Showing posts from July, 2010

Caravanning Capers

After a very quick pack up at Edinburgh we headed off for ‘Culloden Caravan Park’ in Inverness today... the land of Loch Ness. It is now day 5 of our Northern Adventure 2010. We fear we may have over-walked Storm yesterday on our little adventure up to the Wallace Monument. She is very wobbly today and has her head on a very strange tilt. Fingers crossed she will at least make the rest of the trip. Poor baby is showing her age today.

Along the route we stopped off at Blair Castle for a little look inside the castle. We were able to take the caravan inside the property grounds, which were adorned with beautiful greenery and forest areas. Once inside we took our time exploring the many rooms (unfortunately we were not permitted to take photos inside most of the castle). We eventually made our way to a massive hall that was adorned with animal heads from many a deer that was hunted during the castle's history. Here the boys had fun dressing up in Scottish costumes. We were al…

Grand Structures of History

This morning’s journey took us to Roslin in Midlothian to visit the historic 'Rosslyn Chapel'. Completed in 1450, the chapel is currently undergoing restorations on the roof. For a fee of £7.50 per adult (children go free) you can enter the chapel and catch a glimpse of some of the outer structure that is not currently covered in scaffolding. The building work was commissioned in 1446 by William St Clair, 3rd Prince of Orkney, to be later dedicated in 1450 as the Collegiate Chapel of St. Matthew.
In 1915 the chapel was cleaned and had a protective coating added. In 1950 the roof was then coated with a layer of asphalt to conserve it. This method was used on many older buildings during this time period. Unfortunately, what the conservationists of the early 1900’s didn’t know was that this would ultimately cause more damage than it would prevent. In 1995 it was discovered that the earlier conservation methods had caused water to become trapped inside the stone, which allowed a de…

‘Just Stirling!’

So much to see… so little time! We all got up nice and early today, ready for another day of adventure around lovely Edinburgh. The first site on our agenda today was the historical ‘Wallace Monument’, a tribute to the heroic (if not mad) warrior who lead Scotland during the ‘Invasion of Stirling Bridge’ only to be hung, drawn and quartered (a process of hanging, stretching and then chopping the body into four pieces before scattering each piece to the North, South, East and West corners of Scotland) a few short years later. Some believe he went mad during his fight for Scotland’s Freedom. “They can take our land… but they’ll never take our freedom” was his very famous war cry.

The monument is quite amazing, standing high on top of the hill directly opposite Stirling Castle. This site is not part of the Historical Scotland group so we had to pay for admission. After paying our £22.00 to enter we headed off on a trek up the hill (yes, more walking). Fortunately for us, there is a car pa…

The Scotland Trip

To see the journey, "AS IT HAPPENS!", you can follow us on a Google Map by going to
View Summer 2010 in a larger map
OR visit the link HERE

‘The Royal City’

Today we headed in to Edinburgh to conquer the hill that leads up to Edinburgh Castle. We parked in an all-day car park that sits at the bottom of the hill. As we exited the car park we were hit with the awesome rear view of the castle. WHOAH! Certainly looked like a hefty climb. Determination on our side, we set off up the hill at a steady pace. It wasn't nearly as difficult as it looks - definitely getting fitter!

We are unsure how we managed to explore the castle in less than 2 hours last year... it took us nearly all day this time. We managed to see everything we missed last time and soak up the Scottish atmosphere. What a place.

After hours of wandering the many dungeons, halls and displays (including the Scottish Honours) we headed for a walk down Hollyrood Road (called the Royal Mile) to see what we could find in the main part of Edinburgh. It is a charismatic mix of gothic and other eras. A mish-mash of eclectic buildings and almost-modern (however rustic looking) newer addi…

‘Hadrian’s Wall ... take #2’

This was most certainly worth a more detailed look! Last time we visited Scotland we were on a very limited time scale so only fleetingly passed through the Hadrian’s Wall area, stopping very quickly in the car park of ‘Housesteads Roman Fort’ on our way home.
This time we made certain we would have plenty of time. We headed out after breakfast, stopping firstly at one of the many viewing locations for Hadrian’s Wall. The boys, once again, loved walking along it’s top, dreaming of a time gone by when both sides would have been surrounded by enemy troops determined to conquer and protect these beautiful lands.
Next we headed back to the Roman Fort. The walk was very hilly but the weather was kind and provided us with plenty of cool air to breathe into our lungs. What a place! Definitely worth every step. We wandered around for ages, taking in the sights (and photographic opportunities... of course) and stretching our legs after yesterday’s journey.
We arrived back to camp after lun…

‘Bonnie Scotland... here we come’

Kerry still had to work today so we weren’t able to set off for Scotland until the afternoon. Matt and the boys finished packing the caravan during the day, even finding time to take Rosslyn for a walk through our lovely local forest. So, when Kerry arrived home with the car there was a quick hitch-up, safety check and departure. We knew we had at least 6 hours of driving today so there was no time to flap about. We were gone by 2:35... Amazing! After a few rest stops we finally arrived at Northumberland at 11:00. This was to be a one-night only stop, plotting purely for allowing time to see Hadrian’s Wall again, so we quickly put the boys and Ros in the van to sleep and Matt and Kerry slept on a mattress in the car. Not a good nights’sleep!


Today we headed into London Heathrow airport to collect Rosslyn (Kerry’s mother). She will be joining us on our summer adventure this year. After getting up at 04:14 and checking the flight details online we discovered the flight was running 45 minutes early. We quickly scrammed out of the house, determined not to leave her feeling stranded as she came out of customs.
Typical airline-style, the flight arrived only 15 minutes early. We arrived very early! So, the wait began. We stood at the arrivals door, holding our placard, wondering if the flight had even landed at all. Finally, after an almost 1 hour wait, the doors arrived to reveal our visitor. After some hugs we headed home, pointing out the sights as we travelled on this familiar road to our current home.
To avoid jetlag setting in we decided to take Rosslyn for a drive around Portsmouth. After a few hours of beach combing, park wandering and stopping the car for building photos (for our visitor) we headed back home …

‘In the Flesh’

This morning we got up nice and early and set off towards Kent. Our long-term friend Nicole and her Mum have arrived in England for a wedding. Determined to catch up while they are here, we wasted no time making plans to meet up. Having driven to Kent so many times to go across to France now it didn’t seem to take the 2 hours we know it did to get there. Once we got into the area Nic and Colleen were staying in we were met with the now-familiar sight of narrow country lanes, surrounded by fruit trees, green grass, bales of hay and an absolute sense of magic. What a gorgeous place!

The sensation of seeing one of our contacts from home was a little overwhelming. There was definitely some tight embracing... and some tears too.

To make the most out of our limited time together we decided to go for a visit to near-by ‘Leeds Castle’. Brilliant choice! The castle is surrounded by the most amazing gardens. You can easily feel quite small as you wander around prehistoric looking plant…