An early start and now we are home.Would you believe this is the nicest day yet ! Sun all the way. Oh well!
Wahey the sky is blue, chance to wear my shorts. Today we are heading north across the border. By the time we get to the car to start our journey it’s raining again. We have to do the touristy bit so we drive to Gretna Green. It is of course an over-commercialised rip off
By now my little legs are freezing and I am beginning to regret putting on shorts this morning. Luckily there is an Outlet Village nearby. (Why do they call them villages? They are shopping centres!) I buy a pair of jeans which I change into before we continue our journey. We are heading towards New Galloway – where I have arranged to meet a fellow astrologer/mailing list friend/forum member. We stop at Dumfries for a quick bite to eat and then continue on our way to New Galloway.
We find our way to ValD’s house, for those of you who don’t know, Val edits the AA’s Transit magazine.. The sun has come out to give us as warm a welcome as Val and her partner.
Val lives in a beautiful area of the countryside, bordering Galloway forest There is even an old castle next door! If I remember rightly Val said it was middle ages. It was turned into a hotel in Victorian times, now it’s fallen into disrepair. We walk the spiral path to admire it.
We are then taken on a tour to see some of the spectular countryside where Val lives. We are driven around some lochs and through Galloway forest, by Val’s ex-rally driver partner who drove as if he was still rallying. We stop at Otter Pool and take a few snaps, then on to a piece of artwork in the forest. It’s a labyrinth and of course we have to walk it.
Someone stole the sun again – but it’s dry so we head off to do our 5 mile Eden valley walk. If the walk was 5 miles I’m an Irishman! More like 7 miles - not helped when we got lost at one point and had 2 head off towards the nearest village to get our bearings. But back to the walk – having changed into our walking boots we begin out walk, first taking the obligatory cow picture.
We walk alongside the river Eden for a while, the scenery is beautiful.
Wild life and wild flowers are in abundance.
We pass an old Gypsum mine to our right and a railway viaduct to our left.
We continue walking until we reach Lacy's caves These were carved out of the local sandstone by the landowner in the days when it was fashionable to have a romantic folly in the grounds.
We continue on our way, more river scenery, then through a field full of cows – eek! They are looking at me! It’s Ok they are ignoring me. We follow our map and the route markers – and soon after the markers disappear.
After a lengthy detour we are back on track, through St Michaels churchyard, across a field or two and finally we reach Long Meg and her daughters. This is the largest known stone circle in the UK. Meg aligns with sunset at the winter solstice – for a Capricorn moon, it seems fitting to stay a while and pay our respects to Meg and her daughters.
Finally, three hours later and we return to the car. In the village we find a flour mill. It has tea rooms serving organic vegetarian food. This is the nicest food we have eaten all week. I have homemade courgette flan, served with a mixture of home made salads and home baked breads.
After the feast we head of to Penrith – not much here really, we wander awhile and head back to Carlisle. It’s late afternoon and the sun is finally shining. Another visit to the Lush shop, a wander around, visit a couple of music stores have coffee and return to our hotel. By now we are knackered so it’s the usual evening routine – food, wine, lush, music and reading.
Last night we had planned a 5 mile walk along the Eden valley - but it's pissing down so we need a change of plan. After a shower and coffee we drive to Keswick. To anyone used to living in the flatlands of Suffolk the scenery seems pretty dramatic.
At Keswick we visit 'A Puzzling Place' This is an exhibition of optical illusions. I shook hands with myself, rubbed Mr A out of existence, shrank and grew and performed the remarkable gymnastic feat of standing at a 30 degree angle. When I had finished laughing, we got back in the car and headed off to Windermere.
By now it had stopped raining but it was cloudy and very humid. Made a mistake here in that we parked 1 and a half miles from the lake - but we had already paid for parking - so off we set for another walk. When we reached the lake we found we had probably picked the most over-commercialized part of the lake to visit - so we took a few photos and headed back to the car.
From here we headed to Kendal - Kendal still has some independent shops. I manage to buy a fantastic tunic, hand embroidered in Turkey. It’s black with white stitching - I may wear it at the AA's posh conference dinner this year. We wander around Kendal, through the old and New Shambles, in and out of shops, spending money ;-) Eventually we head back to our hotel, it's late afternoon and finally the sun comes out but I am now too knackered to do that five mile walk. So another meal and drink in the pub, then more Lush, music and reading
After an uneventful journey we arrived at our hotel just after 2:00pm. The hotel room is decorated in serene lilacs with dark blue accent colours. It has a massive 6' bed. After a refreshing cup of coffee we decided to walk the one and a half miles into Carlisle. Oh what a surprise, it is a carbon copy city - we could be anywhere in the UK! We have a wander - find a Lush shop and stock up ;-) Go into WH Smith and buy myself a book to read, go into TKMaxx where I reluctantly put the Moschino jacket back on the rail - really can't justify spending £60 on it.
Walk back to our hotel - have dinner and a drink in the bar. Back to our room where I have a purple Lush bath, and spend the rest of the evening reading and listening to music.