Scotland, even the Lowlands, is a lot further away than Brussels or Paris, so our first night was spent at a camp site near Knutsford. We arrived at about 5:45 pm, and settled in, and when I posted a check-in on Facebook, a kind friend let me know that we were very near the Jodrell Bank telescope. So the next morning, we headed off there to have a look.
We decided to have lunch there, but it really wasn't very nice - you ordered something - a piece of quiche, for instance, or a sausage roll - and were offered a choice of chips or salad. This was the "salad":
After this, we headed on and finally crossed into Scotland. We spent that night in a hotel car park - one of the nice pubs that allow motorhomes under the BritStops scheme - in Leadhills, which was as beautiful as ever, and on Friday morning we arrived at the Swan Whisperer's brother's home in East Kilbride. We went out to lunch with him and his wife and then set off to Stirling.
However, we decided to go via the new Forth crossing, as it had just opened. This was a Big Mistake, as, instead of just adding one hour to our journey, as we had anticipated, it added a good two hours! But it was worth waiting for:
The hotel did a really good breakfast, including haggis! After this, we assembled into two coaches - we were asked to use the same coach all day, so they could be sure they weren't leaving anybody behind - and set off for Dunblane, where we saw the Cathedral:
The Leighton Library (which opened specially for our group - the librarian was brilliant and very informative):
Our after-dinner speaker was the author Val McDermid, and very good she was, too! I think everybody enjoyed her talk on how the Chalet School had influenced her life and writing.
Peter and Jane Facebook blog and whose first book is due out next month. I think this was the first time she had been asked to speak, although I am very sure it won't be the last!
By then, the weather - which had been glorious on the Saturday - had closed in again, and the Swan Whisperer and his brother had also run out of things to do, so they came and picked me up, and we headed on. Because we were quite early, we decided to visit the Falkirk Wheel, which the SW and I had long wanted to see. It was well worth the detour, especially as we were lucky enough to see it in action:
Then we took the SW's brother home, and headed south as far as just outside Wigan, where there was a canalside pub that allowed us to park up (Britstoppers, again), and we had dinner there. The weather was dreadful, though - after dinner, I went straight back to the van, and was soaked to the skin. The SW, however, had waited a few moments while making himself comfortable - and was bone dry!
That pattern of weather continued all day today as we drove south, but we got home about 5:00 pm, ready to sort out the van and do some washing before heading off again in 48 hours!