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  • Bloody Sunday – sometimes called the Bogside Massacre – was an incident on 30 January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland. British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians during a protest march against internment. Fourteen people died.

  • Stayed up too late watching UK PBS mystery movies so the alarm at 7:30 am was a bit harsh. Breakfast in the dining room this time, not the pub shown in the photo. The pub has a red deer head supposedly shot by Queen Victoria's Scottish personal assitant [,], John Brown. Peter had the local equivalent to shredded wheat with yogurt and fruit, while Diane tried the poached eggs and poached smoked haddack, which was lovely. Then we were off to Perth by way of a couple of stops.

    The day started out cloudy with a peak of sunlight as we traveled through Inverness, then we hit the rain that had been hammering the West coast oernight. It was steady for us, but not a torrent. It continued throughout the afternoon and early evening.

    There were really no destinations along the way until we arrived to Pitlochry where we were intending to go to Edradour distillery but first ended up at Bell's distillery, which had beautiful flowers against their grey buildings. Edradour was a great] . Looked like it had been recently paintd clean white and red. Edradour used to be the smallest distillery in Scotland, but a couple of newstarts have come on the scene. They only do small batches, 15 barrels a week and they have a plethera of ways to age in different types of barrels. Exceedingly nice tour for only 7 pounds with 2 different whiskey tastings (now quite ful dramseach) and the tasting glass! Tour was easily an hour and very instructive.

    After that, we moved a few miles down the road to Dunkeld where Peter popped into the "Naked Sheep" for a sweater and a new driving cap. Then we toured the Dunfeld Abbey [] .

    After that, w were ready to take our chances on traveling back into the city of Perth. The Heidl B&B is very near downtown. The hostess asked where we had been and told us that she was in fact from Orkney and after a bit more conversation, we found out that she is best friends for 25 years with Julie and Mike, our Orkney hosts!. Small world!

    Dinner was at the local Indian restaurant down the street. Very good South Indian street food including haggis in an Indian chilie sauce, which was very good.

    Tomorrow will be a short move to Edinburgh after a diversion to Sterling to the Sterling castle.
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  • Given perfect still conditions, I decided to cycle to Durness - for the exercise, the scenery on the way and hope of a pleasant coffee or lunch stop.

    Achieved the first two - great to appreciate the views at cycling pace, particularly of Loch Erribol. And it was a demanding 28 miles on the out leg, taking 2:40 of constant cycling. Refreshments were very limited in Durness with zilch in between. Turning to return I realised I'd had a tail wind on the way out, so more effort was required to make progress returning the same way.

    Only one dwelling en route, belonging to a ceramicist - entrance decorated with ceramics and dear skulls.
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  • I am rather annoyed with myself, because this is the second time that I am writing this post. I wasn't paying attention to the power level on the tablet, and it shutdown before I had a chance to save. It has been a while since I suffered this particular issue, but we all need a reminder of these things from time to time.

    CTRL + S everyone, CTRL + S.

    And now to what you came here to read...

    We started the day in Chateau Swindon, (not its real name) after a very pleasant evening the night before. One thing that you might not have guessed about Swindon, is that it has a lot of Japanese tourists (locals, please tell us all why in the comment section below), which meant that there were all manner of Japanese options for the breakfast buffet. And by all manner, I mean three. Plain boiled rice, miso soup, and a soya bean monstrocity served in a styrofoam container. Chateau Swindon, was just a bit too Swindon in its Japanese options.

    After leaving the hotel we stopped for a quick look at the church next door, which was built in the 800's during the time of Alfred the Great, and has seen the invasion of the Nomans, the fall and restoration of the monarchy, and two world wars. Not bad for a nameless church in the middle of nowhere, with a current congregation of 30 aging souls. The congregation has got so small, I think they are divertising for new recruits on

    Then it was on to Oxford, to drop of Brad and Lynn, before a short run to Gatwick Airport, to drop off the car, and check in to our hotel, for the final night of our stay in the UK. Crawley, where we were staying next to Gatwick, is not exactly the same bustling cosmopolitan metrolopis that London was, but it did provide an acceptable, if expensive, curry for dinner. There was also time for a trip to Asda, to really soak in the local wildlife, which we can confirm is human, if a bit different from others that you may have encountered in your local vicinity.

    There wasn't much left to do after Asda, but head back to hotel and continue the party. Like every good Def Leppard concert after-party, it had champagne, white powder, and lacy underwear in a hotel sink. Unfortunately for us, the white powder was to wash my unmentionables in the hotel sink. At least the champagne was real. Party on Wayne.

