Ventured further south east (over the beautiful Humber Bridge) through the area that my English line came from and down into Chatteris where John’s Kendrick family came from. Found a nice B&B in the middle of town and decided to stay the night. Wandered around the town – very pretty. The church in the middle of town was built in 1320 on the site of the original church which had been built in 980. We had dinner in Cross Keys Hotel (built about 1540). No Internet.

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Visited Ely – saw Oliver Cromwell’s house and although I had decided not to visit anymore churches or castles, I went into the cathedral. It was beautiful and while I am astounded by the dedication and workmanship involved, I can’t help wondering how many parishioners died of starvation and poverty related disease while the money was being poured into its construction. Must be my Presbyterian background.
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We then journeyed onto Huntingdon walked around the old part of the town and then drove north. Stayed in Worsop. No internet. I didn’t realise I had developed an internet dependency until this trip. Am really looking forward to having internet whenever I want again.
Back in Yorkshire. We visited Rastrick – Brighouse and Elland (John’s Gooder line came from here). Spent time roaming around the farm area around here (very narrow, scary lanes) and came back to Brighouse to spend the night.

Farmland near Rastick

Farmland near Rastick

Nice Italian restaurant attached to the hotel and INTERNET. Manchester tomorrow and we fly out on Monday – two nights in Kuala Lumpur on the way home.

The canal next to our hotel in Rastrick Brighouse.

The canal next to our hotel in Rastrick Brighouse.

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Mithras Temple - Hadrian's  Wall

Mithras Temple – Hadrian’s Wall

We travelled down through Northumberland National Park are now officially in England. Visited Hadrian’s Wall and the Temple of Mithras, but spent most of the day driving. We spent the night in Thirsk. The place was next to the house that James Wight, vet and author of the James Heriot books lived and worked – unexpected added bonus.
After spending so much of the previous day driving we decided to have a day of walking so we went to York. Left the car in a park and ride (why don’t we these in NZ) and headed into the old part of the city. What a lovely place. We had a very pleasant time wandering around. The highlight was the Yorvik Centre. Amazing. When we had had enough we picked the car up and headed a little south east and are now staying at a B&B in Kexby. Maximum exercise and minimum travel = perfect day.
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Visited Culloden this morning. What a bleak windswept site. An absolute tragedy occurred there and you can feel it in the atmosphere – we must stop visiting sad places. Stopped for lunch at Pitlochry but lo and behold there was, would you believe it, a distillery and John discovered his happy place. Lunch was forgotten as we took a tour of Edradour, Scotland’s smallest whisky distillery. There was a lone piper at the gate to pipe visitors in and we were taken on a tour and sampling session. We left with a bottle of cream whisky (a Scottish version of Baileys) and happy smiles.
We are staying in a farm stay between Carluke and Peebles and John has found another happy place – nothing like a whiff of eau de silage to make a farmer feel at home. This will probably be our last night in Scotland. I don’t know where we will wash up tomorrow. We are just going to head south and east and see where we end up.

Culloden

Culloden


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On our way to Braemar, we went through an area called Glenisla, and there was a new school there called Isla. Had to stop to take a photo. We stopped in Braemar for lunch and were quietly enjoying our scone and jam when a pipe band marched past playing A Scottish Soldier. I guess it was to make sure we realised we were heading up into the highlands. It was absolutely brilliant. Got chatting to the couple at the next table and discovered they were from Waimate. We had a tour of the castle while we were there before heading through the Cairngorm Mountains. It is very majestic terrain but I could well imagine how inhospitable it would be in winter – 26 people died there last winter. We spent last night in Carrbridge. No Internet but John got to play 9 holes on the golf course. We had lovely dinner at the pub next door and were served by a waitress from Napier, and entertained by a group of guys out on a stag night.
Drove around Loch Ness today, visited the exhibition centre which was very good. Lovely scenery. Quite a cool day -we’ve had to put away the sun hats and dig out our jackets. A bit of a shock going from mid to high twenties back to the teens, but we will get over it. Spent the night on the Black Isle. Hope to get somewhere with Internet today.

