Now THAT'S what I call a breakfast! English breakfast ROCKS! What a great way to get ready for our first hike in England. We decided to head out this morning on a local hike to a number of waterfalls. There were some surprises in store!
We drove to the trail head, only about half a mile from our B&B. The idea was to do a loop hike that would finish at the other end of the village and then back to the car.
We quickly came to our first surprise. A dead tree, right?
Well, look more closely!
This was called the Money Tree. Apparently some time ago people started jamming coins into the cracks in the fallen tree, and it caught on...something about luck, go figure, and now the entire tree is coated in coins! It was a bit surreal once we figured out what it was. Really cool, I say.
So we wandered along this lovely river through the woods...
I think that's all limestone, but Stephen will correct me if I'm wrong. The day was partly cloudy and a little misty...perfect conditions! We climbed through this canyon, not really knowing what to expect, and then came along to this...
...out of the trees, onto the Dales, and a really great waterfall. This water flows off of the Dales, and contains lots of tannin, which colors the water like tea (my brother Norbert and I drank this stuff in Alaska when we went fishing for Pike, but that's another story.) Above this falls we got into beautiful sheep country, and our first close-up-and-personal with real rock wall/fences.
That's dry stone work, and these fences seemed to go on forever! I wondered about the manpower it took to build them. Apparently the stones come out of the pastures, so they're already on site and ready to go!
Notice the curled horns of this guy. They were mildly interested in us, but mostly just wanted to eat. There was even a tree for interest, with it's own protecting wall to keep the sheep out.
We wandered along up high for a while, and then back into the canyon for more waterfalls...
The path led us back to town where we bought lunch and visited the village church.
It was a lovely hike, and a wonderful introduction to the Dales. As I looked over those rolling hills I could imagine walking and walking for a very long time. Did I mention the breakfast!? Oh yeah, sorry.
So this was just our morning. We had some driving to do to get into Scotland and our next B&B. So off we went. This was the road out of town...a TWO WAY ROAD...no kidding.
Sue kept telling me to move over more because her side of the car was too close to the edge of the road, and I kept telling her that I was almost off the road on my side, so we stopped to determine which one of us was being a wimp. It turns out that either neither of us was, or we both were, depending on how you look at it. Again, this is not a driveway, or a sidewalk, it's a TWO WAY ROAD!!!! Oh yeah, speed limit? 60 mph...both ways....AAAAHHHHHHHHH!
Sue tried her hand at driving on the other side of the car and road, and did great until a bus, coming the other way, kinda ran her off the road. We took this picture afterward (we were kind busy not dying)...tell me if you see a problem...
Let's see, left tire on the line....right tire on the line...(lookout tree!) Maybe we were looking at this wrong...it's probably just considered "efficient" use of the roadway. Every time a car went by going the other way I'd flinch because it would be only about 18 inches from my car, and I kept expecting to hear a CRASH. By the end of the driving day I was exhausted. Anyway, I drove again after the bus incident. We had determined our roles: I drive, Sue navigates (such a beautiful navigator, and she did a super job!)
As we crossed into Scotland, I did my best imitation of the bagpipes playing Scotland The Brave. I'll spare you that video. :-) Nah, no I won't spare you, check this out!
Ok, here are more road pictures. Notice how close the houses are to the road (60 mph)
...and people park on the streets in the villages, so, yeah, just work it out with oncoming traffic.
Have I mentioned how courteous UK drivers are? No kidding, the nicest drivers I've ever encountered (bus notwithstanding).
Into Scotland we went, and after some more winding roads where the rock walls come up right off of the white line of the road (no shoulder), we rounded our first Loch (lake) and Sue says Stop! Fortunately there was an Inn at this particular spot, and we stopped to see "Still". A famous sculpture, in the lake. Ok, we're touristing, so let's get out.
The lake wasn't still, the wind wasn't still, but the Silver Guy was Still. I think that was the point.
With all this excitement behind us, we arrived in Crianlarich, in the Scottish Highlands, at our wonderful B&B. Did I mention what a great job April did at finding these places?
We checked in and got a recommendation for dinner, so off we went to the local pub...
Let's see...quaint works as a description, but also comfortable and welcoming. Those kilts are wrapped around the bar stools. There was "live entertainment" consisting of an old guy playing that guitar. I thought he was pretty good, considering, but Sue didn't bother to take his picture. The food, once again, was simple but good, just the way I like it. Our first day in Scotland, and we're having the time of our lives!