31 August 2007

Great Dorset Steam Fair

Today was the day of the rally. 4 - 5 miles of car que to get in there. Acres and acres of car park and camping ground. The acres of:
  • engines,
  • cars,
  • motorbikes,
  • stationary engines,
  • market stalls,
  • fairground stuff,
  • woodworking,
  • craft,
  • food
  • and more
I was big. I mean I was expecting big, but this was really BIG!
We wondered round all day, loosing each other, with Mum and me both cracking the shits at various stages cos the boys wondered off. But they both had a good time chatting with old freaky steam men and that the important bit. Neil only bought 2 t-shirts. I got a new card for my camera. :)

30 August 2007

Train trip 1

After breakfast we did out last things in Bath. Neil went to the Cathedral and I went to the Jane Austin Center. I had to wait out the front for 1/2 and hour to get in. I knew I'd only have 3/4 of an hour in there before I have to get to the station to catch our train. Then I found out it would cost £6.50. Not good value, so I gave it a miss altogether. Out train ride was fun. Only for an hour, from Bath to Salisbury.
After we got off the train, I was just about to say to Neil 'Right, where shall we wiat for Mum and Dad?' When he said 'There they are!' Mum and Dad had just pulled into the car park. So we piled everything into the are (a bit of a squeeze) and headed into town for lunch and for me, to Marks and Spencer's to get a towel. There two tasks duely completed there was a quick stop off at Shaftesbury i place to pick up the Steam Rally ticket and then it was time to find the accom Mum had booked.
Dinner was nice at the local pub. Neil risked steak again and it was excellent!

29 August 2007

Bath 2

Not a real early morning today, we went first to the main Bath tourist attraction, the Roman Baths. These were great, we were there for ages and look heaps of photos. Out accom package comes with a hop on hop off bus ticket. As we were tired, we jumped on and decided to do the whole trip round Bath in one go. The recording commentary was good, not as good as a real person, but good.
There are quite a lot of chocolate shops in Bath. I had to go into one and just sniff. We wondered around for a bit after the chocolate, til we found the glassblowing shop. We bought 2 matching glasses, which we have had mailed back, by the shop, this also means they minus the VAT, which is 17.5%
After this we had a long walk to the place where the actual glassblowing was done. As they were charging £3.50 per person to watch, we decided to 'pass' on that one! (What a rip-off, every where else they let you watch for free, Bastards!)
We jumped on the out of town hop on hop off bus and did that loop too. Then it was rest time again, we're both sooooo tired, I even had a snooze this time.
Latter we had a few drama's, which I won't go into, but sufficed to say we didn't succeed in getting my photos off my camera.
Last stop for the evening was an 'eat in' version of the night before, Yum!
Mum and Dad are meant to have arrived this afternoon, but I've not managed to get hold of the yet. I'll try them again first thing.

28 August 2007

Bath 1

We started the day with a nice chat with the lady that runs the property. She breeds horses and has a great sense of humor. Probable enough said, really funny.
Next we went through heaps of traffic to the Hotel, to drop our bags and then through heaps more traffic to drop the car.
Then we walked slowly through Bath, via the i place and the fashion museum, where i 'accidentally' spent £75 on books :s, back to the hotel. Then we had a rest.
After a couple of hours sleep, (for Neil anyway, I was reading) we went to the station to pick up our railway tickets, then went to the local rip off internet to check email an bank balances, all looks acceptable.
We marched back into town for the evening "Mayor's" free tour of Bath. This was great. The man, Bob, was really interesting and entertaining. It lasted over 2hrs. By this time we were starving, but luckily we had passed a delicious smelling Turkish place near the end of the tour, so we nipped back there for a kebab. Delicious. We have to go back there!

