We are now in Bonny Scotland and the road up has been the long way up, taking our time to visit many of the top UK tourist spots on the way. Like so many of our travels we have not given for one reason or another, enough time to many of these places, but of course we can re-visit another time, all things being willing.
That said we started back on our travels after quarantine and family, friend time the third week in May. We started with Dorset and have made our way north over that time to Scotland.
To be honest, it was for the reason that we are here in Scotland that actually gave us our northern drive, because until our close friend Catherine, also celebrating her 60th like us this year said she was having a ‘house party’ in Dumfries, we had no sense of direction at all for the UK.
This week saw us leave Harrogate and tarts galore, heading to the stunning area of the Yorkshire Dales and a lovely town called Settle. We arrived after a relatively easy drive to our new campsite and as there was still time, and David was eager we headed off to another viaduct. The cycle was a round 24 miles, but for some reason our legs were heavy, and the beauty of the countryside really did have to buoy us along. Upon reaching the viaduct, I decided that the view I had from the roadside with a chocolate ice-cream was enough and that I didn’t have to partake in the full-on bridge experience.
The next day was spent easily in the market town of Settle, just wandering and taking in the delightful flowerpot installations around the town, done for the summer months- absolutely charming.
Wednesday, saw us head further north- west as we headed to the ever-popular Lake District. For this we had chosen, or more likely what was available had chosen, was Lake Coniston and a very large but efficient Camping and Caravan site just near the lake. My drive in was OK, until we got so very close to the site and it being a lovely day, the A roads narrowed down with parked cars for the lake and walking. Eventually just five minutes away according to our Sat-nav I bottled it on a stone edged small hump back bridge with a stream of cars facing me- over to you David. Poor lad-it’s so unfair, but saves on the stress and arguments- or does it?
Unfortunately for us, it was a pick your own spot site (unusually) and eventually after four tours of duty around the various spots, we made our decision and got Buster parked up in the shade and relatively level, but a good way away from the lake. To be fair no-one had an absolute stunning view of the lake from the campsite and for us, with no children or dogs the path to the nearest pub was of more importance.
The long way up was not only to Scotland, but also the long way up to the top of the Old Man of Coniston. Not sure why it’s called that, but to our mind it was how you felt when you got to the top. To be fair it was only an 8 mile walk but the degree of climb was difficult, add in the heat, then the three hours it took to get to the top really wasn’t so bad. Given my dislike of heights and sheer drops, we were both even more amazed to have made it to the top, where of course sheep just nimbly hopped on the rock face from stone to stone, defying life and limb. The Ship Inn at the bottom was a life saver, as was the simple but deliciously cooked food, before we hobbled our way back to the shade and cool of the camp site. So much was the heat and the walk, that a shower was partaken by myself, despite my thoughts of hanging on for luxury bath time in Scotland. Still that’s a job of the list!
Devon and Cornwall weren’t on our list to visit due to the traffic, narrow roads etc, but boy did all of those and every other nightmare road journey we have had come home as we left the Lake District on the Friday. The A road out, was blocked both ways within minutes and we had no choice but to inch our way along past all the other variety of vehicles. We finally got to Morrisons at Penrith and both needed a caffeine/cake injection to settle our nerves. But that said Covid or not this is one of the busiest travel times of the year.
Our lovely spot on Kirk Loch, Lochmaben quickly soothed our nerves, as we watched the swans and cygnets moving in and out of the water with the sun setting at the far side of the loch, while Buster along with us cooled down before bed.
So the long way up ends next week as we spend the week ahead celebrating a whole bunch of 60th birthdays. Will deep fried Mars Bars make it onto our food list for the week?
Then the long way south begins and a whole new set of adventures, before we hand back Buster!?!?……..