Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Holiday Trip - part 2 Names and Places

All the way down through Scotland it had been fairly sunny, but that changed around the border and it started getting rainy and very misty. So although I could see it was rugged and mountainous (Lake District) it just wasn’t the kind of weather to take photos in. :-(

One thing that was striking though, was the difference between Highland Scotland and the English villages we were passing through. The highlands have a harsh beauty. If highland Scotland were a goddess she’d be a warrior huntress with wind-blown hair. The English countryside we passed through was beautiful in a completely different way. Lush, almost over-the-top pretty. England as a goddess would have curls and dimples and charm you into staying her devoted slave forever.

We passed through village after village of utterly adorable cottages arranged tastefully in the countryside, like flowers in a vase. White washed and bright brick cottages nestled in amongst plushy trees and roses everywhere! Creeping roses around doors and windows, bushes of roses overflowing tiny gardens... and if there were no gardens there were flower boxes attached to walls and window ledges all bursting and overflowing with flowers.

Travel on back into the countryside and you'd be driving between high green hedgerows or completely submersed in green tree tunnels. Willow trees dripping leaves onto the roads as your drove under them and blowsy fields seemed to lie dozing gently, gorged on grasses and wildflowers. A stark contrast to the wild moors of North Scotland that look scoured and scrubbed to the stones by winds and ancient glaciers.

Northern Scottish villages tend to tuck themselves into folds of hills and valleys to protect themselves from the weather. Seaside fisher towns can be especially grim… or dour to use a more apt Scottish term! Fisher towns in North Scotland cling grimly to the coastline, like barnacles on rocks. Some are truly ugly, some have a quaint beauty, none of them are soft and pretty.

Even the plants and colours are softer. In Scotland we had left behind a summer in sharp yellows and purples. Prickly gorse with masses of golden flowers had just given way to bright yellow broom and smoky mauves and purples of prickly thistles and dry shrubby heather… but in England the wildflowers were in clear pinks and blues and not a single thorn or prickly plant to be seen anywhere.

It was very hard not to fall madly in love with the English countryside… and none of us even tried. We gulped down view after view of luxurious blossoming hills and fields.

The names were just as gorgeous, especially Border places. I wrote them down as we passed by…

In Southern Scotland We passed Dowally, Bankfoot, Buttergask and Tarneybackle farm, Shap and Ecclefechan.

North Enland is even better. On the trips up and down I saved (and savoured) such glorious place names as Wigan Parbold, Congleton, Shugborough, Webbs of Wichbold near Droit of Wich.

Knook and Knock, New Biggin and Nether Pobbleton and my own personal favourites – the river Earwash and the military base at… Warcop!


Anonymous said...

A Big hello from Shugborough, I ma glad you enjoyed our name, and next time please do pay us a visit - Shugborough is a visitor attraction and stateley home, the ancestral home to the earls of licfield - you can find out more at www,


Michelle said...

Hey!! What a delightful surprise. Welcome Mr/Ms Shugboroughian... or are you just a Shuggy? :-D

I went and looked at your website. What a lovely place and it certainly does look well worth a visit. I'll definitely mark it on the map as a place to visit. Thank you for taking the time to reply. :-)

Jean-Jacques said...

I love your Scotland and England Goddess comparison analogy! Yes and the names of places in those regions ARE beautiful - "Hobbiton" wouldn't be out of place! :-)

Genie said...

Much as there is to appreciate about southwest Texas, there simply isn't this kind of beauty. Ugly homes and hardscrabble countryside. Cluttered towns, messy yards, poverty. I don't know what I'd do with myself if I lived around such beauty, you have to really look for it here!

You didn't even need pictures for this blog entry, your descriptions were quite visual. I can see all of it. It's lovely. You make me want to run outside and pretty up my cluttered, messy, ugly yard and then work my way down the street!

Genie said...

Oh, and now I want to rename our grass farm (property owned by my mother in law but being worked by us). Damn you and your list of cool names from your travels! "Pinto Farm" sounds so pathetic compared to "Knook and Knock Farm!"

Michelle said...

Hi Jacques

Thank you and yes, Hobbiton would fit in perfectly!

Thank you Genie
Oh my, there are areas and vilages in England that you could just fall into and drown they are so gorgeous. Cities are another story - all big cities and industrial areas look the same - dull and depressing.

Scotland is more wild and less "pretty", but equally beautiful, although I can honestly say I've seen a few gloomy towns up here I would NOT want to live in.

You made me laugh with the names thing! :-D Sorry I ruined your Farm name. Oh the names here are gorgeous and amazing. In Scotland you have areas once ruled by Vikings, Picts, Celts... each language group left their own unique names, many mind-boggling to try to read.

I've also got my collection of weird and just plain funny names - like Cowbog Construction Company and Boghole Farm. Now admit it... Pinto Farm sounds waaay better than those last two! ;-)

Genie said...

Well, maybe not Boghole but Cowbog isn't too bad.