The liquorice allsorts are back! – 4th June, 2023
Our 5th trip to Scotland and the allsorts are lining up on the dashboard again.
This trip is a cathartic journey for both Janette and me. The second half of 2023 was ‘anus horribilus’ for both of us. I won’t go into too many details, but we lost a daughter to cancer in August, and I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma in October resulting in partial amputation of my left thumb. We had various trips planned for this year but ended up cancelling a trip to France due to my diagnosis. I just was not prepared to pay an exorbitant insurance fee for 14 days abroad on the back of what has happened to me. Still, their loss as we are now on another Scotland trip and we’ll defer France until after my treatment has finished (February 2024 – fingers crossed). Oh, and by the way, I am feeling marvellous.
Day 1 – Longtown, Carlisle
Traveling from home we got off (for us) to an early start before 9:00am, miraculous! Never heard of before when going away in Hilma. Retirement means we have more ‘preparation’ time, ha, there’s always a last minute, “oh I forgot the thingammyjig from upstairs, I won’t be a minute” – 20 mins later and we are off. Setting off is always an exciting time, wondering what adventures are heading our way, for our last few trips we never really plan a precise itinerary only where we are heading. Once we reach our destination(s), we then look at what is around and invariably decide what will be between walking, cycling, birdwatching, train travels or simply a game or two in Hilma (all weather dependent). I digress, our first day on a long trip is usually getting to a partway point and so it is today. A CL site (Caravan and Motorhome Club small site that only allows 5 vans) on the edge of Carlisle is our rest point for the night.
Day 2 – Carlisle to North Berwick – 5th June, 2023
We generally regard this as our true first day of the holiday and look to make it as interesting as possible whilst still travelling to our first 4 day stopover. I decide that the best way is to travel to North Berwick was to motor mostly on B roads, which in Scotland can sometimes mean an interesting time when confronted with the odd timber lorry!
I was trying to get to grips with our new Avtex Garmin Camper Satnav system. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the right way of using it yet to Janette’s satisfaction – must try harder and not do the ‘man’ thing and think I can use it without reading the manual. Still we had some great views and came across Whitrope Heritage Centre, a museum run by the Waverley Route Heritage Association celebrating the previous train line from Edinburgh to Carlisle. Things don’t look too pristine, but their website indicates open days for the summer of 2023.
The rest of our journey was punctuated with stunning scenery we have come to expect in Scotland, this is an area we have not visited before so it’s all new to us. The journey was also punctuated with the occasional ‘u turn’ due to my lack of Satnav programming skills (yet to be acquired on this new system).
After arriving at Yellowcraig a short walk along the beach with the binoculars we felt rejuvenated after our somewhat twisty journey, steak and salad with red wine followed and so the day ends with me signing off.
Day 3 – Yellowcraig – 6th June, 2023
Today we walked along the John Muir way from the Yellowcraig Caravan site into North Berwick. Janette was hankering after a Lobster for lunch (expensive tastes!), she had done her research and identified the ‘Lobster Shack’ on the harbour was the place to go. Before that we had to negotiate the route too town along the dunes, roads and golf club links. Golf is big business here; Americans could be heard on the greens as we passed by and many of them had caddies. Perhaps they need help on the Scottish links courses which are famous for hosting our British Open Championship and are a far cry from many of the manicured US courses seen on our television screens.
Onward we go slavering at the chops for our Lobster. North Berwick is a lovely harbour town with a fantastic beach meaning it is a tourist trap, and why not, all the old industries are a thing of the past. The lobster shack did not disappoint, in addition to half a lobster we had dressed crab, salad and a portion of chips and sat on the harbour in a make do clear tent with tables. Evidence below.
A fantastic walk back along the beach all the way to the caravan site and after that lunch it was toast for supper!