All posts by Mr A

WHW day 1

Well we’ve just dropped the girls off in Milngavie to start the West Highland Way. Meanwhile me and the fluff balls are at Mugdock country park having a cuppa on a serious slant! The plan is to meet the girls again at Drymen where the path crosses a road next to a car park. Well I say road but Google maps suggests it is very narrow, maybe with low trees and with the world’s smallest passing places! Going to head up early in case I need to find somewhere else to stop. Might take me all that time to reverse back down!

Guten Abend

Well that was a long few days. Left home about 8 on Friday night. Git thrown off the A1 and sent to the coast so ended up stopping at Wetherby services at 2 for a poor few hours. Back on the drive and finished near the tunnel for a planned stop. All very civilized.
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Today was a case of getting on the tin can that is the eurotunnel which was a whole new experience. Then a drive through France, Belgium and Luxembourg to land here. A large (130 pitch) stellplatz on the Mosel. Circus was on next door. Sounded good!
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Passed some weird and wonderful things. The very cool looking Euro space centre in Belgium for instance. And I’m too tired to remember anything else. Hopefully someone else fills the blanks!
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York

Seeing as we had decided not to visit London after all, and we had decided to move on from Carsington we spent some time seeing what we could book on the way up the road. Much to everyone’s surprise we managed to get a night at Rowntree Park in York. Surprise as it is almost impossible to get into, let alone at last minute.  But seeing as we were here we had a lot on.

First about the site – pretty well  laid out, big hard pitches and from what I can see most pitches are separated by a hedge, not a huge one but enough to stop people getting a bit too close. The facilities are on stilts, it’s been flooded round here a few times in recent memory. And if you want a riverside pitch…..well let’s just say it’s not by the river – check Google maps out.

So first stop – Micklegate Bar Museum. A fairly small museum in the Micklegate Bar oddly enough. Couple of floors of exhibits, quite a bit on the War of the Roses, and York history. A film on the changing style of armour was maybe a little long winded, but made up for by the armour lying around that you could put on. In fact everything was hands on, or heads in in the case of helmets. I’ve no idea how any knight ever fought though. That stuff is seriously heavy!!

A quick run around part of the town (including a number of parts I’d not seen in a number of previous visits) and it was our next stop – Barley Hall, which is a relatively new find in York terms. Another hands on museum, some of it about the people who had lived in it and then a chunk of Horrible HIstories type material. Best you have a look at the site for more info on that one.

The final planned stop was Jorvik DIG. We didn’t get as much time here as I think we may have liked but we had managed to get on the last tour of the day. And, as often seems to happen to us, we were the only 3. Our guide, Matt, was incredibly enthusiastic about his work, and you couldn’t help being carried away by it. So what’s on the tour? Well we started off with a little briefing about archeology generally, looking at aerial photos, and then some artifacts – well, junk as he called it, given that that’s exactly what most of this stuff was. Then, plastic trowel in hand, we wandered into 4 simulated digs. I was quite skeptical at first but as you dig away at tiny rubber pellets looking for clues and things it becomes quite interesting – no, it does. A lot of digging, finding and chatting before we finished the digs and moved on to bone guessing – what animal, what body part? It would be fair to say I sucked at this bit. But fun nonetheless. All too soon it was closing time though. I’ve seen people knock this on TripAdvisor because of a number of things – but I couldn’t agree less with them. I’m not into archeology at all, any exhibition we are at the “finds” of plates etc are what I always skip, but this was very interesting, and somewhat intriguing. Something very different and highly recommended.

Don’t, don’t you want me?

Back to Tatton Park tonight for a “picnic concert”. No idea what to expect so it was a total surprise once we were in. Miles of people sitting at tables with all sorts of goodies on them. And some of these guys really went to town! These were no picnics but banquets!

We found a spot further forward than we probably expected. First up Toyah who did about 6 songs, only half of which were her own.

Next up, Howard Jones. Great stuff, most of his I could remember. And then a short break before the main attraction.

White stage, white instruments and then and starting in black. The Human League. And they surprised me. They sounded as good as ever! And the crowd was great. Don’t you want me getting the crowd treatment before the band started. Electric Dreams to wrap up the night before some fireworks over the water.

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Great setting, pretty good weather (it threatened a bit) and some great music. Good night all in all.

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Segwaaaaaaay!

The reason for the need to get as far south as possible last night was this morning’s early start at Tatton Park. And the reason? A session on a Segway. For those that don’t know what a Segway is it’s a two wheeled powered transport type thing where you control the movement of it with your weight. And its remarkably easy to get the hang of to be honest. In no time we were in the forest zipping around through the trees.

And then there was….the incident! Not exactly sure what happened but me and Mrs A had a bit of a coming together resulting in me being jettisoned about 10 metres through the air and landing solidly on my back. In front of six of the people about to go out after us – after brushing myself off and getting back on I pointed out to them that I had just given them a very practical lesson! A bit tender, but still intact, we spent an hour or so at the park just sitting out in the scorching sun. Ridiculously hot!!!

