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The UK & Ireland experience

Travel day has arrived. Off to the airport by train for a 3pm flight.
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  • Day69

    In Transit day 69 Sat 30 Jun 2018

    June 30, 2018 in Singapore ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Arrived Changi Airport Singapore at about 6.30pm. Got some sleep on the flight from London. Consider selecting an aisle seat in future if in a three seat wide section of the plane to be able to walk around without having to climb over someone. Flight to Sydney due to leave at 8.20pm.

  • Day68

    To Heathrow day 68 Fri 29 Jun

    June 29, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Breakfast at 8.30am and away from Riverside Lechlade just after 10am. Drove to Bourton on the Water but the place was too large so continued on to the pretty Lower Slaughter. Lucky to park as someone left a roadside space as we entered town. Walked a short way along the Warden’s Way then wandered around the village. Beer in the pub garden. Left about 12.45pm for a 50 odd mile drive to return the car to Avis in Northrop Road in Heathrow. However the traffic around Oxford was horrendous. Followed a day tour bus going to London in the right hand lane saving maybe half an hour as the traffic was practically stationary for about ten miles. Just as well as we arrived at the car return at 3.20pm. Return went smoothly, photographed the exterior of the car and odometer. We drove 4,975.4 miles in the hire car. Shuttle bus to Terminal two where we queued to obtain the VAT refund credited to my credit card. I successfully obtained a cash refund for one Oyster card from a machine as the travel credit was under ten pounds (by seven pence), but not the other as the travel balance was ten pound and sixty pence. Drank our water and went through security where Yvonne’s arm set off the security and she got the full body scan and metal detector treatment. Plane left Heathrow T2 about 10.20pm.Read more

  • Day67

    Bath day 67 Thu 28 Jun 2018

    June 28, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    What a change out of bed just after 7am. Bit of packing sorting and breakfast at 8am. Away from Riverside Lechlade on Thames by 9.30am. Long drive to Bath about 50 miles and scored a park in the city long stay car park when someone left. Made our way to the Roman Baths where we took the standard audio guide tour. The Romans called the town Aquae Sulis and it is the only thermal bath in Britain. The hot water in the spring rises at a rate of 1,170,000 litres per day at a temperature of 46 degrees Centigrade. Spent two and a half hours on the audio tour, much of which is beneath the surrounding buildings in Bath as the ground level is four metres higher today than it was 2,000 years ago. Afterwards made our way to Pulteney Bridge on the Avon River built in 1774. Then back to the car passing the 1482 Sally Lynn’s house Bath’s oldest surviving house. Drove back to the Riverside Hotel in Lechlade for a delightful meal by the Thames River beside the Ha’penny Bridge and opposite the Thames path.Read more

  • Day66

    Oxford day 66 Wed 27 Jun 2018

    June 27, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    Late start after 11am from Wyville Close Nottingham, as I was editing Penguins. Long motorway drive to Oxford and we were lucky to get a space in the long stay car park when somebody left. Traffic is horrendous in Oxford with bicycles somehow not being crushed by the many buses, cars etc. Wanted to visit a college (Oxford University is a aggregation of specialised colleges), however as it was orientation day all colleges were closed to the general public with the exception of those associated with prospective students. Yvonne was advised to enter as someone representing a prospective student and so we toured the Balliol College including Hogwarts main hall on a student guided walking tour. Later rode a red city sightseeing bus around the city until the bus left us at rail station at the end of the day. Then walked back to what is left of the Castle built in 1071, and the old prison closed in 1996, which has been converted to a hotel. Dinner of pub food in the prison exercise yard. Walked to the Randolph Hotel's Morse bar, for a beer and Manhattan cocktail for Yvonne. The bar was used in both the Inspector Morse and Lewis TV programs. We caught the Park and Ride bus back to the car and drove to Lechlade Riverside Hotel accommodation before 10pm.Read more

  • Day65

    Sherwood Forest day 65 Tue 26 Jun 2018

    June 26, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    Slept in to 8.45am then ate cereal we carried from London and away by 10.30am. Walked to Nottingham Castle about 2.5 kilometres away. Joined the 11.30am historical walking tour hosted by an accomplished period actor. We learnt that during the life of the original castle it was overthrown once by King Richard who then went on to reclaim his crown from his brother John. This Castle was destroying by the people of Nottingham who were loyal to the King rather than allow Cromwell to have the use of the Fort. Later a Ducal Palace was erected which in turn was destroyed by a mob angry because the owner had helped prevent the introduction of voting for the people. We then toured the underground passageway leading downhill to the Nottingham city centre. The passage was cut through soft conglomerate sandstone with windows that may have been defensive arrow slots on the original Castle. Lunch in England’s oldest inn 1189AD. Walked back to the granny flat in 29 degree heat, and then drove to the Sherwood Forest Visitor’s Centre, Walked all three of the marked trails bringing the day walking distance to over 16.5 kilometres. The Major Oak is believed to be over 1000 years old and there were many other old oaks that were regenerating. The area was full of grey squirrels. I photographed a reddish squirrel on a fence just before we left. Dinner in a pub in nearby town. Then back to Nottingham for wine with Val before returning to the granny flat.Read more

