- Krystal typing -
Saturday the 8th of November
We woke to the nicest breakfast we'd had so far on the trip. A lady in her mid 60s was running this B&B at the back of Stirling Castle where the old stable areas used to be. This lady had been absolutely everywhere around the world. We got talking to her and she had climbed the inca trail and a few other mountains in Peru during the 80s with her husband and two of her kids, a two and five year old! Cannot imagine doing those hikes with kids so young, pretty impressive. We both figured she must have been the biggest hippy alive.
Anyway after breakie we walked up the hill to the castle and managed to time our arrival with the free guided tour which took us around the most important parts of the castle and gave us abit of history which was good because we didn´t really know too much before hand.
After the tour we headed to the Wallace monument, which is pretty much as tower memorial to Willian Wallace. We went up the tower and inside was a small muesum dedicated to mostly Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Was good to read about Wallace and compare the info to Braveheart, was pretty spot on. We got to see Wallace´s sword, which was bigger than me! He must have been abit of a tank! Wandered to the top and had a lovely view over Stirling.
Next we jumed in the car and headed to Falkirk. If you remember from the movie Falkirk was the battle site that Wallace lost when he was betrayed by the Scottish nobels.
We had planned to stay in Edinburgh that night but every hostel was booked because of the New Zealand Vs Scotland rugby match. So we stayed in a little town just on the other side of the river.
Sunday the 9th of November
This morning we drove over the river into Edinburgh. It was a beautiful day, nice blue skies but because of that is was insanely cold! Coldest day of our trip by far. We wandered around town for awhile, rememberance day services were on at 11am which we went too. Also finally got to hear some propper bag pipe music in the streets yay!
We´re both not really big fans of cities but Edinburgh was quite nice, especially how the castle over looked the whole city and could be seen from everywhere.
We headed up the castle and again timed our arrival perfectly with the free guided tour, which came in handy as we probably would not have known what we were looking at! The castle was huge. After out tour we had a little wander and got to check out the Scottish crown jewels. Alot of the interior of the castle was out of bounds as the military still use parts of it today.
We wandered around the city for a couple more hours seeing a few mjore tourist sites and then decided to try and get some Ks under us, and headed to Hadrian´s wall, where we spen the night in a nearby town.
Monday the 10th of November
We woke up, grabbed some tesco breakie (had stayed in a pub that night as the B&Bs were too expensive) and headed towards the lake district while driving along a fair section of Hadrian´s wall.
We had blue skies the whole way to the lake district until we actually arrived which was abit of a bummer. We found a gap in the rain and darted out to castlerigg rock circle, which was a group of large rocks placed in a circle, similar to stone hendge but alot more basic, that dated back to 3200 BC. The rock circle was in a valley with the lake dristrict hills raising in the near distance behind it. Looked pretty cool, but in the end I guess it was just a bunch of large rocks!
The lake district has a heap of different hikes that you can do around all different areas of the national park. We decided we´d check out the Buttermere area, as out guide book had given it a good wrap. Took us a little over an hour to drive out to Buttermere lake, but the drive was amazing. It was raining a fair bit by this time (hailing also) and blowing a gale. But I think this made the landscape alot nicer, we saw tiny little waterfalls everywhere running down from the moutains/hills while driving down 25% grades. We made it to the lake to do a 2 hour walk around it but decided we didn´t want to end up like drowned rats and gave it a miss. We drove along a valley back to our B&B stopping off to brave the weather and check out a waterfall that was pumping down the hilll.
We got back into town and sorted out a few things that we had been meaning to do, closing bank accounts and that sort of stuff before heading out for a few drinks before dinner. When it gets dark at 4pm everyday there´s not much else to do besides go to a pub and drink! Had a nice put dinner and called it a night.
Tuesday the 11th of November
Woke up to some pretty ordinary weather, worst then the day before, so us doing a hike was just not going to happen. We wanted to make our way over to York today, and since the weather was so poo we decided to make our way out of the national park by driving along smaller roads, rather than the main highway running through the guts of it. Atleast we got to see a little bit more this way. So much rain, if only the could send a little of it back home!
On our way to York Matt wanted to check out a waterfall, we darted across B roads to find it, but once we got there the weather was still not that great and we had to do a 1km walk to reach it, which was not going to happen! So we continued on our way to York and may have accidently ended up on some C roads which wéren´t labeled on our map! Turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we wanded up in a little tiny town called Dent, that had only one road which curved in between really old buildings only wide enough for 1 car to pass at a time. Dent had a little tea room which we stopped off at for some Devonshire tea! what would a trip around the UK be without some devonshire tea!
We made it to York just as it was getting dark. Found a B&B and headed into the main part of town within the city walls, which was a pedistrain part of town, was quite cool to wander down all the old coble stone lanes. We were both impressed with the city. We wandered around for a fair while trying to find a pub that had Yorkshire puddings, really wanted to eat a Yorkshire pudding in York. Found a pub but they had ran out damn it! Not to worry the food was awesome.
Wednesday the 12th of November
Walked into the main bit of York where we were the night before and checked out the city in day light. Decided to walk along the top of the city walls, which are the oldest city was that still fully remain in England, which date back to 12th to 14th century.
We took our time walking around, took us about an hour and a half, stopped off on the way at the remains of york castle, which is now turned into a musuem. I really enjoyed walking around the walls seeing the city, was really relaxing and we actually had a decent day weather wise.
After another hour or so we hit the road again this time heading for Liverpool to catch up with Jac Pernar, one of Matt´s friends from high school who has been living there. She´d planned to give us a little tour of the city, but it was dark by the time we arrived and we were pretty over looking at sites, so she took us straight to the pub where we stayed for the next 5 hours. Stayed at her place that nice. Was good to catch up with a familar face.
Thursday the 13th of November
We woke a little rough, and felt abit guitly about not seeing any of Liverpool the night before. So Jac donned the tour guide hat and took us around town to the main sites. We saw the pub where the Beetles first started to get recognised, the main part of town, and also Albert Dock. We headed back to her flat with a quick stop off at Penny Lane. We said our goodbyes to Jac and thanked her for putting us up for the night.
We headed straight to Northern Wales, which isn´t that far from Liverpool. Stopped off at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the biggest aqueduct in Britain. We wouldn´t normally visit a site like this but the photo in a guide book looked awesome, as the really long canal boats (the ones you see in Camden) can travel along the aqueduct to cross over the 60m low valley. A walking path runs along side the water, so we walked across it and saw a boat crossing at the same time. Had really nice views either side aswell. By this time it was getting fairly dark so we jumped back in the car in search of a B&B heading north.
Friday the 14th of November
We had stayed in a hiking town within a national park the night before, the town had a waterfall so when went and checked that out first thing before jumping in our car for a nice drive southward. We stopped off a slate mining town called Ffestingiog we had a quick wander around there before heading further south to a town just north of Machynlleth, where a little sustainble village has been set up. 90% of the village´s energy comes from renewable sources and we thought it would be cool to go check it out. The town, known as CAT (centre for alternative technology) was set up really well, we walked around checking out the village seeing all different renewable construction techniques and general info about sustainable development.
After that we went to check out another waterfall, this time Britain´s biggest, which was 73m high. We´d had a fair bit of rain in the last couple of days (ever since we arrived back in england!) so the waterfall was powering down which was quite cool.
Again it was starting to get dark, and Matt decided why not gun it back to Ian and Debbie´s place in London and save the cash on a B&B. So that´s exactly what we did. Was such a relief when we finally arrived, we´ll be glad to say goodbye to the car for a couple of days!