    We thought that there would be a moment this night, where the full realisation of our move would sink in, but it didn't come. Perhaps tomorrow it will arrive. Perhaps three months of travel, means that the full effect isn't going to arrive at all. Stay tuned folks, and I am sure you'l find out when we do.
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  • A day driving planned, aiming at Ullapool. I had been warned that progress can be slow due to the need to keep stopping to admire the scenery and read the information boards on the geology of the area.

    First stop Snoo cave, coffee at Cocoa Heaven, then a long desolate stretch before the next stop at Inverloch and it's famous pie shop (make mine a salmon and dill).

    The afternoon was taken up driving a minor road round the coast - more challenging than driving round a multi storey car park with stone walls on the left and drops into lochs on the right.

    Final pic is of Ullapool which I used to think was far north, but I'd just spent a day driving south to reach.
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  • We caught up with my cousin Jacqui (and her daughter Hayley) for dinner. It's been over 40 years since I saw Jacqui!

    We met in the city and went to a lovely restaurant.

    It was so nice to catch up, thanks girls!

  • A surprising number of campers were up to witness an impressive sunrise at 7am. As arranged the previous night I parked up on the shore front by the youth hostel to use their facilities and enjoy breakfast opposite the ferry terminal.

    A long trek to Inverness, Perth and Edinburgh getting back to civilisation and traffic.

    Finally reaching a much quieter Peebles and camping at Glentress mountain bike centre. Having supper with Jonny and Jenni tonight who are staying at Peebles Hydro hotel - how the other half live...Read more

  • Last night I wrote the blog at the pub where I had tea. It was a very friendly pub and I got talked into staying for the weekly pub quiz.
    I competed on my own and did so badly it was funny. Out of a possible 60 points I scored 20, four of those were bonus points for competing on my own. It was a fun evening.

    This morning I went to St Michael's Mount, a tidal island not too far from Penzance. At low tide the causeway is accessible and you can walk over. Today that was 10-3 so I was able to walk over and back. I was in time for a village tour which was very interesting. 9 families live and work on the island.
    I got to have a pasty for lunch so that was my must do for Cornwall done.

    From there I went to Minack Theatre. This is an open air theatre that has been carved out of the cliff side, most by a woman who was still carving bits out, bringing bags of sand up from the beach and mixing concrete into her 70s. It is really amazing and has performances throughout the summer.

    Next up was Lands End. It was a bit of an anti-climax. All the information signs have been removed and everything was shut except the bloke in charge of taking photos at the sign.

    Men-an-Tol is a set of ancient standing stones about 1.5km off the road. It was a nice walk up the track with some inquisitive cows on both sides. One of the stones is round with a hole and meant to be a fine example of ancient stones. It was about 5:30pm by this stage so I played about with the light taking photos.

    Just after I left the pub where I had my tea I saw a badger! It crossed the road in front of the car. I was going fairly slowly due to the road so I got a really good look at it. It was about the size of a wombat but more agile and with a tail.
    It is something else to cross of my "would it be nice if I saw this" list. I admit I got rather excited shouting "you're a badger! You're a badger!" at it as it crossed the road.
    Closer to the B&B I saw a black rabbit and then I thought I saw another badger in the hedge... but it was a garbage bag. I may be a bit overtired.

    St Michaels Mount
    Minack Theatre
    Minack Theatre Gardens - Rowena Cade, the woman do made the gardens, made these concrete columns.
    First and last house at Lands End
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  • It was time to move on. My basic plan is to spend 3 nights in each place and no more than 4 hours drive between each place. That gives me 2 full days to explore and a whole day to travel which leaves plenty of time for detours.

    My first detour today was to have another go at finding access to The Wash national park. The gps produced a route but after many small, winding roads it ended at a private road so I turned around and set the gps for Yorkshire.

    Next detour was to Skegness. I've heard it mentioned many time, I'm just not sure in what context. Like Great Yarmouth the beach part is very touristy and very hard to actually see the beach.

    Next I stopped at Waltham at a little pub for lunch and a look at their windmill.

    I stopped to take a look at the Humber bridge before crossing it. It is a massive bridge, fortunately they still have a person accepting tolls on the northern side of the bridge.

    Pickering is a small town on the edge of the North York Moors. I stopped at the castle ruin. I'm glad I saw Castle Rising which is mainly intact (missing the roof and some upper floor floors) as it gave me an idea of what the Pickering Castle ruin may have looked like.

    I'm staying in Goatland in the North York Moors National Park. The sun was starting to set as I made my way in but it looks stunning.

    Goatland itself is a spreadout village. It is the setting of Aidansfield, of Heartbeat fame. I've been listening to one of Nicholas Rhea's books (his Constable series inspired the tv show). I'm looking forward to exploring tomorrow.

    I had dinner in one of the pubs and had my first Pims. Not quite sure what is in it but it took quite a while to make.