27 August 2007

Ironbridge to Bath

Today I accidentally bought a bear. He was £76. Oops. He's loverly :)

The Neil got new foot stuff as he has been putting Canastian on his mankie foot for weeks and it hasn't been doing squat. Hopefully this stuff will, as his feet are starting to bleed. I'd be whining like a bitch if it were my feet!
Packing the bags into the car we headed, by all sorts of A & B roads, to Hereford. On the way I noticed Thornbury on the map, so of course, I had to navigate us via there! The town consisted of a sign.... thats it. We saw heaps of huge farm machinery on the tiny little roads there and a rubbish truck.
After the Hereford i place the next stop was the Weston's cider mill. We had lunch there, mine accompanied by 2 pints of cider, here all the navigation for the rest of the day was carried out pissed.
Next we went to Clearwell Caves which have been mined continually for 2000 years. There were some awful stories about children miners during the Victorian period, but really interesting all the same.
Then the last bit of the day was motorway heading towards Bath. We are staying in a really lovely self contained place that actually has a fridge, so I can drink my pear cider cold!!
My main job for tonight is to re-pack all the stuff we have acquired and get it to fit better in our bag, cos tomorrow we are getting rid of the car.

26 August 2007

Ironbridge 2

Today was museum day. We started off taking the free bus down to the tile museum. This was way better than we expected, we spent a couple of hours there. Next we wondered down to the Maws craft market/workshop. A few too many of the stalls were shut cos of the long weekend, bummer. I got a cross stitch pattern of Ironbridge. Neil got some cuff links made of old coins.
Next we stopped in for a snack near an old channel. Then we wondered on to the Tar Tunnel, which was cool, and had been lost until the 1950's or so.
Back on the free bus we went back to our room for a pit stop and a shoe change. We wondered the 2km or so up the road to the last 2 museums we plan to visit. Of course as we were going past the bear shop, of course I had to go in again and look at all the lovely hand made bears.
At the iron museum Neil got a door knocker in the shape of a traction engine. I'm still not sure why he needed this! Another tea towel was duely acquired.
Last stop on the museum trail for us was the kid museum 'enginuity'. This was great, heaps of toys and games, I completely wrecked myself playing with the machines that had convarer belts and handles to turn. Great!
We wondered back home, grabbed some cider for our regular sit beside the bridge and relaxed. Then an early night!

25 August 2007


It took us an hour to drive from Ironbridge to Redditch. We wandered round for a bit trying to follow the signs to the info place. Eventually I asked at the town hall. Turns out they moved the i place, but didn't change the signs. The people in there were completely disinterested in tourists as the were also the ticket agents for the local play house. We grabbed a hand out, made our way (eventually) to the towns ring road and headed out of there. As we pulled in to the needle mill (the main reason we had come here) I noticed it looked rather quiet. The Neil noticed the gates were closed. I finally read the opening hours (Big calming breath!) they fucken didn't open til 2 fucken o'clock (still 2 hours away at this point) on a fucken Saturday! NOT FUCKEN HAPPY JAN!!!
So, we proceeded to waste the next couple of hours until 2. This turned out not to be so bad, we had a bit of a walk to some nearby ruins (that weren't closed) went and got some lunch from Sainbury's which was quite good. Then finally the place opened.
Thanks god the place was actually really interesting and had good stuff to look at or I might have had to kill someone.
Neil wants me to describe everything we saw at the mill, but I really can't be stuffed, cos it's nearly 11pm and I'm tired!

24 August 2007

Ironbridge 1

Today was a fairly restful day, with the main accomplishment being getting the washing done. That took most of the morning.
We went to the visitor center and 1 of the 10 museums in Ironbridge gorge (we have a pass for all of them, but I think we'll skip some of them). We also posted off two parcels of paper an books we have picked up on our travels. Cost a bit, but good that it's on it's way home. We should see it a few weeks after we get back!
On the whole we have had a very restful day, which I think we both needed. There is a really cool bear shop here. A little shop here, called the red roster, that we went into to get chips, but then found it was a really yummy deli. They stock the nice organic apple cider that we found in the organic shop in the Lakes District (it's called Westson's)

23 August 2007

Travel to Ironbridge

Today can be summed up by car, car, infuriating drive round Sheffield, car, car, Hungry Jacks for lunch, car, car, car, car, car........
Thats it!
Oh I forgot, we went to Sherwood Forest Visitors Center first thing and walked to the Major Oak (ie a really big oak tree, but not that big when compared to Australian trees)
On the plus side our accom here in Ironbridge is quite nice, right in the middle of town. Out our window we can see Ironbridge and we don't have to move for 4 days (and nights) if we want!

