Back to the UK: Part 2 (July 2017)

After a sad farewell to the Connells and Whitby, we continued our journey north up the coast and then to the Scottish Borders.  See here for Part 1 if you missed it.

map north

Monday, July 10 — Heading North

From Whitby, we set out to Durham where we visited the Cathedral and had a walk around.  We then made a stop at the Washington Old Hall before carrying on to Seahouses for our 1-night B&B stay.

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Cathedral view from the courtyard

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and from the cloisters
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along the riverwalk

After a walk through the small city centre, we set off for Washington Old Hall.  Now, I admit I didn’t research this carefully (enough) and just knew that this National Trust home was “best known for being the ancestral home of George Washington”.  Other than that, I can’t say it stood out much.

Washington’s family came to America a couple of generations before George so he never lived here.  And in fact his lineage was of a different branch that the original estate owners.  Oh well.  We still had a look around before heading on.

A view to the seventeenth-century manor house, Washington Old Hall, Tyne & Wear
Washington Old Hall (credit National Trust)
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interior shot inside Washington Old Hall
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one of our actual (partial) rainy days

After driving up the coast, we made it to Seahouses and had time for a quick stroll to the harbor.

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a view of Bamburgh Castle from the Seahouses harbor

Tuesday, July 11 — towards the Scottish Borders

From our Seahouses base, we visited the nearby Bamburgh Castle before driving up the coast past Eyemouth to St Abbs.  The morning started misty and overcast but fortunately ended with bright blue skies for our outstanding walk.  We then headed east to Melrose, Scottish Borders for our final 3 nights.

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First I have to give a shout out for my boy.  As our 2-week long holiday fell during Cross Country summer training, Alex took it upon himself to train EVERY day by following the day-by-day guidelines from his coach before most everyone else woke up.  It was probably 50F and misting this morning in Seahouses and he had a particularly tough workout.  He’s catching his breath here before I go let him in (no, he did not toss his cookies).  Very proud of his persistence and determination.

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the view of Bamburgh Castle from the parking lot
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rolling dunes and beach from castle
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required cannon photo
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across the grounds and down the coast
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interior shot #1
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#2
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a look out from inside the castle
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a view of the village

Next up was the St Abbs Nature Reserve.  This was slightly out of our way, but I had gotten a good tip (on the internet no less) to try to fit that in.  Fortunately, the weather broke and it was absolutely stunning.

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short walk along the coast and nearby fields
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3.6 miles, 1:59 (1:25 moving)–minimal elevation change
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cartoon map of the route (we did the yellow and purple)
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great early view — the sun is shining too
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stunning
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a look back at the village of St Abbs
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a pair of seagulls — quite a lot of sea birds in the area
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amazing isn’t it?
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another view of the village
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I love this shot
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the old folks getting in on the action
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off they go
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looping back inland
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lots of bringing up the rear shots in this one (I like those)
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some craggily bits
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zooming in on some birds below
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lighthouse
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coming down the lighthouse access road and seeing around the bend
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look at all those birds! (razorbills I think)
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another from the road shot (I’d hate to drive that one!)
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can’t stop taking photos …
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heading back (towards the cows)
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cows were coming from near and far as we passed — dinner time?
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what are you lookin’ at?
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even the “inland” way back was nice

After that fine walk we drove an hour or so to Melrose and our self-catering cottage.  Nicole was glad to reconnect with Wi-Fi as she was a couple hours “late” for college registration.  Fortunately she got all her desired classes though she missed one of the preferred professors/time slots.  Reasonable trade for that walk!

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view from our cottage outside Melrose

Wednesday, July 12 — Enjoying the Borders

map borders

The Borders are known for their abbeys (Melrose, Jedburgh, Kelso, Dryburgh) among others things.  Plenty of historic homes and estates as well.  We’d get to some of those but with good weather scheduled for the first day and iffy the second, you know we had to get a walk in.  Fortunately, we could set off right out our front door.

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The Eildon Hills were in our backyard so to speak.   We climbed to the “saddle” between the first two and used that as the launching point for all 3 hills.

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4.9 miles in 2:44 (2:06 moving).  866′ max climb with 1596′ overall.  We did north, mid and then south.

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Setting off along St Cuthbert’s Way — north is on the left; mid on the right (south is hidden)
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dramatic mix of clouds and blue skies as we start our climb
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Melrose town below; heather in the foreground
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on North looking at South and Mid
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Leaderfoot viaduct over the river Tweed
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stunning views
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I liked the mixture of sun/shade on this one
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zoomed in to see the Melrose Abbey
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climbing up the steeper Mid hill
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Alex silhouetted in the lead
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looks like I have my banner shot; one of my favorites
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Mid looking to South
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Alex patiently waiting at the “saddle”
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the view south
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walking back from South

After scarfing some lunch back at the cottage we headed out.  Normally we don’t rush around to see a lot of things but the nice weather beckoned and we set out to see what we could.

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Scott’s View

First stop was “Scott’s View”, reputed to be one of the favorite views of Sir Walter Scott (according to the wiki page).  Quite fitting since we just hiked those hills in the morning!

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again, slightly zoomed in
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and once more with family

A little farther down the road towards Dryburgh is the car park for the William Wallace statue.  After short walk, you see this:

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William Wallace statue

We stopped at the Dryburgh Abbey but we couldn’t see much from the outside so we carried on to Jedburgh where there are a number of sites (for free!).

First up was the Mary Queen of Scots House.

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Mary Queen of Scots House (from the rear)

Inside the house, where she apparently stayed during her visit to Jedburgh, was a very nicely done museum about her life with just the right amount of information (i.e. Steve/Nicole/Alex level versus Kuk level).

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MQofSH from the front

We then walked over to the Abbey (again just to view from the outside).

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Jedburgh Abbey
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Jedburgh Abbey
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and again
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dog guarding cat guarding abbey?

Next we slogged up the hill to the castle and jail.  The jail was set up as a museum (with Kuk level of information, i.e. too much).

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Jedburgh Castle and Jail

We were still going strong so we then headed to Kelso.

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Kelso town square
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Kelso Abbey
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Kelso Abbey graveyard

and then we made it back to the cottage:

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well deserved rest
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with some company

Thursday, July 13 — Borders (last day)

All good things must come to and end — our last full day in the UK.  Since we did a lot of bopping around the previous day, we were able to stick close to home (Melrose) on this last day.

First up was Abbotsford House; home of Sir Walter Scott.  We were all pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the house and tour.  The gardens were also nice.

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Abbotsford House
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Abbotsford House
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and one more (thanks Nicole)

Finally, we made it to Melrose proper.  We drove into town after having tea at the Abbotsford cafe for a quick walk around.  The abbey was the highlight (though we still didn’t pay to go in!).   We did get a little closer than the Eildon Hill view though.

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Melrose Abbey
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Melrose Abbey

 

Flowers

I mentioned the wonderful garden at Abbotsford.  Here’s a collection of flowers from there and perhaps a few other places along the way.  We (Kuk in particular) loves to stop and see/smell the flowers.

 

 

Food

Last, but not least, we have the food photos.  From Seasons we have pigeon breast, chanterelles, lamb shoulder, and salmon linguini.

 

And from The Hoebridge we have crab toast, stuffed courgette flowers, seared tuna and pork belly.

Summary

What a wonderful trip.  We really love the UK and this summer was a great time to visit.  We all were happy and relaxed throughout the two weeks.  Walked about 40 miles on the hikes too.  Can’t wait to come back.

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