Our friends in the north


My children are southern children, born and raised in the south of England. But I want them to grow up aware that the UK is a wide and varied country – in people, cultures and traditions if not in landmass. So, this weekend we all went to the very top-corner of England – and even further, to the bottom of Scotland!

Thanks to our friends Adam and Sadie for inviting us, letting us stay in their new home and making us feel all-round super-welcome.

We travelled up Thursday afternoon, covering hundreds of miles in just three and a half hours on the train, which was pretty impressive; and we came back on Saturday (because: cheap train fares) in about the same time.

Hadrian's WallI’ve put up a whole album of Cumbria pictures on Flickr, if you’re interested in seeing our adventures. We visited Hadrian’s Wall – which was a real treat for me, to see all that 2,000 year old history still standing – and Birdoswald Roman Fort, part of the Wall defences.

Despite it being April the sun was out and it was (mostly) t-shirt weather, so of course when we found a river the kids all wanted to go in for a paddle – and of course some of them got wetter than planned!16499009023_7b5b046d82_o

The next day we took the girls further north than they’ve ever been before in their entire lives – to the wilds of Scotland!

The Lovely Melanie and I have been there before, of course – on our honeymoon – but that was almost 15 years ago and to Edinburgh rather than the west coast, so it was all new to us.

The weather was MUCH colder that day (I put on every long-sleeved top I had!) when we stepped out at Gretna Green to see what all the fuss was about regarding elopement and marriages and so forth.

Welcome to Scotland!After Gretna we came “back home” to England, visiting nearby Carlisle, which was nice enough. The cathedral, in particular, though tiny by cathedral standards, is a gem, and our girls and Adam and Sadie’s boys, were happy enough on an Easter Egg hunt while we marvelled at the architecture and history.

I also got to see the McVities factory, too. Only from the outside, but it was a great moment for me, to understand where Digestive biscuits are born…

And then, after a whirlwind 48 hours, it was back down south to the nation’s capital – our home.

As much as I genuinely love the bold, open scenery of the north it’s not my natural habitat. I don’t think I could ever live there, and was glad to hear the Lovely Melanie say the same as we pulled into Euston station. 🙂

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