Scottish Borders – Lauder and Jedburgh

On leaving Dunbar it was just a short hop south to Lauder to stay at the Thirlestane Castle Caravan Site (click here for my review).

We still stopped on the way for a spot of lunch and to watch the cows in the fields though!  (Notice how we were still in our shorts. In October.  In Scotland!!)

On our way to Lauder

The reason we had chosen this site was that it was in the grounds of Thirlestane Castle – which had closed for the season just a day or 2 before we arrived…..

Still, it was a nice walk along the road down towards the castle and then back up the steep road to head into the small town.  Here we wandered along the High Street, taking in the numerous ‘Wynds’, the old church (which has a watchhouse in the grounds to protect against bodysnatchers) , the town hall and pubs.

We visited the unusual church – unusual in that Continue reading “Scottish Borders – Lauder and Jedburgh”


Delightful Dunbar

What a wonderful surprise Dunbar was!  About 40 miles east of Edinburgh itself (so easily within reach from our campsite) we opted to stay on the Camping & Caravan Club site on the outskirts of Dunbar.

It didn’t take us very long to get there from Holy Island being just a short hop up the A1 and over the border – it probably only took us about an hour and a half.

The site itself was one of those where as you drive onto your pitch you have your breath taken away by the view before you.  See our review for pictures.

The 1st afternoon was spent stocking up in the nearby Asda and just relaxing.  We opted for a Chinese takeaway in the evening, landing up in Kings Palace on the High Street. where the service was excellent and the food was good.  (Bit bemused by the fellow customer who appeared not to really want to talk to us, but then kept piping up with ‘helpful’ advice – such as the best time to visit to avoid the midges would be July & August…..)

The next day we pulled on our walking boots and headed off towards Barns Ness lighthouse that we could see from the campsite.  This proved to be a longer walk than we were expecting!  Continue reading “Delightful Dunbar”

A daytrip across the border – to St Abbs via Eyemouth

Our final day before heading into Scotland proper was spent heading into Scotland for a daytrip..!

It was a lovely sunny day and the views were spectacular as we hugged the coast and crossed the border, passing the last (first..) pub in England on the way.  A short while along the A1 after the border we took a right hand turn onto a minor road and found ourselves turning right again and heading down into the small settlement that is Burnmouth – the 1st village in Scotland.

At the bottom of the steep hill down to the harbour there are in fact 3 separate settlements clustered together – Partanhall (now mainly holiday lets fronting directly onto the water (with only a narrow road between them and the elements), Burnmouth itself with it’s harbour and a number of dwellings (some of which feature a fishing store on the lower floor – with a front door seemingly too big for a normal door, but too small for a garage) and finally Cowdrait at the southern end with a handful of cottages.  The 3 parts together make up a tiny village, but Burnmouth does extend back up the steep cliff road to encompass a church and old schoolhouse as well.

The harbour is very pretty with swans enjoying the sunshine and the view out to sea was lovely.

Of course the sea can change and Burnmouth has seen it’s share of tragedy.  Continue reading “A daytrip across the border – to St Abbs via Eyemouth”

More Northumberland Beaches. And Castles :)

Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (18)
Bambrugh Castle from the beach


Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (6)
Bambrugh Beach
Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (8)
Bambrugh Castle landside


Looking towards Dunstanburgh Castle
Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (128)
One of the towers at Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland
Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (136)
Looking ‘through the keyhole’ at Dunstanburgh Castle!
Northumbrerland Sept 2017 (145)
Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland

We still weren’t finished with Northumberland.  Our remaining days there before we headed into Scotland took in beaches and castles.  We headed slightly inland to visit Ford & Etal and we even had a daytrip into Scotland, visiting Eyemouth as well as a couple of hidden coves.  We were busy!

We weren’t experiencing wonderful weather; we had some extremely windy conditions – but the sun was out too at times 🙂

From Holy Island we had spotted, what looked like, some rather lovely beaches across the channel, so we headed a couple of miles back down the A1 and took a left.  The 1st turn took us to a dead end.  We did get out to have a look, but there were bird hides and this wasn’t on the agenda for us so we carried on and took the next left!

After a while we found a lay-by from where we could access the shoreline, so we stopped and headed out for a walk along the shore.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the most pleasant experience as the tide was coming in and we had to negotiate the muddy shoreline around the bay.  However we eventually came across the sand  which very nearly made the challenging walk to find it worth it!  Rather than tackle the shoreline, with the tide even further in, we left the beach via a footpath that took us out to a lane, past a caravan site and finally back to the main road.  Although there was no pavement there was room on the verge to walk on when cars went past so it was fine.

Not necessarily my favourite afternoon out, but we did get a fair bit of exercise 🙂

The next day dawned bright and sunny but windy.  We had already decided to head down the coast to Bambrugh, which has an amazing stretch of beautiful wide sandy beach backed by dunes you can get lost in!  We very nearly did!  Continue reading “More Northumberland Beaches. And Castles :)”

Beamish Museum and the Angel of the North

First off, my apologies for most of the photos appearing here at the start – I’m having a spot of bother again getting them where I want them!