    Waltham Windmill
    The Ship's Inn, where I had lunch
    Humber bridge
    Pickering Castle
    View from my bedroom
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  • Wow! What a day! It drizzeled a bit during the evening and we woke up to clouds, but by 11:30 am, the clouds burned off and it was a Sunny, 17 deg C day again! Barely a breeze today and part of the lochs were glassy mirrors.

    Into our groove, breakfast at 8:15 with Diane having heavy protein and Peter with granola and yogurt. Interesting conversations at the breakfast table with the other guests.

    We had to spend some time this morning trying to finish our future reservations. We were trying to do too many things last eve and mussed up a few of them. I also had to try to figure out how to "top up" our cell phone since we had run through the 15 pounds we initially put on it. Thus, it was a delayed start to the morning.

    Our first adventure was exploring the Cuween Hill cairn above Finstown [] . A couple of days ago, we had visited the cairn at Wideford and Cuween is the one on the western hill side that looks back at Wideford. Long, low, wet passage that dirtied our knees as we went into the interior of the cairn, but very interesting to compare/contrast with the other cairns we have seen. This one had several dog burials in it. We also explored some stacked rock pillars on the hillside above. Poorly constructed and certainly not neo-lithic. A gal came by walking two dogs and she thought it was a bunch of high school students that felt they needed to have a hand in leaving something behind.

    From there we traveled South from the turn-off to Stones of Stennis to find a little place hidden in the woods that used to belong to Julie's Uncle called Happy Valley [, . A small crofters cottage at a small stream that he modified to make a lush habitate for animals and birds.

    By then, it was time to go to the Ring of Bordgar for the range talk. Elaine Clark did the presenation again today. We really enjoyed her talk on the ring and the surrounding environments. She is extremely knowedgable, witty and was evidently instrumental in helping to obtain World Heritage Site designation for this area. So many interesting tid-bits were shared during the 1.5 hr talk (she went more than her nominal hour since it was such a glorious day and we all were interested. More new tidbits will be revealed in the future as they are doing more investigations in the local area. Using magnetization studies, ground penetrating radar and even a yellow submarine in the loch just to the West where they think they may have found another hendge that was build with the lochs were much smaller as well as one or two mmore to the north.

    One of the major items discussed is that originally, there was thought that the Ring of Brodgar had 60 standing stones (not all currently standing) all 6 deg apart and it was a huge astronomical observatory. Recently, with more modern round penetrating radar and closer examination of the types of rock used for the standing stones, this specualtion is no longer in favor. It turns out that each of the current standing stones are unique and from different quaries around the island and the stone is enplaced such that each top surface face of the stone faces the direction of the quary from which it was removed as if each group of peoples brought their own stone to make the ring.

    After that, we went to the West coast to look out at Yesnaby [] , a former WWII gunnery site. From Yesnaby, we had a great view to the South out to a spit of land with an old stone brough and further down the coast he "old man of Hoy" pillar standing off from the cliff.

    Oh, yea, one other tid-bit from Elaine is that Orkney has about 20K people. During WWII, 60K solders were garisoned here. We had seen signs of gunnery sites as we arrived on the ferry on many of the islands. One of the unit that was garisoned on the "mainland" of Orkney were located just near the Stones of Stennis and had small tanks that they used to manuever between the stones at the Ring of Bordgar and they also used to race around in the ditch surounding the stones! It's a wonder that they didn't do any significant damage!

    The day was staying fabulous, but with a few high clouds now starting to appear. We decided to continue our drive on the West side and drove up to Birsay to get a view of the Brough of Birsay [] , an older series of Pictish and Norse settlements that is only approachable at low tide.

    From there, we debated continuing the drive or getting back to Kirkwall in time to tour the Cathedrial of St Magnus []. We opted for a quick visit to the Cathedral to add variety to our trip and becasue it was suppose to be really spectacular. And spectacular it was all made out of red sandstone with fantastice stainglassed windows. Peter lit a candel for his mother while we were there.

    We finished the day with a trip to a "cash point" to have enough $$ to cover the B&B tomorrow and to top-up the cell phone. Then it was on to dinner, which tonight we took at the Kirkwall Hotel. Diane opted for the 1/2 fisherman's platter with 2 kinds of smoked salmon, pickled herring, smoked and peppered herring, a crab claw, tiny crawfish tails and small shrimp in a rose marie sauce while Peter had the sea bass.

    I can hear the wind starting to pick up now as I work on the blog. We should have a little rain tonight but a few hours of sunshine as we ferry back across before another storm rolls in. What a beautiful time indeed we have had here on Orkney and we are sooooooo happpppppyyy that we decided to stay the extra day to savor this part of Scotland.
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