My first tour was with Rabbie’s, an award winning small group tour company. I was by far the youngest on this trip, but it turned out to be great fun. The buses can fit 16 people but we only had 5 including myself so everyone got a window seat to themselves. And this tour ran a bit differently from the ones that followed. You chose what level of accommodation you wanted, and the bus would drop you off there and pick you up in the morning. So evenings were all yours to explore as you wanted, and generally, or at least for me, you didn’t spend them with the rest of the group.
The tour I chose was a 5 day tourney to York, the Dales, Lake District & Hadrian’s Wall. I’ve wanted to go to Hadrian’s Wall for as long as I can remember, so I figured why not now.
Our first stop, after being picked up in Edinburgh, was the world famous Scott’s View, overlooking the River Tweed and the Cheviot Hills. The story goes that Sir Walter Scott would ride his horse up here for inspiration. At his funeral, they included his horse in the pack that pulled his coffin, and the horse came up here and refused to move for more than an house.
Next stop was the Jedburgh Abbey. Built in 1196, this is where King David 1st died at age 24 (from fasting) and was also Mary Queen of Scots’ castle (and eventual jail).
We had a quick stop at the English/Scottish border:
Then carried on til we arrived at a part of Hadrian’s Wall. The Romans built the wall back in the first century. They had intended to take over Scotland, but faced unexpected opposition by the Blue Picts. Instead, they build a wall, which became the border point for the Roman Empire. It’s 80 roman miles (about 74 modern miles), with a tower at each mile and a fort every 10 miles. The wall is 4-6 feet high, but occasionally has an 11 foot ditch on either side, as it was built along a cliff (an added measure of defence).
I don’t know why I was so obsessed with Hadrian’s Wall as a kid, but I was. I read non-fiction and fiction that took place around it, and just knew I needed to see it myself. One day I’d love to walk it (apparently people do it each year!), but I’ll have to get into a little better shape first.
The views around here were just lovely, so I was happy to stop in Alston, on top of a 2,000 foot hill, to snap a few pics.
Also found this guy in the parking lot. At least the people around here know who to call when they have problems…
Our final stop on this very long day was in Keswick, which is where we stayed for two nights. It’s a lovely little town, with a beautiful lake and garden (conveniently located right beside my hostel).