A Travellerspoint blog

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Raspberry Daiquaris in Cambridge

Day 2 &3

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What a fantastic couple of days with Lou and Tom. Scrummy meals lots of bubbles. There goes my resolution of not drinking on a school nite! 24 mile bike ride on wed along river and into Cambridge. Stopped for pub lunch (and water!!!!!) Weather was very kind to us and thank goodness Cambridgeshire is flat, we are off to Suffolk coast today. Big thank you to Lou and Tom for their "top of the notch" hospitality.

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Happy days

Norfolk Sufflolk and Lincolnshire


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After bidding farewell to Lou and Tom we realised 10 mins into our journey that we had left our supplies in their freezer! 20 mins later back on road again. Next stop Bury St Edmund's. Really lovely, loads to see, the Abbey Ruins very impressive and a bit spooky. Next farm in Suffolk for overnight stop. We were greeted by a couple of eccentrics in their 90's, 2 goats and a dog! They were very sweet and pointed out all the walks and highlights of the area. We were not too impressed by the advertised "wild swimming" which turned out to be a moat full of fish and weed, but very pretty never the less. Woke up the next morning to a storm. Thunder and lightening and a missing husband! He had gone to loo and got stranded by the torrential rain and was stuck in doorway of loo. Rain cleared up and out came sun, bike ride followed and back to van and off to Southwold.

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The Missing Blog 2015

For Jackie and Albert


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Turns out we missed a blog on our 4th stop in the journey, not too impressive but we got better.
We travelled through Suffolk which is one of the prettiest English counties, to Southwold, home of the famous brewery, Adnams.
We were heading to Norwich to see our really good mates Jackie and Albert, the sort of friends we don't see a lot of but when we do its as if we only saw them yesterday. So we just turned up and squeezed on their drive!
Albert and I like a wander around the old lanes of Norwich, sampling a tincture or two, a couple of our favourite hostelries have shut recently, and end up at the ancient market for pie and mushy peas, my idea of a good day. The ladies did a bit of shopping, Albert and I waited, 20150606_111855.jpg
and Jackie cooked another favourite, road kill stew!
The weather was great so we visited Wells-next-the-Sea with a great beach but I refused to go in the North Sea in June!
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Lincolnshire and beyond


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Lincoln Tues 9/6 stunning city, cathedral and castle on top of steep hill, very good for thighs. Pretty cobbled streets leading up to cathedral selling all sorts vintage clothes, retro gifts and lots of tea shops selling huge tempting cakes to break your journey up or down. Lots of shops in town centre and river running through middle.

Onward to Beverley where we stopped at a farm and rode bikes into town in evening(when shops shut!!) Hmmm. Lots of pubs, felt a bit insecure as lots of smartly dressed drunks around. Must have been a race day.

Nice little site complete with Hettie, Lettie, Betty and Rufus, very friendly chickens who tried to get in van several times.
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11/6 off to Bridlington caught train from CL in Bempton 5.50 for two return bargain! Bridlington very scruffy lots of renovation going on .left on next train back not impressed. Luckily village sweet, pond in centre but pub closed so resorted to Chez Friday, well stocked, well chilled.
Next morning some up to thick mist but 3hrs was enough to wait for it to clear so we tackled the elements and cycled out to RSPB Bempton Cliffs. It was worth the trips to see the Puffins, Kittiwakes, guillemots and Gannets as well as many others. Millions of them squawking and zooming around to find their spot on the cliff face, shame the weather didn't improve but we still had the experience to remember.
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Next morning on to the North Yorkshire Moors. Stopped at Pickering and was amazed at the outfits going around town, real hippy town and full of old cars, it was like we had stepped back in time. Then we discovered there was a 60's festival going on!! We also met someone that jacqui used to work with, smallish world.

We found our farm for the night and the rain came down hard and kept going all night. After a hearty brunch we walked to next village. 3 miles up an down a 1:4 and back. Mad you may say but our village didn't have a pub! Tomorrow onward to Whitby and Robin Hood Bay.

