A Travellerspoint blog

Hadrian's Wall


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On the morning of the 30th we left Fort William for Carlisle via Glasgow on the train. From Carlisle we took a bus to a small village called Greenhead, which is located near Hadrian's Wall. We checked into our accommodation, a bunk barn part of Holmhead Guest House, just outside of the village, surrounded by pastures for cows and sheep. Nearby was the ruins of a castle from the 12th century called Thirwall Castle, really just a small keep, which was built with stones from Hadrian's Wall. We had the barn to ourselves save for a resident cat called Figit who slept on Jade's slepping barn that night, which happened to be the coldest night we had endured in Britain - the first time Chris had been really cold in years. The next morning after breakfast at the Greenhead Inn, which is a great pub with a really nice owner, we began our 20km hike along Hadrian's Wall, which being a defensive barrier was built on the highest ground in the region, meaning that the walk consisted of going up and down steep hills for almost the entire time. The Wall was enjoyable (even with our packs), the views were great, and there were many ruins along the way including original sections of the Roman wall, milecastles, turrets, and a couple of average museums. We also came across two old forts, Housteads being by far the one with the largest remains including well preserved latrines. After about seven hours of hiking, we arrived at our accommodation the Old Repeater station, with was a bit noisy and had the smallest room we've ever slept in, but we managed to get a decent night's sleep. The morning of the 1st of September we took a ferry/cruise ship called the King of Scandanavia from Newcastle to Amsterdam, thus ending our trip in Britain.

Posted by CJTaylor 04:59 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

Fort William


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We had an amazing train journey through the southern and western highlands of Scotland to Fort Williams. Our B&B for 2 nights was the Rhu Mhor Guest House, which was well priced and had a lot of charm, owned by a proud Scottish family and run by a mother and son team. The breakfast was hearty with a good vegetarian option, and was served by the owner who wore his traditional tartan kilt. We had a day trip to Mallaig on the steam train 'The Jacobite', which is said to be one of the best train journey's in the world. It was also made famous by the via-duct in the first Harry Potter movie. We went for a walk in Mallaig around the port and found a path leading into the hills where we came upon fields of wildflowers and waterfalls. Whilst we were on the train back, we saw the shaggy-haired highland cattle. Back in Fort William, we walked to the base of Ben Nevis, which is the highest mountain peak in Scotland and popular with hikers. Cuisine that we recommend is flapjacks and tablet! On the train journey out of Fort William we saw wild roe deear with huge antlers and golden pelts.

Posted by CJTaylor 04:51 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Edinburgh


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We arrived in Edinburgh, which is quite busy at the moment becaue of the Fringe and International Festivals. We dropped our bags off at Heriot-Watt University (where we stayed for 2 nights) and then went to the King's Theatre to see a play called 'Caledonia'. It was an entertaining production, set in the late 1600's about a colony Scotland tried to settle in South America that failed. The next day we went to Edinburgh Castle and spent a couple of hours there. We saw the Stone of Destiny (special stone sat upon by the kings of Scotland), the Scottish Crown Jewels, a 900 year old chapel, Mary Queen of Scot's birthing room, a war museum, and great views of the city. Later that afternoon, we checked out some live street performances and attended the Royal Edinburgh Miitary Tattoo. It has been sold out for the past 12 years, so we were glad we got our tickets months in advance! We had good seats very close to the entrance to the castle.

Posted by CJTaylor 04:44 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

Liverpool


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After several decades of depression, the city of Liverpool has revived and now looks quite prosperous. We arrived late in the afternoon, and after checking into the Holiday Inn next to Lime Street train station, we headed to Albert Dock. The dock was once a major port and ship-building yard which has recently been re-built into a major tourist precinct consisting of a number of museum including the Beatles museum, the Maritime museum and the Slavery museum. On the first night we went out and had a cheap dinner at a pub then retreated from the cold into our room. The next morning we returned to Albert museum and visited the Slavery museum which was well done and had some emotion provoking exhibits. At midday we boarded the bus for the Magical Mystery tour, which is of course a Beatles tour, and went to several sites related to their Beatles during their lives in Liverpool. These included their childhood homes, Penny lane, Strawberry fields and venues they played at in their early career. The tour talked about the lives but could have gone into more detail. After the tour we returned to Albert Dock to visit the Maritime museum which was quite large and took us the rest of the afternoon to explore.

Posted by CJTaylor 01:44 Comments (2)

Oxford


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We were very lucky to be able to stay at Exeter College, which is one of the colleges that is part of the University of Oxford. The university doesn't actually have a campus, but has 32 college and numerous faculty buildings spread out across the city. Exeter College was founded in 1314 and is the fourth oldest college in Oxford. The rooms had a lot of character, with furniture from the 1950's and 1960's, with beautiful views from the window of courtyards and amazing buildings. We were able to explore around the college and go inside the mid-19th centrury chapel, the early 17th century dining hall, and Fellow's Garden. Past pupils have included J.R.R. Tolkien and Richard Burton. The best aspect of staying there was the absolute silence, which was very peaceful. We were surprised that we were only part of a handful of visitors in the college that during the semester houses a couple of hundred students. At breakfast, which was held in the Rector's lodgings, we sat with only 2 other guests. Whilst in Oxford, we did a walking tour and had a good meal at the Nosebag restaurant.

Posted by CJTaylor 01:39 Comments (1)

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