Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Scottish Borders and Hadrian's Wall

One of the worst things about being unemployed is having so much time on your hands. This is especially frustrating when you are surrounded by countless cheap travel options but don't want to spend any money because you don't know when your next paycheck will be. Since we got back to Edinburgh Amy and I have been really good with our money so we decided to reward ourselves with a little day trip :)

Car rentals are rather cheap so in all we each spent about 30 pounds on the rental, gas, entrance fees and a few snacks (it would have been cheaper but Amy got suckered into buying the extra insurance on the car). We packed our own lunch and snacks, but it wouldn't be a proper road trip without stopping at a little bakery for some delicious Scottish desserts.

We had been planning a trip to the Scottish Borders for quite a while but Amy's license got lost in the mail so we haven't been able to rent a car for a few months. Thankfully, when we were back in Canada she was able to get a replacement. So off we went! The area is called the Borders because, surprisingly, it is very near the Scotland/England border. Although, because it is the same country its not really much of a border. There are two big rocks, one on each side of the road, with Scotland and England written on either side to mark the border. But I'm getting ahead of myself...we visited a few abbeys in Scotland before we made it to the border.

The firs abbey was called Kelso. It was very much a ruin, with not a lot to see. This abbey was free to get into, but was closed the day we were there. This wasn't horribly disappointing though because we were still able to take some pictures while standing outside the gates. Compared to the other ruins we've seen it really wasn't all that special and I won't even bother putting a picture of it up. Kelso was about an hour and a half from Edinburgh. The next stop was Jedburgh, another half hour down the road. Amy was very excited to see this abbey. A few years ago she found a picture of it and has been wanting to see it in person ever since. It didn't dissapoint! This place was beautiful and we had great weather to match. We were the only ones at the abbey which added to the beauty. I don't think it would have been as amazing if we had been one of 150 tourists snapping photos.

We both decided that it would be the perfect place for a wedding. I even did a little bridal walk to make sure. Yep, perfect.

As you can see it was very sunny! Amy didn't even have her coat on. Yeah for warmth!

Our next stop was Hadrian's Wall across the English border. This wall is REALLY old. Definitely the oldest thing we've seen so far. The Romans started building it in 112 AD to keep out the Pictish people (the guys in Scotland at the time). Besides the historical appeal, one of the reasons I wanted to see the wall was because it was in one of my favourite movies, Robin Hood. Kevin Costner walks along Hadrian's Wall at the beginning of the movie and eventually comes across this now famous spot, known as the Sycamore Gap. So, we were driving along the road when we suddenly come across this tree in the distance! Yeah :) We found a car park and started walking. And we walked (more like climbed) and walked and walked. I guess we didn't realize how far down we drove to get to the car park. We had to climb up and down four rocky mountain like hills to get to the tree. It was cold and windy and quite beautiful. The wall ran all the way along these hills and most of it is in realy good condition for being so old.

Thats me half way up the next hill. The tree was just over the next hill but Amy decided to stay where she was.

I made it! It doesn't look like much but I'm sure in the summer when the leaves and grass are green it would be a lot nicer. I didn't go down the hill because it was starting to get dark and we had a LONG hike back to the car and I didn't want to be hiking down huge rocky hills in the dark. I didn't really get a good picture of it but if you google Sycamore Gap you'll see some nice ones.

We're almost done at this point. The hill in the background is one of three or four that we climbed. We're crazy.

In other news...Amy got a job! Yippee!!! She starts on Thursday at Gala Bingo! She's not exactly sure what she'll be doing but all the flatmates are excited to hit up the bingo hall with the old people. My job search is still ongoing but hopefully I'll get something soon.

As always, we've put all of our pictures up on our flickr account: www.flickr.com/iheartscotland.


Craig said...

Wow, a lot of neat stuff. Not a bad vacation for unemployed people.

Wendy said...

That abbey in Jedburgh is gorgeous!!! And yes, it would be a perfect wedding spot.

Congrats on the job, Amy! I'm sure you'll get one soon, too, Katie - and I hope it will be a fun one!


Anonymous said...

There is much of interest at Jedburgh Abbey and the building is spectacular but for a wedding, Dryburgh Abbey is way ahead. In a beautifull setting with mature trees. My daughter was married there. See http://burnbraemill.blogspot.com/