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Onward to Whitby

Day 15


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Before leaving Pickering we decided to have a stroll around the market and who should we bump into but Caroline and Colin McDonnel ex Didcot,on their holidays. Great to catch up on kids news and of course Rugby at great length.

We headed off to Whitby and found our site - they put us in the sheep pen! Luckily no sheep but definitely sheep poo!

A 4 mile cycle ride into Whitby. I have never seen so many fish and chip shops or as many people sat eating them, the smell was divine. Lots of fami!ies enjoying a day out. cycling back was a hard slog , walked most of it and half hour after getting back Clive suggested we cycle to Robin Hood Bay with the promise of a fish n chip tea - how could I refuse. We arrived 10 minutes before closing closely followed by a chap commenting that it couldn't be closed as he came all the way from Scotland for fish n chips and then realised we had come further! We enjoyed every last mouthful looking at sea,our own private beach.
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I think all the people must be down south as warmer, this was confirmed by the McDonnells who had decided to leave yorkshire early in search of warmth. Clive says he was forced into a pub to consume a pint of Theakstons, when in Yorkshire! But I rounded him up to take him back to sheep pen.

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Birds on the Farne Islands


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We stopped off at the Alnwick, pronounced Anwick for those like me who didn't know, and went into the local tourist office which are always a great source of information. Whilst talking to the assistant about boat trips from Seahouses to the Farne Islands, a gentleman called Frank suggested we take a boat called the Golden Gate. The skipper, George, was known to him and his was the best trip with a landing on the Longstone where the lighthouse is that Grace Darling set off from on her epic rescue.
When we arrived at Seahouses the C&C Club site was full, this was lucky because the site we pitched up at was excellent, with not only touring pitches but camping and wigwams. The staff were great and Jacqui also rated the local ice cream, for which there was now space in the tiny freezer.
The next morning we duly went to find the Golden Gate and George was in the office, we even tucked our bikes in his shed. The sailing was at 12:30 and we got on board a sweet boat with about 8 others, a boat had departed minutes before with 30+ on board!
Unfortunately our record with small boats repeated itself with the GG not making 1/2 a mile before catching s piece of rope and needing towing in. Poor George! The rescue skipper offered us spaces on his boat.
We sailed out over flat seas, the best weather all week and were taken to see Grace Darling's lighthouse and some of the other 20 small lumps of rock that make up the Farne Islands. These are mostly inhabited by seals, kittiwakes, razor bills, guillemots and of course, puffins. How they all stayed in the sharp cliffs of the small rocks, let alone bred and raised young, is a marvel.
Best of all we landed on Inner Farne, run by the NT for the local wildlife. The Article Tern was the star here, laying eggs on the paths and grass edges. Each nest, such as it was, was numbered with a painted stone and the parents were heroic in casing off any threat whether it be black headed gull or human. Jacqui, of course, wanted to take one of the fluffy chicks home.

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We spent a very quick hour taking pictures of the terns and hundreds of puffins. And got back to the harbour with no other misfortunes.

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Durham at its best...

Caravan Club site not!


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What am amazing place. Windy streets leading up to a stunning cathedral the streets were littered with beautifully dressed boys and girls in their graduation finery. Floaty dresses in all colours, hair piled high and dinner suits and tails, some with trainers. A huge marquee in front of cathedral hosted the ball and we were lucky enough to witness all the joy and laughter. Yet again Clive chose a time to explore when the shops were shut! It must be a wonderful place to go to university. We found a tiny pub in the market square for Clive to do more research into Northern Beer. Having walked miles, through woods and alongside the river to get to the centre, we decided to catch the bus back. The only part we didn't enjoy was the Caravan Club site, adjacent to A1 was very noisy and lacked character. We did some washing but the machine and tumble dryer were not very efficient so we ended up sleeping in a laundry!!