22 August 2007

to Sheffield

The first stop today was Castle Howard which turned out to be way bigger and way more interesting than I expected. I had expected we'd be there 2ish hours. We stayed 5. This rather buggered up the driving schedule for getting all the way to Sheffield.
The tour guides we great, especially this one bloke we chatted with a couple of times who had a nasty sense of humor. The house also had heaps of William Morris stuff in it that I know Mum will be jealous of. The garden and grounds were huge. In one part of the stables they had a glass blowing lady. Oops, more purchases.
After Castle Howard, and despite the lateness of the hour, we drove though Melbourne. A surprisingly big town in the middle of no where. Then we went via more back roads to the motorway and onto Worksop, a place outside Sheffield I wrongly assumed would be easy to navigate and find accommodation in.
We did, eventually do both, but only after driving round the whole town. I was somewhat placated about the navigation when, as we were walking back from dinner, some one pulled up and asked us for directions!

21 August 2007

York 3

We did soooo much today. We got up really early and headed into town for a second go at the squirrels, this time with photos. Then we got on to the walk all the way round the walls of York, with stops at places of interest on the way round. Stop one was the National Center for Early Music, this was a bit of a let down. I wanted to get something for Kate, but all I could get was a couple of handouts. We got back on the wall and continued our trek. The wall was quite interesting. In lots of places it looked into peoples back yards, we saw some really cool vegie patches.
Next stop was the Jorvick Viking place. Which apart from the 45min wait to get in there and the slightly silly and a bit patronising's journey on a chairlift (underground) to look at their fake viking village, was really interesting.
2 hrs later and we were back on the wall and the day was slipping away. We walked back to the hotel and jumped in the car. We decided to leave Castle Howard till first thing in the morning tomorrow and just try to find the Wesleydale cheese factory and the black sheep brewery. We made it too the brewery but we missed the cheese factory by 15 mins :( bugger :( I got us some cheese from a shop in the town so I have the label but missed out on the shop :(
Then we had the long haul back to York. We had takeaway Chinese in out room (naughty us) and it was yum!

20 August 2007

York 2

We slept in a bit today, which was good, as I think I might be cir coming to Neil's cold, a bit :(
Eventually we made it into town and walked through the gardens. Neil finally saw a squirrel. There was a friendly man there feeding them and we chatted with him for a bit, then we headed off to the National Rail Museum. We accidentally spent most of the day there, it was HUGE!! We only left in the end cos we were stuffed. We stopped in a pub in town cos our feet were really sore and we needed a rest. We met a friendly man. That night we had beer for tea. oops. I barely remember stumbling back to bed.

