…Leads to a sunny excursion to Attingham Park

Walled Garden

The Well


Greenhouse Project

Walled Garden Flowers

A Hint of Autumn

Selfie in My Car

10 Comments CherryPie on Oct 18th 2018

Corbridge Roman Town

Unfortunately the duty manager that we had chatted to on the first night of our stay was not on shift so we were unable to say goodbye or thank her. We checked out after breakfast and headed to Corbridge Roman Town.

During our journey, just after we had left Jedburgh, we turned a corner to be confronted by a large bull standing sideways on our side of the carriageway. We slowed down and gently drove around him. He was slobbering at the mouth and looking at us disdainfully as we did so. As we passed by we noticed another bull on the road, looking very much as if he had escaped from a field. Behind him, in the field, were a large number of cows congregating in the corner of the field near to the bull.

We thought that bulls in the road were an accident waiting to happen so we parked in a safe place and phoned the police to report the problem.

Corbridge Roman Town

The Corbridge Lion

Corbridge Town is part of Hadrian’s Wall. Next to the town’s Roman remains is an excellent museum displaying Roman artifacts, the Corbridge Hoard and a fine stone statue of a lion atop its prey.

Hexham Abbey

When we had finished looking around, we drove to Hexham, which is close by, for lunch. We had a brief look around Hexham before continuing our journey. Our route took us through beautiful scenery with spectacular views. At one point there was a diversion which led to the journey taking longer than expected necessitating a brief stop at Killington Lake services to stretch our legs and enjoy a reviving cup of tea.

Dramatic Scenery

11 Comments CherryPie on Oct 17th 2018

River Tweed

After breakfast we set off through the pretty countryside to Traquair, stopping along the way to photograph the River Tweed. We managed to arrive a little early but the gate was open and the kiosk manned so we were able to go in. One again the weather was glorious so we chose to look around the grounds and tackle the maze before going into the house.

The Grass is Greener

Hey You!

Photo taken by Mr C

There are a few animals in the grounds which are kept behind wire. One of the goats kept trying very hard to push through the wire stretching his head towards us as far as it would go. There were also two very sleepy, snoring pigs, or they were until Mr C inadvertently spooked them by accidentally snapping his glasses case loudly whereupon they charged towards him with great commotion and noise.

Traquair Maze

We managed to conquer the maze after a few false starts. This has to be one of the best mazes I have been in, it has three sub centres that you have to pass through before finding the middle.


Next we enjoyed a look around the house although later we realised that we had managed to miss out one of the floors (the one I particularly wanted to see) and neither of us could figure out how we had done so. Traquair has its own brewery so sampled the ale and bought a few bottles to enjoy at home, probably with slow cooked beef in beer. We had lunch in the cafe where I couldn’t resist a piece of citrus, coconut and pecan cake. It was delicious!

Did Someone Say Cake?

On our journey back towards the hotel we stopped off at Trimontium Roman site to find that there was only an information point. Before returning to the hotel, we thought we would try and pick up some Doddington Cheese, which, we remembered from a previous occasion was purchased from an honesty table outside the farm. We found the farm but this time there was no table so we came away empty handed.

This evening we dined with Toby and Leona who used to run the Coach House. Earlier in the day the duty manager double checked that four of us would be dining and asked which table we would prefer. We had chosen a round table in the window. In the evening a different duty manager was on shift and was very attentive, making sure that we received the best service. We had a lovely evening in good company. Before we retired for the evening the duty manager told us he wouldn’t be back on duty before our holiday finished, said goodbye and hoped he would to see us again.

12 Comments CherryPie on Oct 16th 2018

View from the Collingwood Arms

Breakfast was just as quirky as on previous days, never knowing when the toast would arrive. Today after a reminder the toast arrived late and cold. Too late to accompany my breakfast!

Jedburgh Abbey

As we stepped out of the hotel, we found that the weather was wonderfully sunny with a bright blue sky and fluffy clouds. It was a little bit chilly out of the sunshine but lovely and warm otherwise. Our first port of call was Jedburgh Abbey, the size of which is impressive.

Shortly after we arrived a Scottish Heritage volunteer came over to us and gave us a guided tour of the abbey. The tour was very informative and after we explored the abbey further. I purchased a CD from the shop (the music was playing in the abbey’s museum) and was told that this music plays in the crypt of Dryburgh Abbey. We chose not to have an early lunch in Jedburgh thinking we might eat later at the Chain Bridge Honey Farm.

Dryburgh Abbey

First we visited Dryburgh Abbey which is a beautiful ruin in a tranquil landscape setting with the graves of Sir Walter Scott and Earl Haig in its grounds. As we were viewing the crypt and listening to the music another Scottish Heritage volunteer came to impart some information about the abbey.

The Bus Cafe

Honey Cake

Next we made our way to the Chain Bridge Honey Farm for lunch on its Bus Cafe. I decided to have Honey Cake which was the obvious choice. The cake was delicious and because the weather was so nice we decided to sit outside rather than on the double decker.

