Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Summer Holiday Trip - part 1


End of June Hubby had two weeks summer holiday so we decided to get the family in a car and off to see England. I’ve lived here five years and only once ever passed through England - all I saw was the motorway and a fast dash through Oxford. My parents are even worse. In four years of living here they’ve never travelling further south than Edinburgh.

My dad wasn’t able to take off as much time as my husband, so we planned a simple route geared at seeing as many places as we could. We left fairly early and ended up having breakfast in a great roadside place at Ballinluig.
If you ever get to Scotland and travel up on the A9 this place does great breakfasts and they offer free top ups on cups of coffee and tea. Good solid food at good prices.

From there we drove down past Perth, Stirling (Stirling castle was amazing, but no way to take a decent photo zooming past in the car) and Glasgow, then on down to Gretna Green. We weren't able to stop this day, so only two photos of Gretna, but on the way home we took more pics. I'll post them later on.

This first one is of the original Blacksmith's place where English couples would elope to get married. For those who don't know - this isn't because Gretna (or their blacksmith) had special legal powers, but simply because it was the closest place on the border between England and Scotland. For a long time the law of Scotland was that anyone could marry simply by declaring their intention before witnesses. This made it very easy to marry... and very hard to do Scottish family trees past a certain age as there are very few written marriage contracts! So English couples would dash up the road to Gretna to be married under Scottish law... in front of the blacksmith as witness. You can still get married here, which must be fun.

This next photo is of the blacksmith's sign. It comes out to small on the blog so I'll write what it says below the photo.
This is the world famous

Famous for runaway wedding since 1754.

Just outside of Gretna there’s a sign saying you are now passing the last house in Scotland. If they didn’t say, and the fact there were English and Scottish flags on either “side”, you’d never really know you’d passed into England.

Tomorrow I'll post the next part of our adventures.


Twilight said...

Your trip, so far seems similar, but in the the reverse direction, to one my late partner and I took with my Mum, to help her through an awkward time after my Dad died (early 1990s).

I well remember Stirling, and Gretna, on the way to the Highlands. We were on an organised coach tour, and stopped at Gretna to take part in a mockup of a wedding ceremony there, complete with shotgun - my late partner played the part of the angry father! LOL!

Lovely memories.
I'll look forward to your next episode, into my native England.I'll be interested to know what you made of it! ;-)

(PS my US citizenship Oath Ceremony will be next Friday - at last - end of the road!)

Jean-Jacques said...

It sounds like you had a great trip! (I also used to get a bit bogged down in everyday life and never saw as much as of the British Isles as I wanted to) Always a good reason to return one day ;-)

Michelle said...

Hi Twilight

Your memories of Gretna sound such fun. I hope you have an equally memorable day for your citizenship oath. :-)

Hi J

Yeah, funny how we often don't get around to sight-seeing in the areas we live.