Sunday started in the same way as Saturday: up earlier than normal for a cooked breakfast and hypnotic staring over the bay. After breakfast and a digestion-aiding rest, we checked out of the hotel and started the drive home.
We stopped off in Gretna on the way back for the usual reason (petrol) then because we wanted to stop off at the more visible bits of Hadrian’s Wall, we kept travelling east at the border rather than turning south to Carlisle and the M6. Even with the help of GPS and Autoroute, we got a bit lost on the winding country roads but ended up at Birdowald fort eventually. We went through the visitors centre and around the foundations but … weren’t very impressed. We could see that it clearly had been a huge achievement when it was built and we tried really hard to be enthused but, we were probably too tired or cool views/historical building-ed out or something: we just couldn’t get interested in it. We thought about walking along the wall to a milecastle but John’s ankle was a bit weak so we decided against it. We did feel generally meh about the whole thing.
So back in the car, we roughly followed the path of the wall to just after Hexham. Until a year ago, I hadn’t ever heard of Hexham and now I’ve been through there twice (when Katherine and I went on a horse riding holiday last year and now). I think it’s the new place to be (for a short while).
The drive home, until we reached the A1(M) at Darlington, was quite pretty and fun (lots of hills) but like all journeys home, it felt longer than it is because the focus is just on getting home rather than the fun holiday ahead.
We got home around tea time so bought some bread and cheese from Tesco’s (with Scottish money which confused the cashiers) and snacked with the cats.
All in all, the trip was lots of fun. The position of hotel and our room within it really made the break. We would go back to that hotel again – but only if we could request that room (I would recommend it, but probably on that basis – I suspect some of the other rooms in the main house are nice but that’s only a suspicion rather than knowing for sure). I’m sure if we had more time up there, we would have gone further afield – we only travelled in a radius of about 10 miles from the hotel – and since we weren’t enamoured with Hadrian’s work, we would have been better skipping that, doing something else in Scotland and coming back down the west coast/M6 again. But it was good – and not too far away really.
Dumfries and Galloway, the bit of Scotland that isn’t too far away but is still very nice. They should use that as an advertising slogan.