Saddest, weirdest, 'funnest', trip ever

Old Jun 21st, 2012, 11:50 AM
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Good job.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 12:30 PM
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Rockcliffe !

You made it to our backyard.

That was the hottest weekend in years. We got the dinghy out and sailed down to Kippford, incredible day.

The JPJ museum needs the gardens to be open at Arbigland next door. They are beautiful and were worked on by JPJs father. Unfortunately, the Blackett family money ran out and they had to sell the Ouse but retained the land. The gardens were open to the public but the purchasing owner closed them and let the property suffer.

It is back up for sale and will be on our radar when we sell our business.

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-...-22562226.html

Did you make it to the RSPB at Mersehead? Lovely little place with good resident and transient bird population.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 12:58 PM
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really bg - can we all come?
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 06:48 PM
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You live in a pretty corner of the country to be sure!

Threave, heatstroke (only a slight exaggeration), Rockliffe

After an early breakfast, I took a walk along the beach for maybe 20 mins -- OK it is about 8:30AM and I'm walking along the Solway Firth . . . in shirtsleeves and it is actually HOT. I head west to Threave Gardens and get there just as they are opening. Perfect timing. The gardens are very pretty -- but probably because of the really cold recent weather, not a lot is in bloom. Actually almost nothing was. Probably after 2 or 3 more days of this glorious weather everything will be bursting w/ colour.

I booked a 2PM tour of the House - which was my favorite part. It is a late Victorian hunting lodge and not at all like the typical stately home. Lunch was a pretty good roasted vegetable panini and white wine.

Here are images of Threave as it probably looked later in the week. http://tinyurl.com/7dgunqb

Then I drove up the road to Threave Castle. I LOVED this place- quite a walk across fields from the car park in a farm yard and then a ferry to the island in the 'other' River Dee. It was built in the 14th century by Archibald the Grim - now that is a name to live up to There were several others walking out across so I assumed there would be a crowd on the island. But everyone else was headed farther out to view the Ospreys. I was the only visitor to the castle. A couple was waiting for the ferry when I left the island - so they would have the castle to themselves too.

After close to an hour out on the island, walked out to the viewing platform. I didn't have binoculars w/ me but could still see one of the ospreys.

http://tinyurl.com/87q7fvw
http://www.nts.org.uk/threave_ospreys
http://dandgrangers.blogspot.co.uk/

I headed back through Dalbeattie and Kippford to Rockcliffe. Really just drove into Kippford, parked and looked around for a few minutes before driving on to Rockliffe.

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...ord/index.html

This is such a pretty little village w/ some gorgeous homes. Some reminded me of homes on Monterey Bay south of Santa Cruz back home. I sat for about 20 or 30 minutes on that same bench in the bottom photo.

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...ffe/index.html

Finally pulled myself away and drove back to Carsethorne. Sat on the deck of the B&B's summerhouse drinking the last of my complimentary Traquair Ale. Then down to the Steam Boat Inn for chicken tikka (yes I did )

Next: Lanercost Priory, Hadrian's Wall, Rothbury . . . And a bleedin' flat tyre
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 02:40 AM
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I am so glad that you made it to our little corner of the world and I am really warmed by the fact that someone who is so well travelled enjoyed being here. So many miss us out when on their way to somewhere else.

Threave Castle is a wonderful little place and in contrast to many of the other English sites it is very easy to see the Ospreys In the flesh.

Chicken Tikka at the Steamboat. Now this is becoming creepy. We were there on Monday. I had the scampi, my wife had Chicken Tikka. The food is average, the decor isn't but just we go to sit on a sunny day and watch the tide go in/out. At that point the Nith hits the estuary and basking sharks, porpoise, dolphins, otters turn up for lunch too.