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Onward to Amble. Scummy Ice Cream on way


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On route stopped at Newbiggin by the Sea. Wide stretch of deserted sandy beach again and a fabulous sculpture of a couple looking out to sea on a platform about 100 yds out,with a smaller copy on land. We had coffee at an Italian family run business since 50s Bertorelli's. Sold Ice cream too so I obviously had one to walk along beach -Scrummy Clive always says he doesn't want one then eats half of mine.Cant see him doing same thing with a pint!!!
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Couldn't find a site in Amble and motorhome too big to park. Ended up on a CCC site at Longhougton. Next day as very windy, caught bus to Alnwick. Day rider bargain price. Just as well as we managed to get on wrong bus and ended up repeating our journey 6 times. Alnmouth lovely, big stretch of deserted beach. Got to Craister 2 hrs later than planned due to mix up with buses but well worth it.
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Castle fabulous and as late had tea in Jolly fisherman. Back on bus!

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St Abb's Head


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The CL at Coldingham just outside St Abb's Head had a wonderful view of the sea and of the priory. This structure in the village, various notices told us, was a small part of what it had been. Built in pink granite it reflected the setting sun. Because for once it had stopped raining.
We stopped for two days because we can't fit everything in stopping every day, life is too hectic.
Next day we had some sun so walked to St Abb's Head, not using the bike because when it is dry it's windy and hilly. We came back via the village beach and on a Sunday evening shared it with 8 others, not quite Bournemouth.
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Edinburgh


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What a lovely city Edinburgh is, not only because of the history and architecture, but it is filled with individual restaurants and coffee shops. There are a couple of chains but the best places to go would be the quirky little establishments in the old town.
We visited the castle, including the Scottish war memorial to WW1. That was very moving, especially when you saw how many men gave their lives from each of the regiments.
Our campsite was on the bank of the Firth of Forth? and there was a excellent cycle path all along there.
We really enjoyed our 3 days there, one of the ones on the 'go back to ' list.
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Graduation day in Dundee


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We arrived in Dundee on 24th June Very nice campsite at Monifieth. Up early the next morning to get into centre of Dundee for Jade's big day. We met the family in Henry's Coffee House in Caird Square. It was so good to see Jordan who looked very smart, I was desperate for a hug after 4 weeks away. We were such proud parents looking at our handsome son and his beautiful girlfriend who looked amazing in her gown .We were greeted by Jade's family, Amber, Mick, Chelsea and Andy and chatted over coffee.

Whilst the ceremony was taking place poor Andy stayed with us and led us around Dundee in search of an inner tube (I punctured my tyre with my hardcore cycling!!!! )

We returned to the square and were introduced to Jade's aunt, uncle & granny and waited for the procession to come out of Cairn Hall. Led by a bagpipe and drum band the Chancellor was followed by all the students in their finery. A spectacular sight.

We had a lovely meal and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and enjoying the day and obviously drinking! Had to say goodbye to Jade and Jordan early as they had to return Jade's gown and prepare for the Uni Ball.

We fell into bed that night glowing with the memories of a wonderful day. A big thank you to Amber, Mick and Jade for including us so warmly in their special day.

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The Black Isle

Dolphins


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The trip from Dundee was through the eastern edge of the Cairngorm's national park and we drove by Aviemore, toward Inverness and then over the impressive bridge to the Black Isle, our second visit; we won't be leaving the Isle by the same method as last time with Ian and Jacqui, a small 2 car ferry!
We were headed for Chanonry Point to not only camp but see the dolphins feeding that we were told about by Cindy & Adam.
Well not only was the site right on the beach on the spit of land going out to the lighthouse at the point, but we saw dolphins on both nights.
The first evening we saw a group of at least 3 dolphins diving for fish with their distinctive dorsal fin and tail. Second night we saw a large dolphin, presumably a male, before rain made us run for it, well cycle.
Both appearances were preceded by the appearance of a single seal who popped up to see what was going on.
We have seen some great wildlife scenes so far and tomorrow we head off toward Orkney, via some wild camping and no 240v for Jacqui's hair dryer.