19 August 2007

York 1

We didn't have a great morning. The pub man tried to charge for breakfast (even though his sign was B&B, maybe he didn't know what is stands for) luckilly we only had %pound;50 on us, so he 'gerneriously' said not to worry about it.
Next after we finnally made it to York and found a car park and a toilet, the really unhelpful cow in the i place tried telling us that any accom was going to be between £35 and £40 per person per night. I nearly chocked. This meant we decided to go and sit in the car and book the accom for the rest of our stay in the UK. As the control freak, it was really starting to bother me not having stuff lined up. I rang half a dozen places and got no where. Neil rany 2 and booked an extra night in Bath and 4 nights in Ironbridge. We (meaning Neil) also rang some pleace in York. The first one Neil rang told us that there is a big race meeting on and we'd have trouble getting anything. Well that explained that! Eventually we decided to go to the Youth Hostel. Neil wasn't keen on this idea. I didn't care, I just wanted it sorted as the day was slipping away. Once we got there and looked at it, I wasn't so keen either. However we had noticed a pub and a little hotel on the way out there that had vacancies, so we stopped at those. Yay 2 nights booked and we might even stay another night here and shorten our stay in Sheffield, as there is soooo much to do here.
We walked into the old walled part of town and went to the i place (who weren't that friendly, I think it's a difference between Scotland and England). We found out about a free walking tour, had a bit of an eat and looked around before the walk was due to start. 15mins after the start time, and no one had shown up to run it, even though about 20 people were standing around to go on it. So we decided to go on out own, using a little book Neil procured at the unhelpful i place. This was good fun. We could do as we pleased this way and skip bits we weren't interested in. Neil got another book on the Snikelways in York (tiny winding foot ways between buildings that are really old (both the building and the pathways) these are kind of like the closes in Edinburgh)
Finally I found a present for Kate. It's cool, even if it's from France, not England.
After walking round for hours we have stumbled back to our home for the next 2 or 3 nights and will get tea and an early night I think!

18 August 2007

travel to York (nearly)

We knew today would be a long day in the car. We probable planned to do a few too many things between Ambleside and York.
First stop was the Dock Museum in Barrow-in-Furness. This was great and free!! Lots of cool model ships and info on the ship building trade in Barrow. Unfortunately our next attraction, a slate and silver jeweler fee through as it didn't seem like he liked to open on weekends. Bummer, oh well we have his web site.
Next we went to the Lake Inland Aquarium. I was a little disappointed with this. We didn't see the otter :( Next stop was the Fairfield mill craft center. This was a very pleasant surprise. We got to see a weaving machine in action, finally!! This meant we had to buy another rug :)
Next stop was Dent to find a brewery/pub, which we couldn't find, then we got lost. Really lost. The roads got thinner and thinner until there was even stuff in the middle of the road, it was still sealed but that was all it had going for it. We even came up to an intersection, where there was already a car that look lost. When we spoke to them, they also didn't know where they were. They were "loster" than us!!!! They went left , we went right. We worked out where we were in the end, but by that time it was still ~20 miles from York and is was well after 4pm. We had no accom booked and we were stuck behind a bus. I tried ringing places and had no luck, except for one place that said: "Tiny room, small bed £30 each". I said "No"
In the end as we drove into Knaresborough we saw a pub with a B&B £50 sign. We got a room there. Dinner and the sleep that followed it were OK.

17 August 2007

Lakes District 2

Today, after picking up supplies at a yummy local bakery and getting my boots water proofed, we did a circuit of the Lakes District. We started off on a road so small it doesn't have a number and goes over Wrynrose and Hard Knot Passes. Neil loved it. Half way over we noticed a Roman Fort. When we reached the other side and stopped at a brew pub we found its a really famous road in the UK and many car and motorcycle clubs go there for runs.
We went for a bit of a look at the Esk to Ravenglass Railway, which is only slightly bigger gauge than the MSTEC's railway. We decided not to go to Muncaster Castle as it was a bit too expensive and would take too long. Then we had lots of driving through Whitehaven and Workington (both beach side tourist towns, full or ugly people) then on to Cockermouth. What an awful name, also it stank, so we re-named it Manure town.
We went the back way into Keswick, to avoid the traffic. Then went to Castlerigg, which is a standing stone circle. Apart from all the people, and the bloody ice cream van, it was great. I'm hoping that i can get some Photoshop skills happening and get all the people out of my pictures.
Dinner at the organic shop in Grasmere, where we had dinner a couple of days ago. Neil liked the Meditoranian pie we had soooo much he made a picture so we can make it when we get home.

