A recent trip to the Lake District prompted me to head northeast slightly and visit Carlisle Airport. After a short while there nerding over aircraft I headed to see a wall and a tower. Before regaling you with that story I want to point out that this is communication 999. Which means the next one published will be my 1000th communication. Although technically I only decided to call them communications a while after I had started publishing so the 1000 isn’t exactly accurate.
The guys at the Solway Aircraft Museum suggested visiting Lanacost Priory as there was a nice tea room there. As it wasn’t far I tootled over and had some lunch. I could have walked to the priory and had a look but to be honest I wasn’t bothered, the pictures showed it to be some ruins so I left and headed up the road to see Hadrian’s Wall. This was one of those things that is buried in the consciousness of people in this country. We hear from a young age about the wall and I’m pretty sure the Scots go on about it as though they are a proud and pure race [see the “No True Scotsman” fallacy]. I only wanted to see a little of the wall, to say I’d seen it.
It was actually quite impressive to stand on something roughly two thousand years old. At least I can now say I’ve been there and seen it.
Not that far away was the chance of a tantalising look at RAF Spadeadam, which was also mentioned by the Solway guys. Spadeadam was where the UK based its rocket research during the 1950s and is now used as an electronic warfare centre. As you can see from the wall photo the weather was quite foggy and suitable for visiting this part of the world. I knew Spadeadam was in a forest and so I drove following Google Maps, my signal did die at some point! The fog drew in closer and I passed a sign warning of no trespassing, then finally there was this sign:
I chose to turn around. I decided to visit another time. I didn’t want to get arrested and explain I was just driving there for a look and a selfie at the gates. This was the only road in the area and it ends at Spadeadam. Time to head to Scotland.
You know you are in Scotland when there are coach loads of US tourists and a massive thistle staring at you. I snuck over to Gretna Green and luckily managed to avoid getting married [only £35]. I wandered slowly around the Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna completely aware that it was a tourist trap and nothing particularly special. It was pretty poor in all honesty. I didn’t like it. Next time I escape England and head to the land north of us I will go to the Devil’s Porridge museum and try to see a different part of the Land Of The Brave [didn’t the Scots have that before the USA?].
If you go to Gretna you will see a wedding.
After a brief invasion of Scotland where else is there to go apart from a memorial to a King who is known as the Hammer Of The Scots [although he didn’t succeed]. Also, he is the baddie in the film Braveheart, but that is mostly bullshit so not worth worrying about. Longshanks died of dysentery while encamped in the marshes of the Solway and there is a memorial to him there. This memorial is in England and perhaps, if it was in Scotland, it wouldn’t be in such good condition. It is meant to mark the exact spot he died which more than likely means it doesn’t.
It’s a bleak place, but also gorgeous. The clouds were low and the mist was covering the hills in both directions. Is it worth a visit? Not really, only to say that you’ve been there and seen it.
There we are, a day’s tour of the north west of England and a little bit further than that. I now have to go away and consider what my 1000th communication will be about.