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Apart from visiting Hadrian’s Wall sites when in inland Northumberland we also went a little further afield, visiting the Angel of the North, Beamish Museum and a Sunday afternoon in Newcastle.

Beamish museum was somewhere that I was aware of and keen to visit.  I love ‘living’ museums like this where the exhibits represent how we used to live, often with buildings saved from different areas and rebuilt in the museum.  Similar museums around the country include the Weald and Downland near Chichester, St Fagans Folk Museum in Cardiff, Blists Hill Victorian Town near Telford and the Black Country Museum in Dudley.  I have been to each of these museums (except the Black Country Museum) at least twice, and as a result often shout excitedly at the telly when I see a location I recognise (as they’re often used for filming!)

We actually visited Beamish twice.  There were 2 reasons for this, the 1st being that they are one of these, really pretty annoying, attractions where your entry fee allows you to visit for a full year.  This is all very well if you live in the area and are likely to visit more than once – but how about a cheaper price for those of us who are just visiting?  We missed out on Leeds Castle because of this policy (and saw many others turning round and leaving), and need to visit Chatham Docks again before May in order to use our tickets again before they run out…

Anyway, the main reason we had to return was that a couple of days after our first visit there was a big classic car show being held.  So that was reason enough to go back….

Beamish is a living history museum located in the village of Beamish, near to Consett.  There is an awful lot of walking available as you make your way around the site, between the pit village (and a quick tour down a real pit shaft – not far but very interesting), the town, the hall and the farm.

Don’t despair however there are plenty of transport options; old trams and buses run frequently and there is no extra charge for these.  There are several houses that have been rebuilt and dressed in the style of the day, both in the pit village, the town and also the hall.  Don’t miss the tower as you exit the hall – this is the most interesting part of the building!

Over the 2 visits that we made we managed to see every part of the museum and were suitably impressed (at £19 each though that’s a good thing!)

On the way to the museum we had visited the Angel of the North  , the iconic sculpture designed by Anthony Gormley which you cannot miss as you drive by!  There is free parking and an information board at the bottom of the hill that the angel is sited on, and she is really an awesome sight!

We returned to the van via Consett as we needed to get fuel.

After our 2nd visit on the Sunday we headed in to Newcastle to have a look.  We ended up having some lunch – I found out that Weatherspoons now operate a system where you’re able to order online, including your drinks!  Brilliant!  (However, I also think this is old news, just like when I got all excited about the automatic ordering in McDonalds…)

After lunch we headed off to have a look around Newcastle.  I’m not sure how far we walked, but it was a far way.  We were impressed with the city – it wasn’t what we were expecting at all.  Added to the grand old buildings there was a definite vibe about the place even on a Sunday afternoon in September.

Finally in this area, on the Saturday between these 2 visits to the museum we decided to have a lazy day but ended up heading out for a drive, visiting Heddon on the Wall and then Prudhoe Castle.  We also found where the British Masters was being held (we’d seen signs for parking as we’d been driving around the area for the previous week) at Close House, which was busy preparing for the tournament that was being held the following week.

Prudhoe Castle is an English Heritage property, but whilst a pleasant enough way to spend, maybe, half an hour, it wasn’t one of the better properties we’d visited.  Put it this way, it’s one of the properties that we would have been fed up to have paid out £12 between us if we hadn’t been members….  However, if you do go make sure to visit the room above the gatehouse 🙂


So our time in Hadrian’s Wall country came to an end, but not our time in Northumberland.  We had 11 more nights and 2 more sites on the coast to visit before moving on to Scotland!

Keep travelling 🙂


Goathland – aka Aidensfield or Hogwarts…

Our final day in the moors was reserved to visit Goathland, otherwise known as Aidensfield (Heartbeat’s location) or Hogwarts Station (the train station was used in the Harry Potter films).

We would have loved to have arrived in the village on the steam train (North York Moors Railway), but the cost was prohibitive unfortunately.  Even just to travel 1 stop between Grosmont and Goathland would have cost us £26 return….  There were plenty of trains running though so obviously plenty of people paying for this.  Apparently it wasn’t always this expensive – it appears that the Harry Potter effect has caused the increase in prices.

We saw the steam train for the 1st time at Grosmont – perfect timing actually as we were at the front of the queue when the level crossing gates closed!  We do love to see the trains in operation so this was an absolute treat.

Next it was a race to get to Goathland before the train! We managed it – just.. Parking by the road and running up to the bridge, which is where I took the main picture from 🙂  Another train was coming the other way so we saw both in the station.  Heading back to the car we spotted a waterfall which we tried to get a bit closer.  I had to give up as I picked a wrong spot to place my foot and nearly sank!

We then carried on in the car towards the village itself, starting with the train station which I had a quick look at – unfortunately it didn’t really mean much to me as I haven’t watched any Harry Potter film all the way through (I’ve maybe seen 15-20 minutes in total)….  See photos below 🙂 Continue reading “Goathland – aka Aidensfield or Hogwarts…”