16 August 2007

Lakes District 1

Early night! fat lot of good that did. I woke up about 2am, cos my back was killing me. I soon discovered I couldn't get back to sleep cos:
  1. a cow was mooing, a lot
  2. the bed had a huge lump that meant I felt like I was about to roll out of it
  3. a clock was ticking
After an hour or so of not sleeping I realised Neil was also not sleeping. More not sleeping and light dozing followed when at around 6am this noise started, at the time we had no idea what it was, but it was gently vibrating the whole house. That was the final straw. We ate breakfast @ around 8, had an uncomfortable conversation with the land lady, and left, never to return again and having wasted £15 in 10% booking fee.
We drove back to Ambleside and booked 2 nights accom in town there (accom seems to be way more expensive in England than Scotland) then went to a sheep dog and hound show. Whilst walking there we saw a Scottie!!! Yay! He was a fairly gray boy, but very friendly and quiet similar in size to Clara (ie: lean) His human came and spoke to us. She was nice. She also said she had taken him to Edinburgh recently where he had caused quite a storm as they hardly see them there (in Scotland)!! Sounds like the Scottie Club here have a lot of work to do too.
The dog show was cool. We watched some beagles being shown, with all the handlers in white lab coats with bowlers hats on (not sure why) and some hounds (I don't think I've seen them at home) then lots of sheep dog trials. Most of the dogs were very competent and the sheep rounding up, but there was one dog, who wasn't very obedient to start with, who had an interesting discussion with one of the sheep. The sheep won! The commentators comments on the whole thing were almost as funny as the sheep standing there, stamping its paws and head butting the dog.
Back in town again, Neil got a second pair of shows and we had a rest for the afternoon. Eventually we strolled down the road to a pub for dinner. We both slept like rocks!!

15 August 2007

to the Lakes District

Neil was somewhat sluggish this morning as, not only did he have a 'bit' of a hangover but also a really sore trough and a head cold (this means he will be really deaf for at least the next few days).
We got going, after a bit of net time and booking our rail travel for later in the month, and drove (via the motorway cos it was easier) to Keswick in the middle of the Lakes District. We eventually found the i place and booked 4 nights at what I hope will be a quiet out of the way place for Neil to sleep and get better. Then we wandered down the road to the Cumberland Pencil factory which is where they make Dewernt Pencils. Their museum was actually quite good with informative signs etc. I had to buy a few pencils.
from there we went via our accom to Ambleside to wander the streets for a while before coming back via a tiny town, with an organic restaurant where we had a light dinner which was great and then heading back to our accom for an early night.

14 August 2007

Hadrian's wall

Visits to the local Hadrian's Wall sites was the plan for today. One well executed almost perfectly!
First stop was the Roman Army Museum, which had many interesting artifacts and a cool film about the wall. Then Houseteads Fort, which was huge and had sheep and people all over it. Here we found out about the English equivalent of the Historic Scotland passes we had. We have decided to pass on it this time as there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of sites in the areas we are planning to visit.
Last one on the list for today was Vindolanda. This site is currently still being excavated and had dudes there digging, even today when the weather was fairly filthy. Cos of the anaerobic soil conditions this site has found heaps of leather and wooden artifacts.
Tonight the pub is having a quiz which we are thinking of sitting in on.
Tomorrow is off to an i place to try and implement our plan.

...... Time Passes ......

We went to the quiz and it was ace. Or as the quiz master put it, it was rubbish. They used to have 'professional' quiz people come and try and win their 10 pound prize, so they changed it so that 2nd prize is better than first and the quiz master can take points off people when ever he likes for what ever reason he likes (ie 'I don't like your team name, you loose all your points', or 'your winning, loose all your points!')
It was a really fun quiz, we didn't win, we did get picked on for being Australian and we both drank too much. A great night all round!