Bee Keepers Garden

We had arrived at the farm from Scotland via the Union Chain Bridge and had parked at the side of the road as we had always done in the past. It looked rather quiet with only one other car parked but when we got inside the Farm was buzzing with people. It was then that I noticed a car park that had not been there on our last visit.

There was also the new addition of a Bee Keepers garden. The garden was a delight, filled with plants to attract bees and butterflies. As we walked around the garden we noticed the entrance to the car park which we would have seen if we had arrived from the other direction of England rather than Scotland.

Before leaving we visited the shop so that I could buy some honey lip balm. As we were choosing our purchases a young lady brought a piece of cake to the lady who was serving and as she gave her the cake mentioned that the had been an article in a Scottish newspaper about their lip balm. Mr C told them both that I had been using their lip balm for years which they found pleasing.

We got chatting about Telford and Thomas Telford, who hailed from Scotland. The conversation got onto the Coach House where we have previously stayed and we learned that the owner was an opera singer and used to burst into song whilst serving the guests. That was news to us but, having met her once many years ago before she moved abroad leaving the Coach House to be managed by others, it didn’t surprise us.

The Cherry Pie Tree

We had some time to spare so we returned to Flodden Battlefield and the lanes nearby to see if we could locate the Cherry Pie Tree. This time we were successful. The tree hasn’t changed very much in all those years since I photographed it last time. Mission duly accomplished, we took the short walk up to the Flodden Memorial before returning to the hotel to freshen up before enjoying a Sunday Roast in the nearby Bluebell pub.

Flodden Memorial

6 Comments CherryPie on Oct 15th 2018

Rosslyn Chapel

After breakfast we set off into Scotland to visit Rosslyn Chapel. For some time it has been on my location wish list, because of the carvings within.

When we arrived we found out that the next introductory talk of the chapel would take place in half an hour. We explored the outside of the chapel until it was time to go inside the chapel for the talk. The talk was extremely interesting, pointing out various carvings and features of the church including the Dan Brown mystery tale and the chapel’s own mystery story regarding two intricately carved columns.

Rosslyn Chapel

We were directed to carvings on the outside of the church (including one of a camel). When the talk had finished we walked round the chapel before looking at the carvings mentioned. The inside of the chapel was  too crowded to enjoy at its best, we had to wait and pause whilst others were looking at the many interesting features within the chapel.

I quite understand why photographs are not allowed in the chapel; there would be a roadblock! The crowds did not allow for quiet contemplation and perhaps a feeling of spiritual presence. The volunteers are quite proud of the fact that the Dan Brown novel has brought in visitors from all over the world. Entry fees and sales of merchandise helps with restoration and maintenance of the chapel.

We hope to return when the chapel is less busy…

Berwick Coastal Road

The fisherman we had chatted to a couple of days ago, advised that we should go on a coastal drive along the Scottish coastland. So after visiting Rosslyn Chapel, we took his advice, albeit from North to South, stopping off for lunch in Dunbar where I had a delicious poached salmon sandwich. Whilst in the town browsing the shops, I noticed just the right lampshade for Mr C’s recently refurbished office.

Berwick Coastal Road

Dining and shopping complete we returned to the coast road, enjoying wonderful views. The amazing colour of the sea, and the fluffiness of the clouds seemed unreal, almost as if someone had painted the scene. Along the way had hoped to find a suitable establishment for afternoon cake but sadly this was not to be, even a detour into Berwick did not reveal afternoon cake.

A Room with a View

We dined in the hotel, where I asked for chips rather than fries to accompany my meal. The fish and chips were delicious.

10 Comments CherryPie on Oct 14th 2018


After experiencing two days of toast arriving after my cooked breakfast was served I had a cunning plan. I ordered a piece of toast to come with my cooked selections. On this occasion the table toast arrived before my breakfast so I need not have ordered a piece to come with my breakfast!

When we had eaten we headed off to Cragside. I wasn’t completely convinced of the choice, I knew the pleasure drive, one of my favourite aspects of Cragside was closed due to fallen and hanging trees. It might just have been open if we left it a couple of days… Despite this I went along with the plan, the Dahlia beds in the formal garden are always spectacular at this time of year.

On arrival at Cragside, more parts of the estate were closed than we expected. As always we chose to visit the formal garden first so that we could enjoy the garden in relative quiet before other visitors make their way there.

We had been informed by a National Trust volunteer and colleague of Mr C that there were new visitor arrangements for non National Trust members. National Trust members had complained that they had to queue whilst non-members were paying at the gate. The new arrangements for non-members is to direct them to the formal garden carpark to buy tickets or join the National Trust.

On entering the car park we found that the new arrangement had left no spaces for garden visitors to park. As it was a quiet day we ignored the restrictions, in any case there was an absence of volunteers in the car park to sign up new members. The new system clearly isn’t working; when we arrived we joined the members queue and the non members queue was empty. I think the Cragside team could learn a lesson from the entry system to Stonehenge, it is much more efficient.

