Continuing my account of my recent long weekend away, with a look at Lindisfarne Lime Kilns and the Gertrude Jekyll walled garden.
My previous post in this somewhat syncopated series which deals with the period 14-17 August inclusive started my coverage of Holy Island/ Lindisfarne. This post continues the story, taking us right up to the entrance to the castle itself.
THE LIME KILNS
The top of the lime kilns are not accessible on safety grounds, being open shafts, but one can explore them at ground level, and I found doing so incredibly rewarding. This is basically an interconnecting network of high ceilinged tunnels, with brickwork still in fine condition. There are some fine sea views as well, and some interesting information about the history and use of the kilns.
THE JEKYLL GARDEN
The walled garden, designed and laid out by Gertrude Jekyll (pronounced Jee-kull, not as Stephenson’s doctor is Jeck-ill) is very much in keeping with her original design which was an act of rebellion against formal Victorian gardens. There are some very interesting plants in there, and like the kilns it well repays a bit of exploring.
The latest in my mini-series about my long weekend away (14-17 August).
Welcome to the continuation of this mini-series about my long weekend away (see here and here for the earlier posts). This post looks at the journey from South Wingfield to Wooler and the first evening at our accommodation there.
THE JOURNEY NORTH
According to google the journey from South Wingfield to Wooler was going to take just over three hours (relatively quick because most of the distance could be covered on the M1/ A1, and even after leaving the A1 we were not going onto a minor road). A petrol stop early in the journey and a service station stop later added a little time to the basic estimate, but we still arrived at our destination by 17:40.
Then with the aid of a site map we located the particular property we were staying in (there are currently about 30 separate cottages on the site and more are being developed). Setting ourselves up did not take very long, although the fold out bed that I would be sleeping in caused momentary concern.
EXPLORING THE SITE
In the early evening my parents and I took a walk around the site, which proved quite rewarding, and was a good way to bring the day’s activities to a close.
An account of my day in Wick near the end of my recent Scottish holiday.
We have reached the last full day of my Scottish holiday (May 28 – June 5th), the Friday which I spent in Wick (a mix up over booking times meant that I had an extra day in Scotland after we were supposed to leave the house in which we had been staying, having missed the first day, so I was booked into a hotel in Wick, from whence I was departing early on the Saturday morning).
ARRIVING IN WICK
I was dropped at the Norseman Hotel in Wick, where I would be staying overnight. Unfortunately it was far too early to check in, but fortunately I was able to deposit my larger bag at the hotel which meant that I had at least some freedom of movement.
Wick derives from Old Norse and means ‘bay’ in English. It is most often seen as a place name ending, with -wich, as in Norwich, an alternative version. The -vik of Narvik in northern Norway derives from the same root. The fact that Wick has no prefix indicates that when it was first settled it was the only bay in the area that was considered significant.
My explorations started by following the Wick River inland. This was a nice walk, with lots of bird life in evidence along the way. When I got to back to Wick I explored the town itself. I also took the opportunity to locate the railway station and make sure I knew how to get there the following morning. After a visit to a cafe I was finally able to check in to the hotel. In the event I did not head back out until the following morning, being very tired. The hotel room was perfectly pleasant, although the wifi connection that the hotel so wants its guests to know about proved to be rather unreliable.
An account of the first part of Tuesday as I work through my Scottish holiday, from which I returned on Saturday just gone.
Welcome to the latest post in my account of my holiday in Scotland, from which I got home very late on Saturday (a combination of that, a long day of travel and poor internet connections at the hotel I stayed in on Friday are the reason I have not put a post up for a few days). Today I cover the first activities of the day after my birthday (See here for the main event of that day), when after a brunch we set off to visit Dunnet Head and the remains of St Mary Crosskirk, a 12th century chapel the burial ground of which is still very well preserved before going on a distillery tour in the afternoon.
