Conversations from the Scottish Highlands and Yorkshire Dales
We arrived in England from the Eurotunnel and took the quickest way north to Glasgow. No meandering through the pretty back lanes for us this time. Just straight highway driving with thousands and thousands of Brits.
Wow, is all I can say! The Scottish Highlands are such a stunning place. I had never been to Scotland, so thrilled that we decided to change plans. What we saw is not the pretty, lush green landscape of the Yorkshire Dales. It is immense, rugged beauty, with windswept ridges, a mystical purple haze of heather that covers the hills and long glassy lochs that look so tempting but with freezing water.
There are spectacular old castle ruins and fearless mountain bikers riding through the remote hills. It must be such a harsh environment in winter.
We took a fun steam train ride through the countryside. The shaggy Highland cows are just gorgeous. Every evening the dark, ominous clouds roll in. Such a magical place, steeped in history.
Back south to my beloved Yorkshire Dales and a few glorious days wandering through the area. We took a beautiful walk up to Malham Cove. The spectacular limestone pavement was formed back when it was scraped bare by the ice cover, 12 000 years ago. Since then, the slightly acidic rainwater has dissolved the rock away along faults and cracks. Amazing how the plant life begins to form and take place in such adverse conditions.
We got to experience spectacular waterfalls where the Kings of England would contemplate the world. The boys took great delight in telling us that “money does grow on trees,” when they came across a money tree beside a babbling stream. Hadrian’s Wall, built at the peak of the Roman Empire, where Emperor Hadrian stood and surveyed the northern extent of his empire, was an interesting find.
We continued south through Wales (a country where we could not decipher words including town names like Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn), through the Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons. Again we found magnificent rolling iridescent green hills with the most amazing stone cottages and as the boys would say “infested with white, woolly dots” (sheep). And we thought there were a lot of sheep in New Zealand! The sheep and cattle appear to suffer no hardships like their Australian counterparts, with an abundance of feed.
Enjoyed lovely hospitality in Abergavenny from people we had recently met in France. The boys loved being able to play again with someone their age. Lovely days were spent wandering through fields. So blessed with great weather.
We were planning on heading to Ireland as it was on our bucket list, but due to costs with the Australian dollar crashing and all of us getting tired, we opted to spend a week down in Minehead and experience a British Coastal town. We stayed in a cabin with gorgeous English gardens in the hills. Water does amazing things to plants! Had a beautiful afternoon tea party and croquet game with friends near Taunton. A relaxing week to recharge the batteries and catching up on schoolwork before heading on the time machine to Paris.