After taking a 5 week tour of Ireland with my good friend Lynne, I have headed over to the neighboring island to the east to do yet another clockwise tour here for the next 3 months. I started out last Thursday, June 15th, by taking a ferry from the docks in Dublin over to Holyhead, Wales.
When I arrived at the terminal, I had another rental car waiting for me, this time painted “pull me over red!”
I drove to my first destination a short distance up the coast to a lovely little hostel just outside the charming walled town of Conwy and cozied up for the night in that picturesque setting.
In the morning I was fed a substantial full English breakfast at the hostel and soon I was down in the charming town and taking photos of the iconic castle before venturing northward to my next destination, Liverpool.
As I drove north I stumbled upon yet another castle by chance when I pulled off the highway for a break.
I came upon Flint Castle. What a fun accidental find!
Soon I arrived in Liverpool and yet another great hostel located just minutes and within walking distance of what I wanted most to see while I was there, Albert Dock.
I walked over to Albert Dock and started exploring all that it had to offer, which was a lot. These docks are where many many emigrants departed from for a new life elsewhere; America, for example.
There were so many interesting things to look at!
Then I came upon the Maritime Museum and enjoyed seeing its many treasures for a while…
Liverpool was a delight but the road northward beckoned me so I was soon on my way headed to the Lake District near the border of England and Scotland. On subsequent trips to Scotland I have often driven right past the LakeDistrict but this time I wanted to make sure I visited it and am I ever glad I did.
As I headed to my next destination, I went through the scenic and lovely town of Windemere. There I stumbled across a wonderful little exhibit of Beatrix Potter’s work. Having always been a big fan of her books, like The Tale of Peter Rabbit, the kid in me just had to go have a peek. So much fun!
My first destination was a hostel on a lake at Ambleside. Utterly charming, relaxing and downright divine!
I sat by the lake, chillin’, eating some great fish ‘n chips, the rest of the day watching families enjoy the sunshine.
This day had been absolutely perfect and the evening was a peaceful ending lakeside with a bed that had a view to die for!
The next morning was equally gorgeous and soon I was driving a bit further north through more breathtaking landscapes to my next destination in the Lake District, Keswick.
Before I knew it I had arrived in Keswick, found the fantastic hostel I would be staying at for the night at yet another outstanding location, and was soon wandering about this delightful town’s lanes, taking in all the sights, smells, sounds and delights it had to offer up!
There were two shops in particular that I really enjoyed. The first called Cherrydidi that featured handmade artisan’s work. They had beautiful things at every turn of exquisite design and craftsmanship. The shop owners were particularly delightful, Jean, Jade & Jaime. They even have a mascot, Zak, the Collie dog who raises money for Mountain Rescue Search Dogs, and his side kick, Jesse, who really likes the warm pavement just outside the shops’ door! Check out their unique handmade gifts by very talented artists at www.cherrydidi.com!
The second shop that really won my heart was a fudge shop that made delicious melt in your mouth lemon meringue fudge! Finger licking good!
Later in the day I went down to the lake and took a boat ride around it and watched some of the runners come into the finish line at a triathlon that was being held that weekend. What a busy place!
In the morning, I drove around the lake one last time and then drove a bit further north just a bit to Carlisle.
There I toured around it’s beautiful cathedral and grounds before venturing further north to Scotland.
Was oh-so-happy to see the sign “Welcome to Scotland” again!
Not too long after crossing the border and was heading west toward Dumfries, I found another castle to explore – Drumlanrig Castle. Although the castle itself wasn’t quite open for the season, I was able to walk around and enjoy it’s beautifully manicured grounds and gardens and had the opportunity to enjoy the castles’ elegance from the outside.
My first night in Scotland was in Ayrshire in a quaint little hamlet called Loans.
I stayed at the Old Loans Inn for two nights as I explored the northern coast between there and Glasgow. It was a very nice place and very reasonable. It was a real “treat” for myself as most of the time I stay in hostels. My room even had a nice big bath tub with jacuzzi jets. I was living high on the hog! The best part however, was making friends with a really nice gentleman from Northern England, by the name of Robert. He too was visiting; he had come to visit his aunt who lives in nursing home nearby. We shared many a conversation together over meals in and betwixt our days’ business.
In fact, since he had grown up in the area, he told me about the coastal route north of Loans and suggested I take a drive and enjoy the scenery. So I did, and was pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t planned on taking that route to Glasgow, but am sure glad I did!
One of the towns I visited was Largs. A nice, resort town, and bedroom community for Glasgow. Yacht clubs, beaches, etc. Very nice!
Next I visited the town of Renfrew; how could I not with the word ‘frew’ in it?!
I found the town hall (hard to miss in the center of town) and it also served as the local museum as well as for other administration functions. Didn’t discover anything about any Frew ancestors, but much to my surprise I did discover that it was the ‘cradle’ for another very prominent name in my ancestral lineage – Stewart! Fancy that!
In addition to the museum, I also visited the local parish church. Luck would have it that it also happened to be their fundraiser day of having coffee and cookies for sale too. I filled up my to go cup, and a nice selection of cookies and I was ready for the rest of the way up the road, and over the river Clyde to my next hostel in Glasgow for the night.
Even though it was only Wednesday, June 21st, and therefore still part of the first week in this portion of the trip, I am going to do a complete and separate blog post for Glasgow. The posts are becoming much too long to include a whole weeks worth of destinations. I will try just covering 1-3 days worth instead and maybe, depending on the location, a post might only include one destination. I am almost caught up with myself at this point.
So until the next time I have time to post as I travel, I will close for now. You can look forward to hearing about Glasgow, Loch Lomond, Inverary Castle and Charles Renne McIntosh’s architectural masterpiece that he designed and built for R.B. Blackie called the “Hill House” in Healdsburgh, Scotland.