Loch Eribol

It’s 9.40pm and I’ve been sat here for almost 3 hours now. Where is here? Here.

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We had dinner earlier but decided to move on a bit and see if we could find somewhere else to stop. And then found a hole in the ground next to the road that was fairly big and fairly flat. It was a little windy but the weather was a whole lot better than the earlier cloud and mist round at Durness. So we did what any normal people would do…..Got the awning out, put out one of the windshields and plonked ourselves outside. And just watched the water and the changing light on the hills and rocks. It was sheer bliss. I’m still watching the sun setting now. And also the tide going out by the looks of it. But the water looks pretty peaceful and all is well in the world tonight.

Thaw-pe Park

Today’s outing wasn’t too far from the site. Thorpe Park. Not really my thing but the girls like theme parks. Extra thermals and full waterproofs were needed as it was perishing. In fact it even snowed for a chunk. That meant 3 of the rides were off but the place still seemed fairly busy to me. Except the water rides that was. No problem there. Hoods up and heads down. No getting wet here ;).
Pretty good day though. I only had to stand around waiting while the girls went on one ride. The rest I actually got on too –  a minor miracle!

Wish ‘ewe were here?

Leaving on a Sunday after lunch is always a mixed feeling for me. On one hand it signifies a few days off. On the other the disaster that is Sunday drivers! So I wasn’t expecting to make particularly good time on the first part of our journey up the A9 to Inverness. But despite some crawling traffic we still made good time (I’m sure my watch must’ve stopped).

Then a quick hop across the country and round some single track roads (coming head to head with a 4×4 pick up towing a speedboat on a bend) we found ourselves spat out at Poolewe on the west coast of Scotland. We were booked in at the Camping and Caravanning Club site up there as we intended spending a few nights. But there were plenty of wild camping spots for those that just want a shorter stop.

Highlights of the trip? Two spring to mind. Firstly the big stag that was bouncing around the field next to the road quite late in the day. And secondly the scenery. As it always is. It differs all the way up and perhaps not as you’d expect. Beyond the Cairngorms National Park is flattens out quite a lot. But a few miles out of Inverness and headed west and it picks up again.

Parts of the road we had been on before when we did our Highland Tour, but it in the Autumn it has a totally different quality about it. One I’ll be enjoying a lot more of for sure.

About a 4 and a half hour journey and we have landed though. Got to love the view from the site too. It’s supposed to have some great sunsets. Here’s hoping we see one.

 

Windswept and interesting

No, not me. Well I was one half of that anyway. A day trip today. And a somewhat bizarre one. Every year, in September, there’s something called “Doors Open Day“. The idea is that places and buildings that aren’t usually open to the public open for a couple of days to allow people in, and free of charge. The downside is you need to know when it’s going to happen, where and get booked early for some of them.
I’ve been to a couple of places before over the years, usually small local castles. But today was really one for Mrs A. Don’t ask me why but she is fascinated by these things.
Wind turbine
So when she found out that one of the venues was the Burnfoot Wind Farm on Glendevon Estate she was utterly beside herself.
Parking in “nearby” Tillicoultry” there was a bus journey up to it of about 35 minutes. The road isn’t really designed for buses. And that’s the bit before you turn on the farm road! After that it was quite an interesting journey in pas the reservoirs and threading between the hills. Sometimes the road was so steep that it felt like the moment on a plan when you leave the ground and are pointed straight at the heavens. Beautiful views though – well until you get to the wind farm of course (not a fan, can you tell??).
When we get there we find this at the top?
Tent at Burnfoot
Yup, a tent on a wind farm! And yes, it was windy. Lots of info, tea and cake, along with some of the guys that were involved in the building of the turbines and sticking them up there. And then we got a look inside one. Very interesting stuff much to my surprise. EDF, who run it now, had sent an engineer up to chat about the workings of them.
Inside a wind turbine
I still don’t like them but it’s quite fascinating the whole process from finding where to put one to getting it running.
Why don’t I like them? Well we actually saw this one being built a year or so ago when walking in this area. We struggled to the top of a hill and I was waiting to be rewarded with a lovely view. But I’m always disappointed when I see the view littered with these things. Each to their own I guess. What do you make of them? Leave a comment below.

Into the Olympic Park

It’s been a long time coming but today we finally made it to the Olympic Park. And wow! What a setting. Some of it seems to float over the roads of London. We had seen some of it from the outside yesterday but it has to be seen to be believed.

Olympic Park

I’m already into the park, over the main road and that’s the Velodrome

We started off by the Velodrome, looking down onto the containers the bikes and equipment are kept in. The Germans out looking after their bikes. The pedestrian pathway goes over a gap between the storage area and the Velodrome. So if you hung around long enough I’m sure you would see some of the guys going in.

Bikes at the Velodrome

Wonder if I could borrow one?

Spent some time in the BP cyclorama, which involved a 360 degree screen and rotating floor. And then the Acer exhibition with a rather cool show and some games after that.

Wandered past the entrance to the athletes village, and spotted the NBC broadcasting booth. And who was in there? Michael Phelps.

NBC Phelps

It’s OK Mike – the hair looks fine

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