Journey to the Lake District

Trip Start Jul 20, 2014
Trip End Aug 05, 2014

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

I forgot to tell you that yesterday while we were getting ready in the morning the fire alarm went off in the hotel.  Larry was in the shower and my hair was wet.  I looked out into the hall and people were evacuating.  I went and told Larry and waited for him to get dressed.  I figured if he was going to die, I would die with him.  By the time Larry got dressed, the alarm stopped.  If we weren't awake before that, we sure were afterwards.

We got up at  7:20 today, bags out at 8:00 and on the bus by 9:00.  We left Edinburgh and headed for the border town of Gretna Green.  If you are a Downton Abbey fan you may remember this as the place that Sybil and Tom were going to elope to.  Gretna Green is in Scotland where you didn't need your parents' permission to marry before age 21.  We arrived about 11:00 and had two hours there.  We looked at the shops, saw a couple who had just gotten married, bagpiper and all, toured the small museum, and went to the Blacksmith Restaurant and Bar where Larry had a Belhaven Best Beer.  I had some water and a granola bar.  We went out to the Courtship Maze which was actually two mazes that ended up on a bridge in the middle.  Larry took one side and I took the other and we met at the bridge.  There was a place where we could each sit down in our maze and kiss through the wall between.  When we got to the end there was a platform and a place to put your head through a wall.  Mirrors made it look like we were in wedding clothes.  It was hot in Gretna Green and we were ready to get back on the coach.

Our next two stops were at Hadrian's Wall built by the Romans as the norther boundary of the Empire.  At the first stop we saw a the remains of a turret.  There were turrets every 1/3 mile, milecastles every mile and forts every 5 miles.  At the first stop the wall was only about 50 yards long.  Most of the wall is no longer there.  The stones have been used to build all kinds of structures over the years.  The wall was 15' high and 6' thick.  Other evidence of the wall was a ditch along the north side and a trench and mound system on the south side.  These were evident as we went along.  Our second stop was a long section of wall that we climbed up on and walked along for a bit. 

Next we went to Lanercost Priory where there were restrooms, food, a priory and a town hall with a craft fair.  Someone shared a beer with Larry, Loweswater Gold from Cumbrian Legendary Ales.  I went on a tour of the priory which was half in ruins and half restored and used as a parish church.  Several of us went into the craft fair for a few minutes but it was soon time to leave.

We had passed wonderful rolling hills and lots of fields bounded by hedges or dry stone fences.  When we left Lanercost we could see the mountains of the Lake District in the distance.  We gradually went up into the mountains through Kirkstone Pass called that for the large rock that fell off the mountain and landed looking like a small kirk (church).  Once over the pass we stopped at the Kirkstone Pass Inn as the road ahead was closed due to a traffic accident:  car + motorcycle = lifeflight.  It was estimated that the wait would be 40 minutes and since the next best way to get to Lake Windemere would take 2 hours, we waited.  It wasn't a bad place to wait.  The view was terrific down into the valley and we could see a little bit of Lake Windemere.  There were lots of picnic tables where we could talk etc.  It was just about 40 minutes and we were on our way.  When we reached the very narrow bit where the accident had taken place, a worker was still cleaning up the spill of fuel.  When he was finished we started again and then a bus approached from the  other way.  The worker directed cars around that bus and then had it back down the hill for about 1/4 of a mile to a place wide enough for us to pass each other.  That all took another 1/2 hour getting us to the hotel 1 1/2 hours late just 15 minutes before we were  supposed to have supper.  We arrived at 6:45 and they pushed supper until 7:45.  That gave us time to get into our room, pick what we wanted for supper, and get our luggage.  I also got my pictures and email downloaded.

When we went down for supper we found they had put our orders at our places.  Larry got a Mad Pig beer at the bar.  It is local beer only served in three hotels.  We sat at a table of 10 with Dan and Maxine, both retired teachers next to us.  Larry had asparagus with poached egg and hollandaise sauce for starters, Mad Pig beer batter halloumi (cheese), lemon and paprika curd, pea emulsion, spiced ketchup, and triple cooked chips for entree and sticky toffee pudding, caramelised banana, sticky toffee sauce and ice cream for dessert.  I had the same starter and dessert but I had chicken breast stuffed with smoked bacon and chive mousse, crispy kale, mini fondant potatoes, and mushroom cream sauce.  It was all delicious.  We got done with supper at 9:30.  I wrote this blog (most of it twice as I lost it somehow).  Then went to bed.
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nancycarter on

Looks like another day of perfect weather! Your photos are stunning. Can't wait to see it next year....

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