Wed-Fri Oct 9-11: Day 24-26
We had a good crossing and were into breakfast early so were able to get a table next to a window and so could watch the journey into the dock. It is a large boat (by my standards) and the skill of the crew in manoeuvring the boat into just the right place always amazes me.
The good news was that we did not have to start off the morning by going to Aberdeen Hospital, the swelling and redness around the wound on M’s foot had subsided but care would still be needed!
We knew we would be delayed in moving the van as we were tightly packed into the side surrounded by large trailers. In fact it only took 20 minutes to get us a safe path out onto land.
Our first stop was going to be Glendoik Garden Centre, situated just east of Perth where we would take our second breakfast today. We always stop here and I have recommended this place to several who I know will be travelling past. However, it was a disappointing stop food wise. It was 9.02 when we got there, they had just opened so we had made good time. We brushed off the frustration of M choosing a teacake and then having to take off the clingfilm/cellophane to have it toasted. To my mind unneeded waste but perhaps it was a health and safety issue. I choose a bacon bap but this had to be sent back twice as the bacon was cold. The staff reaction made me feel the issue was my fault! I felt that, possibly with success had come a downgrading of the importance of the customer experience. We will stop here again and hope it was ‘just one of those days’ !
We noticed how the plants had changed since we were here on the way to Shetland, it was looking very autumnal from our table.
I thought this was a great Christmas decoration
I drove onto Cairn Lodge, now part of the Westmorland group where the whole experience was great. The food was excellent, the ambience was good as it has been refurbished as part of the take over. The staff were friendly and looked as though they were enjoying the job and steps were being made to reduce waste. We had a good rest and had lunch here. (1)
Unfortunately the weather turned poor with very heavy rain and driving became more difficult as more traffic built up as we got further south. We decided to stop at Annan Water where the motorhome specific parking had plenty of space. (This is not always the case during the summer). We both slept and made our own tea. On looking at the map, we were able to drive on non motorway roads to Hoddom Castle our stop for the night. We got there about 16.00 and we were looking forward to a good rest. The journey tomorrow would be 50 miles shorter.
On Tuesday or first stop was at Rheged, just off the junction of the M6 and A66, another great place for a good bacon bap and early coffee. Usually we would drive into Barnard Castle to the Bowes Museum for coffee. Parking is good and the cafe has great views, and a nice ‘arty’ shop. However, we were disappointed with this on the way up and when we noticed Thorpe Farm Shop on the East lane of the A66 we decided we would try that. This looked a relatively new venture and was very clean. After having a pot of tea we decided to stop for lunch. It was good and this is now duly added to the map.(3)
It was a busy and uneventful run down the A1 to Clumber Park where we would stay the night. (4) We noticed how warm it seemed for October, the van thermometer was showing 20C in the living section.
Time for some knitting of the fair isle gloves.
Friday was our third and final day of travel down to East Anglia and we were hoping to be in by lunchtime. We stopped at North Grantham services which provided all we needed but which was not an uplifting experience. We drove on and were home for lunchtime, even though it was Friday. We had time to make a quick lunch, unpack the van and drive to the surgery where we would make the last of the scheduled flu jab clinics!
It was the end of a wonderful trip. Already in my headmI was working out what my Shetland Wool Week 2020 new knitted garment would be. Each year we say the experience can’t get any better, but it does. We were so lucky to be able to make this trip, we had wonderful scenery, good weather and good birds. The wool week classes, lectures, exhibitions etc will be remembered for ever, and I have enough textile creative ideas to get me through another year. But what makes it so special are the people, the Shetland folk and the wool week friends we meet, and new friends that we make each year. You know who you are and thank for very much.
This post has been rather heavy on Camping Sites and possible stops for refreshments. I make no apology for this. If I have helped one fellow traveller it will have been worth it.
A couple of photos that I could not fit in to other posts:
Aithsvoe : the view from the campsite when we were staying on Mainland
One of the beautiful jumpers in Tulloch’s window Lerwick
and the finished Hoosiefield gloves which I loved the design of, loved knitting, love wearing and love the compliments I get when wearing them!
- There is also a farm shop, although not as big as the original one at the M6 Westmorland Services.
- This is a large and very spacious campsite surrounded by woods near Ecclefechan in Dumfries and Galloway. There are permanent ‘mobile homes’ as well as stops for those of us travelling. We have always found the team are extremely well organised with the facilities spotlessly clean. We do not mind travelling a few miles from the motorway to stay here. There is a bar/cafe which serves meals but do check if this is operating. It was open travelling up but closed on this journey.
- Besides using the sat nav we travel with a Philips Navigator Britain 1 1/2 miles to 1 inch road atlas, finding the scale excellent if roads get closed on us, wherever we are. However, we need to update this as it does not have the new circular Norwich road on it!
- Another site we like, spacious and preferably parking where the back door of the van opens straight into Sherwood Forest. The downside (or upside) is the lack of both mobile phone and WiFi.