In the middle of April 2007 I drove down to Esbjerg, Denmark, to catch the ferry to Harwich (as the Gothenburg-Newcastle ferry not longer sails) and then north into Scotland (with my 'new' caravan, a Cabby 532 DLX, also from 1987, if you must know :-).
This trip has been split into five parts: April, May parts 1 and 2, and June parts 1 and 2.
In this first part, I travelled from Eskilstuna to Esbjerg to catch ferry to Harwich, and then headed up to Lake Distict before heading along Scotland's Southwest coast.
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Crossing Denmark also meant crossing 'the three bridges': Öresund, and Big and Little Belt (the two first ones are toll bridges, which cost me about 1000 SEK in total). The North Sea was a bit rough to start with... and a bit lonely (as last year). Luckly I had the 'people' to say goodbye in Esbjerg ('Humans and the sea'). :-) As always, the world is a small one: I met my old classmate's (Tina's) parents on their way to see her in Wales. (Rumour has it that the owner of the men's wear shop in Båstad was on the boat as well. :-)
From Harwich (Friday 20th) I drove to Boston (UK, not bl**dy USA
:-) to spend a night or two there. This drive taught me that it's
a good idea to buy a map and study it (took a detour via Cambridge)
and that The Fens really are flat. :-)
(The Fens is coastal marshland that has been drained to create, or reclaim, agricultural land, a practice that has been quite common in southern England. In some cases banks have also been built to reclaim land from the sea, even as late as 1982, and to protect the lowlands from flooding of the sea.)
Saturday (21/4) was used to tour Boston and it's market, which was busy. Boston has an old wind mill that was used until 1946 when it broke. It is now restored and fully functional. The beaches east of Boston was once a resort, where horse races took place, before they silted up. Nowadays they are good for birdwatching and people go to Skegness instead, with it's attractions, when they want to 'hit the beach'. (Obviously it's not a town that appreciates art. :-) Personally I like Northumberland's beaches (north of Newcastle) better with their sand dunes (see last days of Scotland 2006).
From Boston I went (22/4) on to Lake District (and the rain)
for a few nights. I thougt I took the low route through the Pennines,
but it turned out not to be the case. The West Yorkshire hills
are quite amazing and remind me of the Highlands (in Scotland).
In the evening I managed to squeeze in a quick
tour of eastern Lake District with a visit to Ullswater.
(The Pennines are a range of hills running through the north of England from north to south. They have, in other words, been a hinder when travelling, or transporting goods, from east to west.)
On Monday (23/4) I went looking for a cheaper campsite (still
in the rain), which doesn't seem to be easy in these parts. I
did feel sorry for leaving 'my mate',
but Appleby turned out to be a more pleasant place to be. :-)
(... partly being next to the Carlisle-Settle railway line :-).
Driving south (from Appleby) along a country road I got to see sudden
landscape changes, from wooded farm land to windsweept
moores and back to green farm land again. I also learnt that
Melrose Place is in Kendal, not Hollywood, and Pitlochry in
Lakeland. :-) Kendal has a nice town centre and is also the end
of the Lancashire canal (now filled in in Kendal). From Kendal
I went to a very rainy Windermere, Bowness
on Windermere, and Keswick.
On the way back I stopped in Penrith, another nice town centre with an interesting chuch: St. Andrew's with 'the giant's grave'. There is not much left of the Penrith's castle, and most of it's ground has been turned into recreation grounds (tennis, et.c.). At Appleby's railway station, where Right Reverend E. Treacy died in 1978, I found a heritage centre that restores old railway coaches and trains. I also got to see the old ford and castle mill. Passing through the town centre (again) I realized that this is the Appleby (in Westmoreland) where Time Time dug up the yard of the police station. :-)
Tuesday (24/4) saw slightly better weather (not constantly raining) and was used to tour Appleby a bit closer. Appleby is a quaint little town with the castle (sorry, closed since 2004) at the top of the main street and a church at the bottom. I find the churches in this area interesting as they are low and flat, i.e. no raised roofs. I got a closer look at the police station and then moved on to Brough and it's castle. I met two men at Brough's church that told me that the floor slopes towards the altar. (They made a joke about it being so that the 'the bride could walk down the aisle'. :-) As it was a bit grey I ordered a curry and went back to my caravan to enjoy it. (The trainspotter in me made me take a walk down to the railway line... and there I was, and a train came along. :-)
Annan is a wee town just west of Gretna (where I stayed last year). My move (25/4) to Scotland seems to have made the weather turn for the better, as did the view from the camp site. :-) Had a wee look at Annan before heading back to my caravan for yesterday's curry and some domestic work.
Another fine day (26/4) for me (and 'my mates') - time for a trip to Dumfries, which didn't excite me very much... But what (a few days later) annoys me is that I missed looking at Caerlaverock Castle... :-( Another early evening to do some more domestic work.
Finding the area around Annan a bit agricultural (i.e. a bit boring), I decided to go back (27/4) to England for some roman history... or so I thought. I ended up looking at more modern history, like The Citadel (or Court Houses) - a modern reconstruction of the originals from the 16th century. I also saw the cathedral and (front of) the castle. Yet more domestic work to be done...
Hermitage castle has always fasinated me since I first saw a
photo of it. So I decided to head that way (28/4). I started of
at Liddesdale Heritage Centre in Newcastleton,
where I gather the older generation becomes nostalgic over all
the old things. Hermitage castle was
as fascinating as I thought, especially as it's in the middle of
nowhere - just sheep to keep it company. Continuing north I found
an old railway viaduct of the Waverly
line (Edinburgh-Carlisle line) and the sign to Riccarton Junction
(which I will have to come back to at a later time, it being 3
miles from the road). At Hawick, that didn't excite me, I turned
south again (meeting up with the old Waverly line every now and
(Newcastleton is a planned village, i.e. it's layout is very straight, usually with a main street with shops and one or more squares, and streets running of it. Planned villages became quite common in the beginning of industrialization.
In the 1960s a lot of Britain's railways where abandoned, leaving a lot of stone bridges and viaducts still standing in the middle of nowhere. An interesting thing about Riccarton Junction is that there where no roads leading to it - one had to take the train there. It's been a 'ghost village' for many years, but now somebody is trying to rebuild it...)
Sunday (29/4) and one last day at Annan - time for a tour of
Solway coast. First stop was Sweetheart
Abbey and the corn mill in New Abbey (where I found a
collection that makes somebody's milk bottle collection look
puny :-). Visited MacLellan's Castle
in Kirkudbright (a place that seems more appropriate in Balamory,
but otherwise nice :-). Made a quick tour of Castle Douglas and
Dalbeattie on the way back...
(Sweetheart Abbey is so called as the founder, Lady of Galloway, was buried there with her husband's, John Balliol's, embalmed heart.
Balamory is a children's TV series based on the village of Tobermory, where the houses are painted in different bright colours.)
Monday (30/4) and time to move further west: Glenluce. I set up my caravan and retraced my steps to Gatehouse of Fleet. On the way I stopped for tea in Newton Stewart, a busy small village, and Creetown. At Gatehouse of Fleet I joined Historic Scotland as to gain free entry to Cardoness Castle, a tower house, and other historic sites. I also had a fish and chips from the Codfather and met a birdspotter. :-) On the way back I visited the carins at Cairnholy and Carsluith's Castle.
Continued in May, part 1.
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