When I entered the garden I was disappointed, the dahlia display that I had been looking forward to was not present. The formal flower beds had been planted with other things that were bland and nondescript in comparison.

Sunflower Installation

On the upper lawn in front of the glasshouse there was an installation of sunflowers, one of several installations at Cragside that are part of the National Trust ‘Women & Power’ exhibitions celebrating the anniversary of female suffrage in 2018. 4000 sunflowers were planted to represent the women that worked at Cragside and Armstrong’s munitions factories in Elswick. On the lawn there was another artwork of a giant pelvis…

Art Installation

Art Installation

Inside the house we found that the flow of visitor access had changed and that it was now a two way flow around the house. For me this didn’t work as it seemed to cause bottlenecks. The upper floor of the house was however an unexpected delight, new rooms had been opened you could enter into some of the other rooms rather than stand behind a rope as was previously the case.

In Car Picnic

Simonside Hills

We decided to have lunch in Rothbury rather than at Cragside, but before we left we had a quick look around the National Trust shop. We had intended to have lunch in a Rothbury tea shop but as we were parking I noticed a bakery directly in front of us. I suggested an ‘in car’ picnic. Mr C loved the idea so we purchased freshly made rolls, cake and a drink which, after travelling a short distance, we enjoyed with spectacular views over the Simonside Hills and the local golf course.

Rothbury Church

Lord Armstrong's Grave

After lunch we visited Rothbury All Saints Church. During our visit we were treated to organ music and learned from the organist that he was practicing ‘difficult’ music for a wedding the next day. We then made our way to the graveyard in search of Lord Armstrong’s grave. The location wasn’t immediately obvious, but after retracing our steps we found it.

We still had some to spare so we headed to Flodden Field in search of the ‘Cherry Pie Tree’ that I photographed several years ago, inspiring JD to turn it into a painting. We failed to locate the tree.

Road Blockage

Instead we encountered a tractor with a broken wheel and cows very slowly crossing the road to their pasture…

Slow Cows

Those slow cows led to us running out of time so we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before our evening meal in a nearby local pub just over the border in Scotland. We found that the pub was really geared up to locals having a drink at the bar. The experience was a little quirky but my meal was delicious.

Our hotel duty manager had ordered us a taxi and it became apparent as we were chauffeured to the pub (due to listening to the driver on the phone) that we would need to arrange a return time with him. He had one timeslot where he was able to fit us in for a return journey to our hotel. Obviously we accepted his offer!

8 Comments CherryPie on Oct 12th 2018

Thirlestane Castle

Overnight, the wind had subsided and we awoke to brilliant sunshine. After breakfast we set off across the border to Thirlestane Castle, home to the Maitland family who have lived there for over 400 years. We had an interesting introductory talk and the room guides provided us with extra information as we toured the house. There are connections with the Royal family and the upper rooms of the house are quite stunning. When we reached the last room of the house we had an interesting conversation with two of the room guides regarding Major General Maitland who commanded the Brigade of Guards at the Battle of Waterloo and also Captain Maitland, Commander of HMS Bellerophon. HMS Bellerophon was the Royal Navy warship that transported Napoleon Bonaparte to England from France immediately after his abdication. It is interesting that the two Maitlands had a part to play in his downfall.

Abbotsford from the Gardens

Next we went to Abbotsford, the former home of Sir Walter Scott where our first port of call was the cafe for lunch; I chose a cheese scone with chutney. The house which looks more like a fairytale castle reveals itself as you walk along the path to the visitor centre. By this time the sky was overcast so we chose to walk round the gardens first in case there was a change in the weather.

Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake

The inside of the house is museum like with the historic rooms having been left as it was before Walter Scott’s death. We were greeted by a gentleman who advised us to take the audio guide as this was the best way to understand the items displayed. Then we were asked if we would like a male or female voice; I opted for the male voice and Mr C opted for the female voice. It became obvious as we walked around that the male guide had a lot more to say than the female guide, Mr C kept getting ahead of me. Unfortunately the chapel was closed due to Storm Ali having caused a flood in the adjoining property cutting off the power supply. Before departing from Abbotsford we had afternoon tea in the cafe where I indulged in a slice of lemon and poppy seed cake.

Prior Wood Gardens

We took the scenic route back to the hotel, first stopping in Melrose where purchased a teapot to go with the tea cosy we had purchased in Arundel earlier in the year. We also had a look round  Prior Wood gardens which were a hidden delight.

Scott's View, River Tweed

Scott's View, River Tweed

We continued on our journey, heading towards Dryburgh Abbey, stopping briefly to take in the spectacular scenery at ‘Scott’s View’. We decided not to go into the Abbey grounds as it was a little late in the afternoon. Instead we headed back to the Collingwood Arms to freshen up before we dined in the Bluebell pub at Crookham. The Bluebell serves good honest pub food and I opted for scampi and chips. After dining we returned to the hotel for a nightcap.

16 Comments CherryPie on Oct 9th 2018

Older Posts »