Sunday, October 21, 2007

Day 15: We Reach Scotland

Our week at Barnsdale Lodge had come to an end, and it was time to head north. This was the longest drive we made in our month in the UK. Because of the time share set-up, our week at Loch Ard in Scotland started on a Saturday, the same day our week in Barnsdale finished. The only other option was to leave a whole week between the two bookings, which didn't really fit in with the time we were able to get away from work.

We made good time initially, driving up the A1 - not the M1, but still a very good road with sections of motorway, and no traffic jams. After a couple of hours or so we took a small diversion eastwards to visit York. Despite the gap between our maps - our large scale road map showed the main roads, the "Rough Guide" showed the city centre but neither really show the route to take through cities on the fringes - we managed to get near to where we wanted to be, and find a good parking place just outside the city centre, beside the River Ouse.

We crossed the river on foot and spent an hour or so looking around the region of York Minster.

Unlike other churches we visited, there was no "suggested donation". There was an out-and-out admission charge, and it wasn't included on our heritage pass - £5.50 to see inside the Minster, £7.50 for the Minster and tower or Minster and undercroft, or £9.50 for all three. By this time we had already spent time photographing the streets, Roman walls and outside of the Minster, and wouldn't have really had time for more than a quick look, so we decided it wasn't worth the price. Though if we could have spared a couple of hours, I would gladly have paid, especially as I gather the view from the top of the tower is the best view of the city. (In this photo, you can see some people walking along the edge of the roof, heading for the tower).

We did see a bit of the inside, as the ticket desk wasn't right at the door but about twenty feet or so inside:

Constantine was proclaimed Roman emperor near here in 306.

This artist was at work nearby:

Another way to view the city from above:

Not a cultural festival but a promotion for a local store opening. Didn't he pose nicely for me?

And here is a section of the city wall, just near where we crossed the river:

We headed back to the car and the motorway and continued north. I had studied the map and picked out two possible routes: a coastal route via East Lothian and Edinburgh, or a route up through the Scottish borders - Jedburgh etc - on the A68, which looked slightly shorter and more scenic. Always suspect "more scenic". After a short time on the A68, climbing and winding, it was clear that it was going to be a much slower road and that P wasn't happy. So I studied the map some more, not wanting to turn back as we had already gone too far for that, and realised that we could turn east again on the A69 and pick up the coastal route further north, near Newcastle on Tyne. We lost a little time (but saw some great upland scenery), but started making good time again.

We drove and drove ... the border between England and Scotland slopes diagonally to the northeast, so that it is a lot further north on the east coast than on the west ... but eventually we came to flags by the roadside, and a sign that proclaimed "Welcome to Scotland".

And then we drove some more .... took the bypass round Edinburgh ... and reached Stirling, where we stopped for petrol and supplies at the supermarket. And heard people speaking in wonderful Scottish accents all around, confirming that yes, the Scots really do say "aye" and "didnae".

By now it was dark, and raining. After two wonderfully sunny weeks in England, it had started raining sometime late in the afternoon, near Edinburgh. On the map it didn't look much further to our timeshare, but we were unfamiliar with the road, and it was narrow, dark and wet. At one point a deer bounded across the road in front of us. And then something small hopped in the headlights, and another, and another - frogs all over the road.

We passed through a couple of small villages and located our splendidly tartaned timeshare on the shores of Loch Ard, past the tourist village of Aberfoyle. And once again, ate dinner and got to bed rather late.


gautami tripathy said...

I had to visit you. I wanted to read about your travel. Sorry about the photos not uploading.

Still I enjoyed reading through it and the ones before this. The photos there, are amazing. Thanks for the journey. I will be back for more.

Smiler said...

I'd love to go to Scotland sometime. Sounds so beautiful. I often have trouble uploading pics on Blogger too and for the life of me can't post any at all as a page element. That's when I wish I knew more HTML, but is it really worth it? I'd rather work on the content honestly...

Michele sent me today. Enjoy your travels!

rashbre said...

This is a great 'road trip'!

I shall read back to the beginning. Its been a while since I visited here (Michele sent me to say hi this time) and I was quite surprised to see 'Scotland' popping up.

rashbre central have some friends on the 'other route' to Scotland (M6) western side who are part of a Poetry collective called the 'Wild Women'! Here's a link


Anonymous said...

ooh I am jealous.

Michele sent me to tell you so

Charls in HK said...

The photos are great... sounds like you had a terrific trip. I think the description in your profile is very clever, too!

Michele sent me!

Bob-kat said...


I came over to thank you for dropping by my blog and leaving your kind message. It was very thoughtful of you and appreciated by me.

I styaed to read back through your trip. Your photos are fantastic and I ahve enjoyed reading about my country from your perspective as a visitor. I noticed you visited the town of my birth and that you cmae very near me too.

chiefbiscuit said...

This is bringing back so many memories - although we hitched and generally roughed it - being young! Wouldn't do that now! But Scotland remains our favourite place in the world - apart from NZ. We just loved Scotland and the Scottish people. Looking forward to the next instalment!

paris parfait said...

Such diverse countryside you got to visit! Thanks for sharing these photos.