Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Shetland Wool Week 19: 20 The journey to home

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! 


  1. There is also a farm shop, although not as big as the original one at the M6 Westmorland Services. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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! 
  4. 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.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Shetland Wool Week 19: 19 Last two days in Shetland

Mon and Tues Oct 7-8: Day 22 and 23 

We like to stay a couple of days after wool week to have a bit of a rest and also do some shopping. There are too many other things to do during wool week without worrying about getting wool. I also like to get into the Museum  and if possible the archives. There are some interesting wool related books on the shelves in there. We did not expect to be the only ‘wool weekers’ on the ferry either, and already know of two friends we will meet up with in the lounge. 

Even though it was bright and sunny we noticed that the wind was getting up by the time we arrived back at the campsite on Sunday evening and for the first time this week we parked the van facing  into the wind and gave a thought to those on the boat, wondering how choppy it would be. 

When we woke in the morning it was quite mild again but I could hear the wind, so guessed it wasn’t the best journey back to Aberdeen. For us, it was a superb sunrise. We are very lucky, we enjoy the sunrise here but also at home in Norfolk we see great sunrises and sunsets from our house and having lived in built up areas it is never something we take for granted.

During coffee the wind got stronger and the rain was heavy, so we lingered checking up on the outside world which we were soon to re-enter. We found out that whilst we were away it had been very wet at home, the local town had been flooded. It seemed strange that as we left we wondered how the garden would manage - it was hot and very dry when we left for Shetland! The garden at home needed the rain but we expected to see our ground elder crop, which we try and keep down, waist high! 

We called at Tesco for enough provisions to get us home later in the week and then decided to have lunch in Mareel, they do a very nice hot bacon and cheese croissant! 

I popped over to the Museum to buy more cards to send home to our young grandsons and was surprised it was closed. At least I could programme going back to look at knitwear etc for tomorrow. 

We had never been to Skeld campsite and friends tell us how nice it is so we decided to drive there and have a look. However we  got as far as the turn off to Tingwall and the weather was ‘not good’ in Shetland terms, at home it would have been called ‘evil’ so we opted out and went back to the campsite. 

This was great,  I could have an afternoon and evening making progress on Hazel’s gloves (Hoosiefield) from the annual. I had brought wool with me and I juggled with the colours and came up with a plan. Perhaps I could get them finished before I got home. I was pleased they had Fair Isle fingers, these would be double thickness. It brought back bad memories, I used to have chilblains on my fingers as I had a very long journey to school, involving a bike, walk, train and walk for 7 long years. Pity I didn’t have gloves with double thickness fingers then. 

The beginning of the back of the hand pattern


And my colour selection and working notes 


Another night not to be on the boat I suspect. (We heard later that it was very rough last night!)

Tuesday was our last day and we were keen to make the most of it and not just drift around waiting for the evening ferry. Several of our wool week friends would be on the boat too and it would be a happy time tinged with sadness knowing we would have to rely on social media for keeping in touch until next year. 

It was a relief that there was no noticeable wind as we got up, so fingers crossed for a calm crossing tonight. 

We tidied up and left fairly early and made for Mackenzies for the last bacon bap of the holiday. After this we did a mini tour of Cunningsburgh to search out a ‘new’ birdwatching sites M had been told about. By this time it was dull and wet and no sign of the  red backed shrike. 

Next stop was the Museum to pick up cards for the grandsons. Lunch was available but it was soup, panini or sandwiches and none of these appealed to me that day. Mareel, a short stroll away, was offering Beetroot and Brie tart which was delicious.

I wanted more time in the Museum. I had been in touch during the week with Michael H who had some knitted lace samples on show knitted in 2018 as part of an earlier lace project and I though I could get better images for him. This I did and then decided I hadn’t really looked at the Fair Isle knitting this year so very much enjoyed doing this. 

I love this hat, particularly the shape. It uses natural dyed wool for the colours and dates to c.1870 

I still hadn’t bought the wool I needed from Jamieson’s so it was back to the Quay to park.

As I got there I realised I had not taken a photo of their special wool week window, which is always a joy to see. I hadn’t realised that I had a mention in the window! 

Part of the display

The cone of grey wool that I had ordered nearly 2 weeks ago was not there and I was reassured it would follow me home.(1)

The wool I needed and the overshot weaving that it will form part of, I am thinking will be another simple bag or handbag if I have enough of the 4 yarns involved to make sufficient fabric. I just love this pattern and have made x samples before I got the colour combination to my liking. 

I popped into the first charity shop I came too, just to browse and what a bonus day it was, I found a vintage pattern for a knitted suit, now I need to translate it from hand knitting to machine knitting. 

The afternoon was getting on and we decided to stop in the Bod car park and make tea and cake and make sure everything was put away and we had our bags packed ready for the night  on the ferry. 

Part of the Bod sign

Unusually we were one the first vehicles onto the ferry, squeezed in between 2 large lorries, and by 17.45 I was in the lounge. It was drizzly but calm. 

We decided to eat straight away and were joined by Eve and Angela and then Kate. Eve had carried her nano electric spinner with her so I could see how tiny it was and how it would fit into a bag. I was trying to decide whether to buy a slightly larger, and to me more robust Ashford, or this tiny one. Eve also came up with a suggestion of where I could get 2.75mm dpns, which I had failed to track down anywhere. (2) 

We had a long journey the next day so were in the cabin at 22.00. However, M showed me the top of his foot that had been rubbing on his boots, his whole foot was very swollen and red! Another medical emergency on the ferry. All we could do was go to sleep and hope having the leg up would help, but I went to sleep thinking we would need to visit the hospital in Aberdeen first thing in the morning  as it looked infected to me. 

  1. The card from the postman which greeted me on arriving home said my neighbour had the wool. He had been looking after it since yesterday so the wool beat me home! 
  2. I ordered these as soon as we were back from  https://www.guernseywool.co.uk I am very pleased I now have a set that are longer than my 23cm sock knitting ones, although I have mastered these and shorter ones with my knitting belt. I am still to order an electric spinner.