For any other visitors, Janisj hit the right sights/sites. Just north of Threave (5 miles) is the Red Kite feeding station where it is possible to see over 100 of these beautiful birds in one small area. There is also a beautiful walk between Kippford and Rockcliffe which is well away from any road noise and ends with a stunning view of The Lakes at Castle Point.

http://www.walkscotland.plus.com/oth...g/pages/17.htm

Janisj

If you do pass again try

http://www.millbraehouse.co.uk/bandb.html

Just up the hill from the beach.

Went to Lanercost last Sunday whilst test driving a new car from Carlisle. God, their cafe has improved since the last time we visited.

From you you say we must make Monterey Bay sometime. We always thought that D&G had a lot in common with Vancouver Island. Pretty but not stunning scenery with lovely people living in the 1950s.

Your previous posts have inspired me to a staycation in July. We are going up to Arran then over to Kintyre and a few nights just north of Oban. (rain : who cares)

Sorry about the silly post in relation to Culzean but neo classical knobbly is just one of my things.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 06:36 AM
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"The food is average, the decor isn't"

Sort of only port in a storm, since I was staying in the village and it is the only show in town. But it wasn't at all bad - hit the spot both nights. And the folks working there could not have been nicer.

I've spent a little time in the SW but both trips were YEARS ago. Would have liked a couple more days but there were other places I needed to fit in (Alnwick, the Dales, Jersey) before hitting London Jubilee weekend so 2 days was all I had.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 07:31 AM
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That photo does have the look of Monterey Bay with the homes in Pacific Grove fronting the sea. So pretty!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 05:24 PM
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Lanercost Priory, Hadrian's Wall, Rothbury . . . And a bleedin' flat tyre

HOT day. As mentioned, after another wonderful breakfast, I get my purse to pay the lady . . . oops -- spent too much cash the last two days and was 20 short! OMG!! This has never happened to me before. I say I'll drive up to Dumfries or wherever the nearest cash machine is. I'm not on any sort of timetable so that would be a hassle but certainly doable. Especially since this is 100% my fault. You can see the gears turning "Sure, I let this Yank go and I'll never see her again!" She rings up the owner of the Steamboat and asks if I can run a charge and get cash. No problem -

Belted_Galloway will understand this since he knows the village and it is TINY. I could easily walk up to the pub in 3 minutes. But the landlady drives me there and stops on the way (5 doors up) to pick up the pub's owner. She wasn't about to let me loose w/ w/o cash on the barrel head ) (actually she was super about the whole thing - but honestly -- driving )

I only needed 20 but the pub preferred I charge 70 -the full amount I owe the B&B - probably due to visa fees. So I charge 70, receive 70 turn around and pay the landlady. High finance !

I wave goodbye and head out towards Cumbria. First stop Lanercost Priory. Was there once maybe 10 years ago. Things certainly have changed-the farm next door is now a big restaurant, gift shop, visitor complex. My last visit the church of St Mary Magdalene wasn't open so this time I went inside it first. The church is attached to the priory ruins. Had a lovely visit w/ the churchwarden and he showed me the Morris and Byrne-Jones windows.

Then next door to the Priory. It dates from the 1100's and quite a bit is still standing

http://tinyurl.com/7kmgyee

After maybe 90 minutes at Lanercost I head east w/ plans for photo ops along the Wall and stopping at one or two of the forts/major sites. Mission accomplished w/ one hiccup. Got lots of good pictures and decided I'd stop at Housesteads. Lots of changes here --the seedlings screening the site from the road/carpark are now a forest. And the visitors center/shop is now down near the carpark. The car park was REALLY full so I had to park at the far end several hundred feet from the shop. This is important why? Because it is a 2 pay and display car park and the machines ONLY accept 1 and 2 coins. I have lots of change but NO 1 or 2 coins! The only way I can visit Houseteads is walk over to the shop, get some change, walk back to the car, pay/display, then walk all the way back. Screw it! - It was too hot anyway

(I would have if this was my first Housestead visit)

Back in the car -- no parking charge at Vindolanda and Chesters machines take ANY coins. I spent most time at Chesters since my last visit we arrived just before closing time.

http://www.vindolanda.com/Home.htm
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/d...hadrians-wall/

From there I headed north to Rothbury. I'd not been before - What a nice little town! I drove into the center - I vaguely remembered the directions to the B&B but forgot to print them out. Figured I'd just 'bump' into it, but Rothbury is larger than I imagined and two loops through the center and no joy.