Isla School

Isla School


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image old bridge at Glenmoriston

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Andrew and Claire took us to the Falkirk Wheel this morning. This is an amazing invention that has taken the place of nine locks. It connects the Firth and Clyde Canals with the Union Canal. As the huge wheel turns it lifts the boats up 35 metres on one side while it lowers boats wanting to come down on the other. We took a ride on one of the boats. It took 4 minutes to get up to the top. Once we reached there we were taken on a trip along the Union Canal before going back to the wheel and lowered again.
John and I then headed north, taking a slight detour to St Andrews for John. John was overcome by being in the haloed area of golfing history. Me – I was more impressed by the beautiful old buildings in the town.
We are now at Blairgowrie, just above Perth.

The Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel

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View from top nearing the point where we were lowered back to the ground level.

View from top nearing the point where were lowered back to the ground level.


Please note the very Scottish cap.

Please note the very Scottish cap.

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Spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering around West Kilbride – found where my grandfather’s smithy used to be – then travelled across country and met up with my cousin and her husband who took us to see Linlithgow Palace where Mary Queen of Scots was born. We stayed two nights just out of Edinburgh in a farmhouse B&B not far from the camping ground where they were staying.
We had a wonderful day exploring the old part of Edinburgh, I knew the castle was big but had no idea it was so BIG. I loved the feeling of history the city has. It was like stepping back in time. Had a lovely meal by the side of a canal complete with canal boats cruising past last night.

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We had a very smooth crossing from Belfast to Cairnryan, picked up a fairly new Mondeo, and then had a lovely drive up the coast to West Kilbride. We got there late in the afternoon so we found a B&B and decided to spend the night and then explore the town where Mum was born this morning. Had a lovely meal at a seaside restaurant – rather like the Mount in summer – inside or outside dining. Very pleasant. Had a stroll along the beach afterwards to work the meal off.
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Happy 5th birthday Victoria and welcome to Pukeokahu School. Smile nicely at Peita and she will sort out your birthday ice cream.

We stayed in Bangor last night. It is on the coast and obviously geared up for families having their summer holidays as there is a side show area set up in the middle of town – rather like Taupo over New Year. There are some very pretty walks along the beach front – we took a stroll along the waterfront after dinner.
Yesterday’s highlight has definitely got to be the Titanic Experience in Belfast. Absolutely amazing and very moving. There are four levels of interactive displays that left me feeling rather sad at the great loss of life.
This morning we head for Scotland and the first call will be at West Kilbride where Mum was born. Tomorrow we head off to meet up with my cousin and her husband.

Bangor

Bangor

Titanic Exhibition building

Titanic Exhibition building

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Travelled along the coastal route of Northern Ireland. Stopped and spent a couple of hours at the Giants Causeway -very impressive. Puke kids, remind me to tell you the legend about the causeway. We then spent the next four hours driving along the coast (blue sky, blue sea, lots of little fishing villages, very picturesque). We are spending the night in Loughshane, at a B&B owned by Jan Casey-Haywood’s cousin.

Keadue

Keadue


The Giants Causeway

The Giants Causeway

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Dublin was great. Stayed right in the centre, just a stroll from the old part of town – but not Internet. Strolled alongside and crossed over the River Liffey. Collected a brand new Focus from the rental firm – only 11 Kms on the clock.
Have had a relaxed time driving around Ireland. We’ve visited the little village my grandfather came from, Sligo, Donegal. We stayed in a B&B that was full of dolls and china animals. It was very creepy eating breakfast with 48 pairs of eyes watching. In the next room there was the cast of 101 Dalmatians and 2 one metre high china roosters but no Internet AGAIN, sigh.
Tonight we are staying in a farmhouse B&B. it is lovely with amazing views down to the sea. Even better I an get Internet – slow, but it works.

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