Dunnet Head is the northernmost point of mainland Britain and is noted for its bird life, though I did not get to see much of the latter. There is an ordinance survey summit marker at the highest point of the head, a viewing area from which one can enjoy splendid sea views and a lighthouse designed by Robert Stephenson of the great engineering family which played a huge role in railway history (the novelist Robert Louis Stephenson was also of this family, being Robert of lighthouse fame’s grandson).
St Mary’s Crosskirk
The walk to access this ruin is in parts steep, including a staircase that looks more unpleasant to walk than it actually is. It also takes one past a wind farm, while there are some splendid views along the way. The chapel itself is missing its entire roof and part of its walls.
An account of a wildlife cruise on the afternoon of my birthday.
This post describes the main activity of the day of my birthday (Monday), a wildlife cruise. The route of the cruise was from John O’Groats harbour past Duncansby Head to Duncansby Stacks beyond and then back. There were a variety of sea birds on display, including guillemots, razor bills, shags and various breeds of gull. There are sometimes puffins in the area but I do not think we saw any that day. Also supposedly resident in these waters are seals and otters, but I saw neither. However it was a very enjoyable cruise.
The walk to the harbour starts along an open road with no footpath before one comes to the path that leads to the John O’Groats hotel, at which point you can access various locations, including the harbour. We boarded the boat with no problems, and by the time we set out on the cruise it was very full.
Although there were some signs of life in the open water it was only when we got level with the head and then the stacks beyond (for an explanation of what a stack is in this context visit this article which explains how they form) that we saw creatures in huge number. The guillemots predominated (they look a little like tiny penguins, although unlike the Antarctic’s most famous bird they can fly), but a few razor bills were in evidence, as were a number of shags (they look similar to a cormorant).
The boat arrived back at the harbour and after waiting for things to clear a bit we made our way back on to terra firma.
We took an exploratory route home, attempting to locate a route back which would eliminate the main road. This was unsuccessful, and we reverted to the route we knew. My mother’s shoes were causing her trouble by this stage, so my father went to fetch the van to the point where the path joins the road and I accompanied my mother to that meeting point. The problems with the homeward walk notwithstanding it was a very enjoyable day.
I have loads of photographs to go with this post and I hope you enjoy them:
An account of a visit to a ruined castle that nowadays doubles as a wildlife haven.
On the morning of my birthday we travelled to Wick to do some essential shopping, and on the way back as a warm up act to the main event of the day, a wildlife cruise which I shall write about in due time we called in at the ruins of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe.
RUIN AND WILDLIFE HAVEN
In it’s heyday this castle would have been an imposing sight (it was very obviously built to intimidate, and had little in the way of style), although its location is testament to the absence of any kind of field artillery – even Ballistae and scorpions as used by the Romans hundreds of years before it was built could have caused mayhem by targetting the rock formations around the castle and effectively subjecting those in the castle to a hail of rock fragments – in Scotland in that period. Nowadays it is an impressive ruin, and also home to many kinds of wildlife, both fauna and flora. There are some stunningly good views out over the sea. If you ever happen to be in this corner of Scotland it is worth a look, though it would not be the main event of one’s day.
My photographs begin with a few from before we got to the castle, cover the walk from the parking area to the castle and the castle itself:
A look at John O’Groats and its environs – pics from my first full day of this Scottish sojourn.
This post looks at my first full day of this Scottish sojourn, and at a walk we did from John O’Groats to the beginning of Duncansby Head. Duncansby Head is most north-easterly point of the British mainland, while a few miles down the road is Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of the British mainland.
THE END OF BRITAIN
Other than it’s geographical location John O’Groats itself has rather little to recommend it (the name derives from a 15th century Dutchman Jan de Groot – the dutch Groot being pronounced the same as groat, which way back when was a small silver coin worth fourpence), but the walk out towards Duncansby Head is interesting though rough in places. There is a lot of bird life in these parts that one would see no where else in Britain – birds that are mainly creatures of the arctic but which sometimes come south.
I chose some beers from the John O’Groats brewery (I opted for an oatmeal stout which in a quite dreadful pun is named ‘Deep Groat’).
Today as you will find has been much busier,but yesterday I was not fully recovered from being in transit for 23 hours.