Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Shetland Wool Week 18: Day 26-28 : Aberdeen to Norfolk

Thurs 4 - Sat 6 Oct

We got up, on the ferry, early even for us (5.00) so we could have a relaxed breakfast in the lounge and be ready to go down to the van and drive straight off and on our journey. We were at the front of the car deck and thought we would be first or second off the ferry. We had both slept quite well and were anticipating fairly quiet roads initially. We like to stop at Glendoick which has a large garden centre and nice cafe and is just off the A90.  The aim was to be there for opening time at 9.00 without rushing things. 
True to prediction this worked well and we had a good stop, sitting looking over the garden and noticing how much more autumnal the trees were looking compared to the journey up. I then took over driving and our next stop was to be Cairn Lodge at Harpenden. This used to be rather run down but has been taken over by the Westmorland Group that run the independent motorway services at Tebay on the M6 Northbound. This one is having a makeover and is already a huge improvement. The rest of the journey was uneventful, I tried to do the Times crossword while M drove. We were booked into Hoddam Hall, a campsite we have only just discovered. It is a nice site and is very spacious, with a bar serving food  which is OK. However we decided to cook our own  and enjoyed a nice meal of salmon brought down from Shetland. This was the longest leg of the journey. 
A view from the van at Hoddam Hall

It was a very wet night but there was no wind and it was quite mild. I had not slept well, but we were only driving down to Clumber Park so we could afford to take things slowly. The rain stayed with us all the way down the M74. Today we had our second breakfast at Rheghed and then as always looked forward to the journey over the A66, which rarely disappoints with the spectacular and varied views across. However today it was not at its best due to heavy rain, and at times it was decidedly  unpleasant with the spray from the lorries. We  decided to stop at Bowes Museum towards the east end of the A66, and as we left the rain had stopped. Again it was west side of the country wet, east side dry, something we have been very aware of having lived on the wet side in Cheshire for several years and now returned to the drier east side. 
We were glad that it was dry driving down the A1 to Clumber Park. We noticed that Fish and Chips was an option for dinner and we decided that would be good. The day had turned out to be more tiring than anticipated due to the poor weather conditions. We did well with the crossword that day doing all but two clues. 
A view from the van at Clumber Park (actually taken in April! ) 

And so onto the last leg of our journey home. We had covered about 2000 miles in all over the 28 days. We were keen to get off early, it was wet again and not at all pleasant. We had a stop at Cambridge services, a nice croissant and coffee but a silly high price. It did the job though and we then carried on in the rain and got in by 12.00. We emptied the van straight away as even heavier rain was forecast. It had been a wonderful holiday but it was nice to be home. 
As might be  predicted we slept well that night. 
It is now under a year until we hope to undertake the wonderfully memorable experience again. 

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