in under four hours.  We can’t praise and thank this company enough!  We got back on the road, but decided not to tempt fate and headed straight back to Clevedon!

The next few days were mainly taken up with knitting for the upcoming sale, but first, we attended the “Last Night of the Proms”, Clevedon-style!  It was a lot of fun, and we thoroughly enjoyed joining in the very loud rendition of Land of Hope & Glory!

On Saturday morning, we loaded up our sale items and headed to the Clevedon Community Centre for the sale.  The weather wasn’t very nice, which was unfortunate, as neither I nor my nephew, Will, made many sales.  Ah well, there is a craft fair at the beginning of November, which Mum is going to, so she will put my items on her stall – watch this space!

On Sunday, Mum and Will headed off to a car boot sale, so we spent the morning watching Outlander.  We had heard so much about this show, and having just spent two months travelling around Scotland, we thought that maybe it was about time!  We got part way through the first season, so we still have quite a way to go!

Monday was a treat day for Moray – we drove over to Cardiff to the IMAX theatre to see Bladerunner 2049.  All I will say is that Moray thoroughly enjoyed it!!!  And that I get to pick the next film…. [Moray’s Note:  It was freakin’ AWESOME]

We are now entering the last two weeks of our trip, and still have people to see and places to go.  Thank you so much to my Mum, who has given us use of her car as – yay! – we sold ours this morning for the same price that we bought it for!  It was the perfect solution for our travels around England, Scotland and Wales as we would do the same thing again if we decide to spend an extended period exploring another country.

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