13 August 2007


Another, and hopefully one of our last, big driving days. It is also the day we left Scotland. I’m a bit sad about that as it is been great here. Neil went to get the car this morning, which took ages because of some very stoopied people in the queue before him. On the plus side this car (a Fiat) has a big engine than the last one, which is good for passing people. We only got a bit lost trying to get out of Edinburgh. The first stop was Biggar, where I was hoping to find a mill shop of some really nice stuff I’d seen on the Royal Mile but I’d thought was a bit expensive. We found the mill but unfortunately it was a proper mill with no shop . The men didn't want sell as anything bugger it!
Back on the motorway, for ages, and down to Gretna. This was disappointing, along similar lines to Loch Ness. I did get a scottie t-shirt and take a few tacky for photos. They were nothing compared to the tacky photos the people getting married there can get (yuck)
We made a quick stop at the real Gretna and the I place and booked accom in the middle of the best preserved bit of the Hadrian’s Wall area, in a really friendly pup. The lady in the I place was fantastic she made the funniest map for us to follow to our accommodation.
When we arrived we had dinner which was reasonable and huge. So even though I was completely buggered we had to go for a walk before bed
During dinner we concocted our plan for the two weeks, between now and bath, which will hopefully mean we can be more restful and will be less tired.

12 August 2007

Last day in Edinburgh

Again we have done a fair amount of mooching today. It's been nice just to go slow. When we did get going, the first port of call was the supermarket to replenish the snack supply, then an internet cafe out here where Jack’s lives, in the hope of finding one that isn’t at gold plated prices. It worked and the finally been able to upload what we’ve done over the last few weeks (and check the banking and all sorts of boring things)
The next stop was a tourist shops galore. As this was our last day to go to the Royal Mile we’ve got to buy all the things we’ve been looking at for the last ages. I got t-shirts for me and the dogs, a big Scotland cross rugby top and a highland coo bag. Neil got every piece of McRae tartan he could find for Scott.
Then we nipped up to Edinburgh Castle for a look around. Yay Scottish heritage pass!! No £11 entry fee ! It was fairly busy but the light rain probably helped keep the crowds at bay.
We staggered home exhausted again (I think it’s the hard pavements). Jack had also been cursing the Mile for presents as she is having a visit back home to OZ for around 7 weeks.
Anyway we all went down to another very nice drinking establishment for a late dinner. Neil had a steak that went a long way to restoring his faith in food, even if it did cost over £10.

11 August 2007


Today we slothed around the house. I tried to get the paperwork (including these short diatribes) in order. Then around lunch time we mooched into town so we could be well and truly sure we’d be at Mary King’s close in time for our tour.
unfortunately you couldn’t take pictures of the underground bit, but it was a good thing to see anyway.
After that we hot footed it down to the Spiegel tent to see Bob Downe. This was a great show. It made me think Australian audiences might be a bit crapped a unresponsive
Jack had organized for us (and her friend Kym, a nice girl from New Zealand) some tickets to some stand-up. Jack’s hated it. We thought it was quite funny. The room was awful, about 400°C
Anyway, a few beers and a reasonable evening were had by all.

10 August 2007


Today we had a restful morning that had sleeping, photos, typing, and tidying. We rushed into town to go on a vaults tour with Jack’s but we were too late and missed it thankfully we could organize to go later in day instead. We had also booked ourselves into the Mary King’s close tour for the next day.
The vaults to it ended up being very interesting; we even had a collapsing youth in our group, poor bloke. We toured around the Mile a bit more and headed home for dinner, which Jack cooked for us.
Then it was time to journey back into town for the Tattoo!!! YYYYAAAAYYY!!!! The seats with tiny but the view was fantastic. As we were in east stand (ie: the one opposite the castle entrance) most of the bands came in from underneath us, which was great. You could feel that drums under your feet as they came in. All the sound was unbalanced to prove we were really there. Scotts sing way More than Australian’s so when there was a song people knew, you could hear the singing, just quietly, from the whole audience. Especially from ‘God Save the Queen’ at the end.
It was also odd to look across the audience see all the little glowie screens from all the cameras.
Jack took over 200 photos and Neil took over 100. My camera didn’t like the half light, so I can take that many at all. It was a great performance and we had a great time.