So I parked and went to the TIC to ask -- not a terrific feeling when the TIC doesn't know a B&B that is supposedly w/i a couple of blocks, They ring up the place to ask where the heck they are. "Oh - yes, next to the old clinic."He gives me pretty good directions. It is on the upper high street (runs parallel to the high street -but elevated several feet.) It is VERY narrow. While maneuvering carefully down the road avoiding opposing cars I bumped the stone kerb and a huge bang. I pulled over and saw my offside front tyre had basically exploded! Luckily I parked w/i 100 feet of the B&B. Unluckily the owner was there-the cleaning lady let me in-but had no idea what to do about the tyre. She rang up the owner who said he'd help me sort it when he returned in a few hours.

OK--it is now about 4PM and I'm a bit nervous about leaving things too. Being car less tomorrow would definitely crimp my plans. I first thought I'd change the tyre myself, but w/ the power wrenches they use now I wasn't sure I could get it off. So I hiked back down to the TIC and they rang upa local Range/Land Rover garage. I walked back up to the car and soon my hero Stuart (a huge red headed mechanic) drove up.he took off the old tyre/rim and put on the spare (thank heavens it was a full sized spare - not the dinky donuts we often get in the States. He would get me a new tyre and mount it while I'm out exploring Alnwick tomorrow.

He drives off w/my wheel/tyre and I go in to checkout my room. I LOVE this place - except my room is in the very top of the house and it is HOT. But after opening the windows it cools off tolerably w/i about 1/2 an hour. I am in Mrs Pringle's room and it is just about perfect. huge room, well furnished, big bathroom, luxurious linens, comfortable seating - plus the whole house is beautiful.

W/ the tyre drama, I'm sort of drained -- so I just walk down to the green grocer and coop and pick up fruit/sandwich/small bottle of wine -- and plain chocolate digestives. Gourmet dinner

http://www.northumberland-cam.com/rothbury/
http://www.hillcrestbandb.co.uk/Hill...andb/Home.html

Next: Alnwick, Posh lunch in a Treehouse, and a king's ransom for a tyre

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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 05:29 PM
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oops - thought I proofed better. "Unluckily the owner was NOT there- "

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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 04:57 AM
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I can so relate to your Wall-sites carpark frustrations; we had similar frustrations at Birdoswald. From my 2010 TR--"After some trips back and forth from the parking lot (had to pay-and-display, had no coins, got change at the shop, DD put ticket in car, didn’t bring receipt, you get your money back if you show receipt, she went back to car for receipt) we made it in." But it was our first visit, and it was cool and rainy, so we figured it out and stayed a while. At Housesteads a bit later that day, the carpark was totally full and they parked us on the grass. (But that ended up actually being a closer walk than the carpark you had to deal with.)

Enjoying your account of adventures!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 06:18 AM
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Wheel changes : I have no idea why this is happening but my last two have been horiffic. The latest was on the hard shoulder of the M6, in the rain and rush hour. The wheel of our 9 month old car would just not come off.

In the end it cost Audi as we have free cover and so I called them to change the damn thing.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 06:41 AM
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I probably did have road cover -- but wasn't about to faff about w/ contacting AA or Hertz and being on their timetable.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 06:43 AM
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really nice janisj - brings so many lovely memories of my holiday in Scotland, years and years ago!!!

I am so sorry about the passing away of your parents, but I am sure this vacation brought them so close to you in spirit.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 07:14 PM
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Thanks for all the comments everybody!

