Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Shetland Wool Week 19;1. The journey to Shetland part one

16 - 18  Sept: Days 1-2 


We were glad to be starting the journey to Shetland which would take in the 10th Shetland Wool Week. This would be our 5th Wool Week and our 8th trip to Shetland. We left on Monday 16th Sept and planned to cross from Aberdeen on Friday 20th. (1)

I will split the journey into two posts as we stopped to visit the V and A in Dundee and that is worth a post in itself. 

We took the last of our lovely fragrant roses with us. (However on our return some were still in flower and as I write this at the beginning of November we still have lovely roses in the garden.)

We were more organised that we are on some trips and were only going as far as Clumber Park, a lovely campsite in part of Sherwood Forest for the first night. We were surprised when we found a local road near home closed and had to detour around places we did not know. With the hindsight we now have this was just one of the ‘hiccups that happen’ on this trip. Fortunately with M map reading  we reached the A11 and the dual carriageway. The diversion signs were incomplete and this was another example of a human brain and road map triumphing over the SatNav ! After that the journey was uneventful and we arrived at about 16.00 having had a couple of decent breaks. 

I was looking forward even more to Wool Week - if that is possible- due to online conversations re spinning fine lace and seaming methods in Shetland shawls and trying to arrange meet-ups with some experts in each. 

I started re knitting  a sample lace shawl from a previous class with Donna Smith so I could have 4 lace shawl border corners to practise a different joining method. (2) The shawl was an ‘outwards in construction’ and after a trial at home before I left I would attempt to join these corners by knitting on as I knitted each border.  More about this later. 

The following day we had a longer journey over to Hoddam Castle in Dumfries and Galloway. It is another lovely stop, well off the motorway and very spacious. However the journey up the A1 was not pleasant, there were lots of heavy lorries and we again pondered whether going up the A1 was a good choice. The alternative is the A14 and M6. However on balance we put up with this stretch to gain the glorious views from the A66 across from Scotch Corner to Penrith. 

We detoured slightly to stop at Bowes Museum, parking was easy and we knew there was a nice cafe. However, we have been increasingly disappointed in the refreshment offering and the service here recently. Today it reached the lowest point and from being loyal customers we are now looking for an alternative stop. Briefly, I felt ignored as I had to wait for general non food chit chat between 3 behind the counter. There was some inviting cake on the counter and I asked which one was gluten free. (3)The first answer, after a long silence was ‘we don’t know’. The second answer without any checking was ‘there isn’t any’. I clearly looked upset and was then told that I could have a packet of biscuits or bread. My reply included the word ‘boring’ although I remained polite. I won’t go into any more detail but let’s just say we did not receive good customer service which is such a shame given the wonderful views and location. Perhaps someone reading this has had better service. 

I could see this inspiring a naturally dyed jumper or cardigan. part of a large monkey puzzle tree recently felled at Bowes Castle. 

It was a pleasant drive up the A74 to Hoddam Castle and as an added bonus the new 4G WiFi  worked very well there. I was able to add the post to the blog and IG about our Wool Week hats. The downside was that our fold up step for the van broke. We were pretty confident we would get another in Lerwick. We had reached Scotland and had one more stop before reaching Aberdeen. 


  1. For those of you who do not know we travel in a super medium sized motorhome. It just about fits into a space on a supermarket car park but is bigger than our initial VW T5. This one has the luxury  of  top of the range insulation, central heating and a wonderful  bathroom with a great shower plus room for a spinning wheel and other fibre essentials. 
  2. I am a member of the Shetland Fine Lace fb page catering for those of us that like to knit with ‘frog hair’ in what is regarded as Shetland Lace.  It is wonderful to see very fine Shawls and to be able to discuss construction details with the owner. My  attempt at knitting up the corners on an outwards inwards shawl came about as a member posted a shawl she had constructed with knitting on a border onto the next but by working outwards. Social Media has many pluses, not least enabling individuals (who are often geographically isolated) to be inspired by others around the world. 
  3. Following severe food poisoning in 2007 I spent many years being gluten, wheat and dairy free on the advise of consultants and their associated nutritional experts. I was told my digestive system would recover eventually. However no one thought it would take 7 years to virtually recover. I have learnt to live with it now and try and reduce the gluten and lactose in my diet. 


  1. Hi I'm catching up with your blog and im another spinning wheel owner who travels with it in a Moho :-) Shetland lace is on my to do list once I've spun enough fine yarn x

  2. Thanks for the comment, there will be more about spinning coming up and about spinning fine yarn.