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Onward to the Northern Coast


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The coastal route gave us terrific views not only of the beaches and cliffs but the highland scenery that stretched down to the brooks and rivers that we had to cross. This was certainly on a par with the Amalfi coast road.
We found the MH parking by the small harbour in Helmsdale and spent the night along with 4 others. One of the things we decided, is that we only eat fish & chips by the sea and the local chippy was recommended by Clarissa Dickson and she wasn't wrong. Look at the picture of a supper for one!!
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We were a bit surprised by the snow gates just outside the town, all this looks lovely OK nthe sun, we wish, but what about in January?
Off to John O'Groats, passing Scottish Heritage signs for every tumble down cottage, wall and castle; I think Europe must have paid for them.
The furthest point from Land's End was a bit disappointing but we took the selfie anyway.
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We stayed near the most northerly church in the UK and walked to Harrow Harbour where we saw the most inquisitive seals as we, just me really, skimmed stones; my second niner of the trip. Another stroll along the geologically uplifted shore to see assemblies of flowers that would have won gold at Chelsea, Jacqui also spotted wild orchids that I would have walked on.
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Off to Orkney in the morning on what looks like quite a small catamaran!

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Orkney


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It still looked like a small catamaran when they asked me to reverse down the ramp, I've never had to reverse onto a ferry before, let alone have bits of wood put under my tyres to flatten the angle onto the ramp! I said the ferry was small, but the cars were lined up around the edge in a tight curve and the bigger vehicles reversed into the centre. On the way off, one of the lorry tractors had to be driven onto one side of the ramp so we could drive onto the ramp, obv done a dynamic RA on that one!
Orkney is certainly different from the other bits of Scotland we have seen, smoother says Jacqui.
We found our site, overlooking a heather filled hillside, with TV mast, and the sea behind us; then the wind started. All night, the OK only good thing was was when I went to the bins, curlews flew into our field making their distinctive chirping. Then more rain!
Late up next morning, then on the bus to Stromness, how quiet are these places? Really good beer and we intend to explore some pub music, but the pace is v v slow here.
We're moving onto Kirkwall tomorrow, if we can stand the change in pace; it does have a Tesco, Aldi and Co-op!!
DAY 2
We managed to get the van off the grass site as, guess what, it rained all night.
On the way to Kirkwall we decided to stop at a couple of neolithic sites. We saw and I went into a 5000 year old burial chamber at Cuween Hill, then to the Ring of Brodgar, standing stones that we have no idea why they were erected. Maybe the people then had too much time on their hands.

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The third stop was at the Broch of Gurness, a thick walled defensive tower that protected a village about 2500 years ago. Very impressive and also impressive is the work that goes on finding and preserving these archeological sites.
The other good bit about this site is that we met the intrepid Janet and Alan who wild camp in their van most of the time and have even been to the Russian border on a summer holiday. It was great chatting to them and we will have to try more.
Off to Kirkwall and a great site that has a fair element of a community asset.

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Good job too because the next day it rained.

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It's Raining again


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What a downpour all night again. At this rate we will be swimming to the shower block! We didn't venture very far as it was really cold too. But as it did not improve we decided to wrap up and face the elements to go into Kirkwall to see the Pipe Band.

The poor chappies and lassies. Although they looked very smart, kilts are not the thing to wear in a storm. One gust of wind andwe would have seen a bit more than advertised!! They were brilliant, all ages and lots of proud family members cheering them on.

Better weather this morning so had to make it a wash day. Washing finished we ventured out on bikes but a bit too hilly for me so only did 6 miles. Our journey took us to Scappa Flow which was very moving. We had to venture to Kirkwall for a sunday lunchtime pint and to make it a balance meal, local ice cream as well. Who says the British don't do haute cuisine.
This collection of islands is full of history from 8000 years ago, a great place to explorer but unless you are an owner of the white with red dot vest you need a vehicle to see it all. We parked up the van and used the buses to some effect but timings are never what you want.
We had wanted to eat out and get more of the atmosphere of the place but what with the weather and the limited restaurants we cooked in all the time.
Def one not to be missed but on to get rained on a bit more in Bonnie Scotland. This may be a quicker tour of this end of the British Isles than we planned.

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