I'll try to pick up the pace (but no guarantees - good intentions seem to fly out the window)

Alnwick, Posh lunch in a Treehouse, and a king's ransom for a tyre

Today is really (REALLY) hot. Wearing a short sleeved cotton blouse and light weight slacks and am boiling. Wish I had those shorts I'm always recommending against

Lovely breakfast- the B&B is vegetarian but not vegan so eggs are on the menu.

I head out to Alnwick and end up staying there most of the day. The Gardens are amazing (though, once again very little is in bloom except for vast hillsides of tulips and bluebells.). The Gardens are quite separate from the Castle and are really two unique/separate sites. One could spend several hours at either place and also walk into the town, so Alnwick is definitely 'worth' a full day - even w/o the Harry Potter connections.

The central cascade, the poison garden, the ornamental gardens --hard to imagine that they are really only about 10 years old. The Duchess has had a

After wandering through the gardens for maybe 2 hours, I walk over to the Castle. It is massive and the State Rooms are equal/better than any of the grand homes like Chatsworth, or Castle Howard, or Blenheim. Lots of great artwork - Canaletto, Titian, Turner, plus some truly fabulous furnishings. Plus there are at least 3or 4 individual museums w/i the castle walls.

Anyone visiting NE England or even the Scottish Borders should really try to fit in a visit to Alnwick.

There are several places to eat in the gardens and the Castle - or one can walk in to town for a pub or cafe. But I decided to eat in the Treehouse. The restaurant has a weird/wonderful vibe sort of Lord of the Rings-ish With fairy lights, trees growing up through the room, rustic/strange seating. I had a potato/asparagus starter and Salmon & Leeks main plus a glass of wine.

http://www.alnwickgarden.com/
http://www.alnwickcastle.com/
http://tinyurl.com/7kt5bbb
http://tinyurl.com/7qwy8jy
http://www.alnwickgarden.com/explore.../the-treehouse

It is now nearly 3PM and I'm a bit anxious about my tyre and want to get back to Rothbury just in case I need a plan B. So I reluctantly leave Alnwick w/my fingers firmly crossed that there are no hiccups at the Rover garage.

Not to worry -- it is all ready and they take less than 10 minutes to switch the old rim and put the spare in the boot. £154 (!) later I'm on my way back to the B&B.

There is noway I'll be hungry by any sort of normal dinner service. So back to the co-op for another sandwich just in case. Found the local branch library which closes in the afternoon but re-opens for a couple of hours in the evening. Used their computer to double check that I have all the info for the Thames pageant. Then a walk around town - a Pimms in a pub downtown - and back to the B&B for an evening of telly/chocolate digestives and a few bites of sandwich.

Next: Beamish and on to the Dales
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 07:17 PM
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oops - "The Duchess has had a huge impact on Alnwick - her garden is one of the major employers in the area."

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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 11:43 PM
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I LOVE Alnwick, and I too have eaten at the Treehouse and really enjoyed it.
There's an absolutely superb (and huge) bookshop in the town called Barter Books, housed in old railway buildings. You can easily lose several hours of your life in that place!
Especially in winter when there are open fires, comfy sofas and a cafe that sells hot chocolate and teacakes.
http://www.barterbooks.co.uk/html/Ab...20Bookshop.php
Barter Books is also responsible for the current popularity of the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' merchandise found everywhere at the moment.
Waiting patiently for your Dales trip report!
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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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Morgana: My original plan was to spend the entire days in Alnwick so I could explore the town and visit Barter Books and have dinner there. But I really needed to be back in Rothbury early in case there was a glitch w/ the tyre. So I didn't do anything but drive through town.

Saturday: Beamish and on to the Dales

Another very good breakfast and I was on the road a little after 9:00 headed down the A1. I had the Michelin road atlas I bought in Edinburgh. It was too large (small?) a scale to have all the roads and none of the teensy ones. I managed OK in Scotland and later in the Dales because I had brought the respective pages from an old 3 miles to the inch atlas from home.