09 August 2007


We jumped up fairly early today and went back down the road to Callander in the hope of seeing a working woollen mill. No such luck, but we did get a nice rug (McKenzie tartan).
After our trip to Doune Castle (where Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed), we eventually found Inchmahome Abby, which could only be reached by a boat trip, which was fun.
Back into Stirling we went to McDonald's, in a desperate attempt to find fresh food (mmmmm Salad!!!)
Stirling Castle was next on the list. It was really great. We could have easily spent the whole day there. Too many people of course, , but what can you do?
Last on the list before driving back into Edinburgh was another brewery and the National Wallace Monument. This was a great view, but many many stairs and a really huge hill had to be climbed first!
The drive into Edinburgh was awful, I got us off the motorway one exit too early and ended up in traffic for about 30 min.
Eventually we made it to Jack’s unpacked the car and Jack took us into the festival. A pleasant evening and a few beers were had. I also bought a nice little bad that I didn’t need.

08 August 2007

Highland Games

Today we went to the Skye Highland Games on "the Lump" in Portree. We could only stay for the morning and watch the local events, but I really enjoyed it. We saw high jump, hammer throwing, long jump, weight over the bar, running and putting the shot. On the way out of town we went to a jeweller and a wool place. I brought Odin mounted on his eight legged steed Sleipnir. The, once again, we drove, along way, in shitty traffic this time. The country side was lovely.
In the end we were so buggered and the traffic just crapped us off so much we decided to stop at the next place we saw. It was, just by random chance, a brewery pub. The food was really good, and the beer was too (apparently). Neil got more beer t-shirts (he up to 4 now).
Back on the road again, we eventually made it to Stirling.
We wondered the streets in search of dinner and picked a pub, just cos it was cheep. Then saw a notice that they were having live traditional music that night. So we hung around for that, it was great.

07 August 2007


Today was meant to be a washing day. It didn’t happen and I eventually went back to bed.
We did a loop around the north of Skye and looked at some geology. We found, in the middle of no where, a cross stitch lady!! I bought a Scottie cross stitch, what a surprise. That was the high point of a very low day for me. Other stops were Uig for a brewery and pottery, Duntulm castle ruins, Kilt Rock and Chinese for tea, complete with whinging Poms in the back ground.
We also watched the Skye pipe band preform in Portree (Port Rhé) after dinner and had a wonder round the town. As the weather was nice and clear, this was very pleasant.

06 August 2007


Again, unfortunately, today was a lot of km day. It was also an awful weather day. We did go for a walk in the pissing rain, to a cave called Cave of Bones. We stopped at as many of the geological things we could see but I was a little disappointed with the ‘trail’. We couldn’t find any handouts on it and the signs came up so fast we almost always had to do a U turn and go back to them. The weather really got me down. In the end we just drove, a lot. All the way to Skye.

05 August 2007

North west Scotland

Today we had to put a lot of km/miles beneath our wheels, a lot of it on single lane roads with ‘passing places’ almost all of it through extremely spectacular countryside. We crossed the entire north of Scotland, then down a bit of the west coast.
We had planned to go to the Mey Castle which was the queen mothers favourite house, but as we were there at 20 past 9 and it didn’t open til 10.30, we gave it a miss. We did stop at a flagstone quarry are and an ancient church/chapel site, these were both quite nice strolls. At the chapel I discovered that our pom-pom plant, which I was under the impression was native, is in fact from here, as it was growing all over the cliff there.
We stopped in a cool cave with a waterfall inside it.
All the countryside we were driving through was so big and so spectacular. I couldn’t photograph it. Every time I tried, the photos just looked so poxy. The roads were madness! Stoopied tourists and sheep and narrow.
Before we got to our accom (in an ex-manse in the middle of nowhere, really nice though) we looked at a really old castle called Ardvreck (15th century)
We found our home for the night, got a recommendation for dinner, which was great, and headed to a nearby lighthouse to watch the sun set (Ohhhhhh!) we’d never done this before, and before you knew it…. That’s right, we were both bored. The pictures turned out well though!
Wow! It’s 11pm it gets dark so late it’s hard to judge the time, bed for me now!!!

