We drove across the neck of England from the Lake District on the west side to Newcastle on the east coast – the island is only about eighty miles wide at that point, making it a pretty quick trip across the country. Also a good spot to build a wall to keep the unruly Scots out of the Roman Empire.
Okay that was a long time ago. The wall’s hard to see now, though there’s a good portion left around Cawfield. But if you think you’ve missed it, and then you find your car surrounded by cows, you’ve missed it.
Does it feel like the first week of November all year ’round in England? It was the blessed Fourth of July. We were freezing.
On our way down from the wall we met a cheerful local by the name of William who’d never been to the States but whose son was in Minneapolis. “Y’everr been to Minnesota? It’s hyoooge!” I think he said he saw the Stones back in ’65. He was dog-sitting a skittish German Shepherd who almost jumped into the lake when a crowd of schoolchildren passed by. William, you made our day.
Edinburgh’s a big, tight jumble of a town. Very cool. Plus at 56 degrees North the sun sets at 10:30 or so.
Gives you pause, doesn’t it?
The Forth Bridges
About 20 minutes west of town is the deliciously overengineered nineteenth-century Forth Rail Bridge. One option is to do what we did and park at the foot of the bridge to get a full appreciation of the bulk of it and listen to the trains clatter far overhead. But I think the best view may be from the town between the two spans (the more modern road bridge is from the 1950s) – I saw the full length of the rail bridge over my shoulder as we passed through town and now I’m kicking myself for not stopping and snapping one more shot.
Crux of Scottish identity, setting for the movie Braveheart, Stirling is really crowded now and the audio tour will set you back ten pounds. We walked around the castle a bit and had lunch.