But getting to Beamish from Gateshead it let me down. I assumed there would be signs from the motorway but I never saw any. I wandered around in circles - and when I hit Stanley for the 2nd time it was time to stop and ask. Just as I was about to stop at a petrol station -- in the distance I see one of those brown tourist signs and it was for Beamish. To this day I have no idea where I was for the best part of 45 minutes.

Today was another HOT day and at Beamish you really feel it since it is so large and just about all outdoors. I arrive maybe 15 minutes after opening and the lines were enormous. They have one queue just for season ticket holders that that was long, and the general admission had hundreds of people. This place is HUGE and I spent about 4 hours there and still didn't see/do everything. Luckily, since it is so big, the crowds are totally absorbed/spread out.

There is an Edwardian town, Small Georgian manor house, coal mine and pit village, farm/farmhouse, train station, trams, omnibuses. Just during my visit there was a mineworkers parade, a band concert, and classes in the schoolhouse. My favorite section was the town. All the shops/houses/garage are open and set up as they would have been in the early 20th century.

You can also go into the mine - they take about 20 people at a time, all wearing hard hats, a few hundred feet down the tunnel. I'm short and when the miner tour guide said we'd have to crouch/duck I thought - 'yep, you tall folks will have to watch it.' Wrong! Even the children had to stoop way over just to make their way. It was really dark and wet and even though we were basically still at surface level it was REALLY claustrophobic. I can't imagine how awful it would be a mile or two down and never being able to stand erect. Horrible way to make a living. I've been in lots of caves before, but this was nasty!

After about 4 hours, I tore myself away -- hot and hungry. The lines in the cafe were long and I decide to press on to Aysgarth and hope to get an early pub dinner somewhere

http://www.beamish.org.uk/
http://tinyurl.com/73znlpt

I arrived at the B&B around 4:30. My home for the next 3 nights is a big house w/ a lovely garden and nine rooms for rent. The down stairs breakfast room and two lounges are very nice w/ french doors out onto the lawns. My room was a large twin but weirdly decorated. It was purple. I mean purple. Purple striped wallpaper, purple lampshades, purple satin bedspreads, purple candles, lavender sheets, mixed bouquet of purple/lavender silk flowers. But the bed was very comfortable, the breakfasts were good, and the location was terrific.

http://www.stowhouse.co.uk/

after checking in I walked to The upper, middle and Lower Aysgarth Falls and explored the church which are all w/i 1/2 a mile of the B&B. Really pretty - all of them

http://tinyurl.com/84ek754

Then about 7:00 I walked up the road to the George & Dragon pub w/ rooms. What a nice (and busy) place - if I get back to the area I'd consider staying there. Had poached salmon and grilled asparagus and it was so good I booked dinner there for the next night - mainly because it would solve the problem of either driving after a few drinks or not having drinks w/ dinner... I'm already facing that problem on Monday evening when I have dinner booked at the Yorke Arms. It was sorta weird having Jan & Dean singing Surf City and Little Old Lady From Pasadena, and Leslie Gore serenading during dinner

http://www.georgeanddragonaysgarth.co.uk/index.html

next: Ribblehead, Hawes, Bolton Castle, Jervaulx Abbey, Middleham Castle - & Motorcycles.

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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 11:50 AM
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Er... £154 for a new tyre? You were I'm afraid comprehensively ripped off there. It should be nowhere near that expensive.
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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 11:57 AM
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I knew that -- but I didn't have much of a choice. I've got the receipt somewhere - I don't remember how much was tyre and how much was labor.
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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 12:07 PM
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Located the receipt:

Labour: £25 (which seems pretty reasonable IMO since they drove in to town, switched wheels, mounted the new tyre and and switched them back)

Parts: £104

VAT: £25.80
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