04 August 2007


Today was the day of the tough choice: go to the Mey Highland games or the day bus tour to the Orkney’s. We chose the Orkney’s because we worked out we’d be able to go to the Skye games. Given the hangovers we both had (bloody Scots men) I’m not sure either would have been a good choice. I skipped breakfast in favour of more sleep. Neil had a few rocky moments whilst eating.
The ferry trip was….. interesting. Anyway, we arrived on the Orkney mainland. We got piled on to a bus and started our trip round the island. The driver was a native and interesting to listen to. The sites we saw were great but the bus trip and all the people really did detract from the place for me. We went to Stromness and Kirkwell, the tow main towns on the mainland, A really interesting stone village that was buried under sand for thousands of years, a stone ring from a similar time period and a church built by Italian prisoners of war. The bus driver reckoned you need a fortnight to see the Orkneys properly and I recon he wasn’t exaggerating. We missed a lot.
In Kirkwell we saw some people coming out of the main church there just after they had been married (very pretty, bloke in perfect tartan of course!) we went to a jeweller and got some on sale earrings, (no ring, still got the mankie hair tie)
The boat trip back was fine, then we fell in bed, unconscious.

03 August 2007

Nearly out of petrol!

We stayed last night in Tain and had curry for tea, which was ok. I was very tired. We got up early and we south to Loch Ness TM. My God! Could there be more tacki tourist stuff in one small location? I got a nessie t-shirt. We then went to Urquart castle. Personally it was ruined by the amount of people there. It was unbelievable bad. We went back north through yukkie Inverness and stopped at the Black Isle brewery. How they got a food production licence I don’t know, but Neil recons the beer is good.
The rest of the day was spent driving to John O’Groats. We saw some, what looked like, oil rigs being made or serviced, we also went to a really really cool castle/home called Dunrobin.
We very nearly ran out of petrol, we filled up 43L, we recon it must have been a 45L tank as the light was on for about 30 miles. We made, but it was a tad stressful.
John O’Gorats, what a hole! Dinner at the pub was OK. We go drunk with the Glaswegian journalist and some Germans. Yum, cider.

02 August 2007

not Inverness 2

Today we went to Elgin Cathedral (off our passes), we stopped into Johnson’s Cashmere mill on the way to Spynie Palace, which was were dome Bishops lived, ages ago.
We drove the coast road to Inverness. We wanted to use the web and book some accom. This took 3hrs and we only had 20 min web time (for a £1) what a CROCK. We made a quick stop a Culloden Field (the battle from the ’45 rising of the Highlanders against the English) and then went to the Balnvaran of Clava (ancient rock burial grounds). Loch Ness will have to wait till tomorrow.

01 August 2007

not Inverness

This morning I nearly bought a rain coat. We got some “heather gems” jewellery then ordered Neil’s kilt. This was, of course, a few hundred £ but I’m happy with it, I also ordered a shall-ey thing to go with it. They should arrive at home when we do.
Then we nipped back down the road to Dunkeld. I passed on the randel.co.uk branded scottie dog purse for £40 in favour of finding if they have a shop in London. Neil decided he couldn’t go past a beautiful gold and silver welded together necklace. They had really shiny rings there too.
After a long drive through the moors and other stark but beautiful landscape we arrived in Aviemore, an awful tourist town, were we just missed another bloody steam train. We had a reasonable pie and I did get a biscuit that looks just like Gromit!
Just outside Aviemore was a National Park, where you could take dogs and the camp ground looks just like the Peninsula at Christmas, with a really high mountain called Cairn Gorm. It has a special train (funicular) running up it, that we went for a ride on. We got some photos of the view, whilst being blasted by the really cold wind.
It was at about this time we found out that accom for the night was going to be an issue. We eventually gave up and rang the booking service and found the really nice converted church we a re staying in.
Dinner was one of the best meals we’ve had so far at a really traditional looking pub with a low ceiling and lots of wood work and open fires.
We currently watching he German version of ‘up late’, the only difference is that the chick hosting it is topless.