  • Day64

    To Nottingham day 64 Mon 25 Jun 2018

    June 25, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Another fine day.Slept in to 8 am, then had breakfast at Nent Hall Country Hotel and began the 186 mile road trip about 10:45 am. Very scenic landscape as we drove through the Pennines. The remainder of the drive was on motorways without anything to look at as you travel along . The Tom Tom took us directly to our accommodation in Nottingham. It was a granny flat in a concrete backyard close to the city. We managed to top up Yvonne’s phone so it could be used till the end of the trip on the way there. Drove to Val Mayer’s house for a bbq with Val, Kate and Kate’s boyfriend Ben. Lovely evening. Got back to the granny flat about 11:30 pm.Read more

  • Day63

    North Pennines day 63 Sun 24 Jun 2018

    June 24, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

    Another fine day. Nent Hall Country House Hotel is located one and a half miles east of Alston Cumbria on the A686 in a lovely wooded and rural area. Drove to Gilsland and parked the car on arrival. I searched for signage relating to the walk information I brought from Sydney. By fluke I had parked the car opposite a hidden sign (from the direction we had driven in). So moved the car to a better spot and started the walk, following the acorn symbols of the Hadrian’s Wall Path through town to the start of the remaining Hadrian’s Wall. Searched for a stone with a latin inscription near turret 48a without success. Followed the wall to Willowford where there were the remains of the original Roman bridge built around 120AD on dry land as the Irthing River has moved about 100 metres. The acorns and track led us up to the top of the hill and milecastle 49 where we ate lunch with a nice rural view. Afterwards walked to Birdoswald Roman Fort which English Heritage charge nearly ten pounds plus timed parking to visit. Saved our money and continued across a cattle field following the route shown on my paperwork to a public path few people have used recently, descending to and across a creek before climbing to a fields we crossed on the other side. Followed roads back to the car. Beer in a local pub then drove to Alston stopping to look at the site of the Epiacum Roman Fort with its multiple ramparts. Whilst there the South Tynedale Railway train went past down in the valley. Dinner in a hotel in Alston before returning to the Net Hall Country House.Read more

  • Day62

    Hadrians Wall day 62 Sat 23 Jun 2018

    June 23, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    Cloudy day in Edinburgh. Breakfast then extracted car from difficult car park at Dorstan Guesthouse. Easy exit from Edinburgh compared to the drive in five day earlier. Stopped at viaduct viewing spot at Leaderfoot in Scotland. Next stop was the border with England. As we neared Hadrian’s Wall we stopped using the Tom Tom GPS and followed tourist signs to reach Housesteads Fort Visitors Centre. Took a picture of a pretty bridge when we joined the B6318. The carpark had a sign to pay parking fees when you leave. (Code for your number plate has been photographed... Northumberland Council). English Heritage have designed the Visitors Centre buildings to make it seem you must pay then to walk along Hadrian’s Wall when you can ignore the cash register and walk past it and through the door to access the walks and Hadrian's Wall beyond. Chose to walk to Sycamore Gap (Tree used in the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves). The initial section of the walk allows you to walk on a restored section of the wall through woodland. At the end of the wood the restored section ended and we walked next to the wall that was built in 122AD. Passed Milecastle 37 and on to the site of Milecastle 38 with views of the wall snaking across the countryside like the Great Wall of China. Ate lunch behind a stone wall with a good view of the countryside below the cliffs we on top of but out of the cold wind. After lunch descended into the Sycamore Gap. Returned via the Military Way. Paid for the time the car was in the car park and drove to Nentall Country House Hotel using both the car GPS and Google Maps. Stopped and photographed a uniquely angled viaduct on the way. Dinner of lamb shanks in the hotel.Read more

  • Day61

    Edinburgh day 61 Fri 22 Jun 2018

    June 22, 2018 in the United Kingdom

    Another dry and partly sunny day in Edinburgh. Late start as discovered Yvonne’s phone did not charge overnight and was at 34% ....oops. Unable to post a negative review for Ryan’s place Belfast as property is not accepting bookings and the website does not let you even email a question. Caught a number 14 Lothan bus into the city which unexpectedly turned right at Princes Street and headed up Calton Hill and continuied towards Leith. Luckily got off the bus in a reasonable spot to walk to the number 8 Lothan bus route which took us to the Royal Botanic Gardens. We paid for a Gardens tour and were guided around for an hour and a half by a volunteer. (Tour length was supposed to be one hour). Very informative but how much I will remember will probably be minimal. We then had coffee and wandered around some more. We stoped to eat our olives, sun dried tomatoes and salami. More wandering around till we caught the bus back to the Mound. (Hill in the City created from the rubble, oyster shells dirt from the construction of the New Town in the 1820’ies. Visited the Museum on the Mound (Scottish Bank Museum) Interesting that a private company ensures the the integrity of the currency of the Scottish nation. Informative display similar to the one in the Tower of London. Then visited the impressive Giles Cathedral (once inside). Yvonne took photos and we had dinner in another pub on the Royal Mile.Read more