Monday, September 19, 2016

Friday 16th September, 2016 - Keswick

Our BnB (Cumbria House) is superb - we both had a great sleep and down for breakfast at 8 am (as is usual for us).  
We spent some time sorting out cases and leaflets that we have collected over the previous weeks.  Some serious biffing to the bin followed.  Good job done:) 

We had a walk along the cobbled pedestrian area, lots of folk about, lots of dogs too; this is a popular area for walking and tramping, walking poles seem to be a popular accessory for both young and old.  Had lunch sitting outside, there are dogs everywhere and allowed in cafes and bars. We had to be alert as the places put out water bowls for the pooches.

After lunch we went on a tiki, a route that Gordon had suggested to us yesterday.  Thoroughly enjoyed the experience, a passing shower made it a bit gloomy for a while.  We headed for the hills over a pass, magnificent views at the top.  Doug spied a waterfall and suggested a walk.  That we did, following a goat track about three quarters up.  It then became a scramble, that's when we decided enough was enough and descended back to the car.  A different breed of sheep here, recently been shorn.

We had made arrangements earlier to meet Wendy and Ann for dinner, they chose a Tapas place, we sat out the back where the light was better (old & blind) and enjoyed the food and chatting with them both.  Lovely and friendly ladies.  

Not a late night, as we knew we would meet up with both of them tomorrow at the Blip meet which has been arranged for us.

Wendy (left) and Ann 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Thursday 15th September - Dufton to Keswick

We have had such a wonderful day - full of exciting things.

But before that, a delicious breakfast was served - lovely fruits, yogurt and selections of cereals. Followed by Gordon's specialty of scrambled eggs with salmon - another delicious.

We called in to meet Sue & Graham at their art studio - both of them blippers (although Graham not so now) - was wonderful to meet them and see their incredible photography displayed.  A purchase of some cards which I may put on the wall :) 

Then  the Lanercost Priory for a coffee and a wander, wonderfully warm and able to sit outside.
We set off to view and maybe walk a little of Hadrian's Wall - travelling through the Pennine Hills.  A hazy day, but that didn't matter at all.  We walked through some fields (paddocks), down and there is always an up!!  It was very hot and muggy......struggled at times, but we took it easy.  The wall we saw and stood on and meandered through and over remains of a Roman settlement. Incredible to try and imagine their life with so many hardships. The wall itself was so sturdy, wide with incredible stonework.  No wonder it has lasted the centuries.  We treated ourselves to an ice cream, a much needed reviver!

Paula and Gordon drove us back through a scenic route, again the haze was about, but we still saw the closer landscapes.  Up to the top of the Pennines and we could only imagine the spectacular views.

We were dropped back to the Art Studio we had visited earlier in the day to collect our car.  Our grateful thanks to Paula and Gordon who had given up their day to show us this part of their patch,  said our farewells then we drove off into the sunset and Keswick & Derewentwater. The light was amazing as we drove west and I managed a few photos at the lake before finding our Cumbria House BnB.  And what a welcome we got there too. 

We skipped dinner, had a cup of tea and a biscuit.

A walk around Paula's garden - their hydrangea flowerettes are huge

I couldn't resist this beautiful pooch

The heating system (we thought)

Beautiful Derewentwater

Wednesday 14th September - Edinburgh to Dufton

A travelling and meeting people day!

We had an 8am breakfast in the restaurant next door, Doug walked down to the car park and drove back up to collect luggage (and me).

We set up "Ella on the dash" and away we went.  Just a little error, nothing too serious.  Got ourselves out of Edinburgh - next stop Selkirk to acquaint myself with a second cousin who has come out of the woodwork over the last couple of years.  Found him, some 10 miles out of Selkirk.  The weather was cool and the clouds down very low - apparently the valley is very pretty.

A lot of chatter and catching up on family history, farming and rugby - a lovely couple and daughter (Lindsay & Sylvia, daughter Alison).  We lingered and finally got away around  pm, knowing there was a more than a two hour drive south to Dufton and blip friends Paula & Gordon.

Whizzing along the motorway in this instance was good, and as we drove south the weather improved.  A great welcome for us, sitting outside in the warmth, overlooking their garden to the fields below, birds twittering around the feeder.

A magnificent dinner was served - Paula's pavlova was one the best ever, laden with fresh berries, delicious.....seconds was had. 

Tuesday 13th September - Edinburgh

Every day seems to be a big day - and today was no exception.  We walked along the Royal Mile and found a nice cafe for breakfast - very warm and able to sit outside.  Eggs Benedict swimming in Hollandaise Sauce.

We had bought tickets for the castle in Stirling when we visited there castle.  So, off we went to the Castle, along with the millions - just so busy, we did the rounds and enjoyed it, but didn't linger too long, just too many people everywhere.

We escaped and walked back enjoying some street performers along the way.  I was keen to go into St Giles Cathedral, which takes pride of place on the Royal Mile.  The interior was breathtaking, I had to pay the two pound and where a sticker for the rights to take photos but worth every penny.

We then went off "the mile" and over the bridge for some non tourist shopping.  Successful purchases for the grandies :)

We had skipped lunch so opted for an early dinner at a little cafe beside our apartment - very nice then back to the room.  Took a leisurely bath, and a nice cup of tea.

We had a face-time with our Townsville family as they were starting their day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Monday 12th September - Stirling to Edinburgh

An early breakfast and on the road up to the Stirling Castle, we were much too early, like 30 minutes.  To fill in some time we took a wander around the adjacent cemeteries - and rather randomly I found a headstone with my Mum's maiden name Jolliffe.  I've taken a photo of it and will give to my cousin who is doing the family tree, there may not be any connections but time will tell.

The hour and half spent at the Stirling Castle could well have been the whole morning.  So much to see and read, a real history lesson, but time meant that the museum sections had to be quicker than we would have liked.  A great castle strategically placed on a high knob with 360 degree view to watch for enemy (which there were many it seems).

We then went in search of the Old Stirling Bridge (Ella on the dash was very helpful), and very pleased we found it as it is a beautiful structure, and I was very lucky with the light highlighting its gorgeous stonework.

The off to do the Falkirk Wheel trip - amazing and again so pleased we went back today.  Rather than me try unsuccessfully to explain,  here is what what Wikipedia says.

We are now in Edinburgh, only a half hour drive from Falkirk (near Stirling).  We are staying right by the Royal Mile and have walked up and down, the bagpipes playing somewhere nearby.  We enjoyed a meal sitting outside as darkness fell.  People everywhere and every race covered.  Funnily enough, for the hour or more that we sat there people watching I only saw four men in shorts, Doug included.  Weird, as it was rather mild.

The cemetery we strolled through.  

This guy was a real character - he was in one of the rooms, and had spent years
working on the family trees - he reels off many well known names that had
connections to the Stirling Castle 

The castle from below as we drove to the Old Stirling Bridge below

Falkirk Wheel taken at the top and out the window of the barge.

Inside the tunnel

And at the end before we were wheeled back to ground level.

The wheel with one of the barges going in.

And half way up, not the pink top of the barge on the right