Day 12 – Harrogate to Gretna – August 22, 2013
Before we had breakfast, we looked up some of the possible things we could do between Harrogate and my friend’s house just outside the Lake District. One option was to take the steam train that stopped at, among other points along the line, Haworth which is home to the Bronte Parsonage Museum – the former home of the literary sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne.
This idea was soon dismissed when we discovered it would be better to have a full day for the journey so it’s now on the bucket list for our next trip. My friend expected us after lunch and had we done this, it would have been after supper, if at all, since we had to get to Gretna.
We debated on driving straight through to Drybeck but a signpost along the road got our attention. Bolton Abbey. Since we like poking around ruins and what not, we thought why not? We weren’t disappointed.
We spent a few enjoyable hours here before making our way back up the hill to the car park. Along the way, we stopped in at a used bookstore in the village then in the Bolton Abbey gift shop. I bought a bracelet here (among other things) but haven’t worn it yet.
Back on the road, with another bag of loot stuffed into the boot, we began the trek to Drybeck. Soon after taking the exit at Penrith, we were on narrower roads (not that I mind) going over the mountains. We passed over at cattle grid and soon after, had to be on the lookout for sheep. Some were grazing well away from the road’s surface, others next to it.
The narrow road into Drybeck was extremely so with virtually no place to get over if you met an oncoming car. Thankfully, we didn’t. Once we got into the hamlet, we had no idea which house was my friend’s. We drove right past it! Anyway, a lady was riding her horse a bit ahead of us, so when we got close, Don put his window down and asked if she knew where our friend lived. She did and pointed us in the right direction – except we counted cottages wrong. One, which looked like a semi-detached, we counted as two so ended up at the house next door. Being in a valley, cell phone reception was the pits, but after losing Pam trying to call on Don’s mobile, he finally got a signal and got her back. He suggested she come out into the road and she did. She was so close to where we were, we heard her door close! I had backed the car into the driveway next door so I didn’t have far to drive to get into the proper driveway.
The weather was gorgeous – warm and sunny and perfect for sitting in the garden. My friend’s dog, Sid, loves to play ball, but he doesn’t like to give it up when he brings it back all slobbery and slimy.
In addition to her dog, her ‘grand-dog’ Zen was there. Not as into playing ball as Sid, but he was more into wading in the pond, much to my friend’s chagrin.
After an enjoyable afternoon abeit much too short, we began our drive to Gretna. This time we weren’t as fortunate to not meet cars on the narrow road with no passing places. This time we met oncoming cars and had to back up down the road until I could slip into the driveway for a farmer’s field. Nae fun.
We made one final stop before we hit the Scottish border to see if we had the directions to Barrasgate House from back in 2005 when we stayed there. I didn’t have anything in my emails on my laptop but after some searching, hubby found the information on his iPad. Not that it mattered, “Sat Nav Sally” got us there in the end, just brought us in from the other direction so that it was on our right instead of our left. Now we were back in familiar territory. I didn’t need the sat nav or the atlas for the rest of today.
Once we got settled, we did a quick online search for a place for supper and decided on Smiths Hotel at Gretna Green just up and over the road from the historic Blacksmith’s Shop.
There had been mixed reviews about the restaurant but we had an excellent meal, the service was great so our only issue was this modern place (and if memory serves, it was under construction in 2005 when we were in the area) so close to the Blacksmiths’ Shop. It just seemed so out of place.
Once we got back to Barrasgate House, I realized the lens cap for my camera was gone. I’d had it all along and even at supper so we decided that since the hotel wasn’t too far out of our way, we’d stop by there before our leaving the area and see if it had been turned in.
Let’s play SEEKING SARAH SHAND!
Tomorrow we’ll be off to Largs with stops at Caerlaverock Castle and Sweetheart Abbey and more if time permits. It’s really hard to believe that our holiday is almost over.