Archive for July 2005

Stone Circles

We happened on this bronze age circle while bike riding on Saturday. A stone circle, barely marked from the road, and sitting quietly surrounded by farmer’s fields. The inner cairns are just under 4000 years old and were burial places for cremated remains. The outer ring is even older….
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border abbeys

This weekend was our first official Scottish vacation, we’d four days off work (thanks to an Aberdeen public holiday). So, ready to explore, we drove down to the borders for a camping vacation. Camping is different in Britain than in Canada (but I knew that from before, camping with Elspeth, Chris and Sian), it’s less of a destination, and more of a cheap way of travelling. We spent three nights in fields listening to cattle and sheep – but it was three very affordable nights away from home in fabulous places!

The first two pictures are the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey, one of the ruins we visited with our Historic Scotland Borders Pass. Walking through the arches in the early morning, before any other tourists had arrived, was pretty much magic.

Of course the leaderfoot bridge is pretty cool too, and looks as good in real life as in the tourist brochure.

No trip to the Borders would be complete without some sort of Sir Walter Scott reference – so we opted for a trip to “Scott’s view”. The story goes that he loved this spot so much that his horse stopped here out of habit when pulling Scott’s casket to his grave in Dryburgh Abbey.

I’d say the best tourist attraction is probably Melrose Abbey though. It’s fabulous audio tour really gave us an insight into what all these ruined buildings actually were used for. From a construction point of view, we really enjoyed the display on masonry (not the organization but the skill) at Jedburgh & would recommend it as well.

But we didn’t just take in architecture, it’s just the subject of most of our pictures. We spent time eating in lovely restaurants, drinking in cosy pubs, buying wool sweaters (and dreaming about being able to afford their cashmere versions [1 & 2]), and reading trashy magazines. Vacation doesn’t happen often enough…
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congrats to heather and shaun

Just south of the city is a fabulous stretch of small winding farming roads that were meant for cycling. They take you up (and up and up and up) and around hills, with views around every corner. We stopped to watch some lambs frolicking in a field, and then found that the cows lining the road were actually watching us.

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Of course any great cycling trip involves coffee, so we stopped at the Lairhillock Inn (which is 145m above sea level, more climbing than I ever did in Vancouver in a day [1]) and found that we were hungry enough to stop for their Sunday carvery lunch. Have we said that we love it here?

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Congrats to Cory’s cousin Heather who tied the knot with Shaun this weekend in Ottawa. We’d have loved to be there and help them celebrate, but Aberdeen’s a wee bit far.

[1] In Vancouver the cycling was either up a mountain, which I didn’t do, or relatively flat. Around Aberdeen it’s up-down-all-around constantly, rewarding but painful.
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