Friday, 29 June 2012

112 Melrose, Hermitage and a damp Newcastle

Thursday 28th June
After a weird evening of rolling mists, where we camped on the beach.  We fell asleep to the bellowing sound of the waves crashing into the beach, the deafening sound of heavy rain on the tent and the periodic rumble of the East Coast diesel electric trains. Actually, as usual, we slept very well and were woken at about 8am to some plank shouting at one of his 4 unruly dogs. Ho hum.
It was then a 30 mile ride to Melrose Abbey. On the way there, having previously found it on the map, we drove through the hamlet of Blackadder which made us laugh. Little things etc...
+ made us laugh

This is taking patriotism to a whole new level..

Anyway Melrose Abbey was a fantastic 12 - 15th century ruined building and despite the structure, we used those digital talking things that told you about the spot you were currently in.It is believed that the heart of Robert the Bruce was buried here so about 1998 a seismic survey of the site was conducted and an and an anomaly was found just outside the Abbey walls. The area was dug up and a large metal chest discovered. A hole was bored in it and an optical scope inserted. In there they found another lead covered chest. They again drilled and looked only to find a heart. Samples were taken and confirmed it as being a heart but obviously DNA was useless so they just had to assume is was King Robert. It was a very good visit despite the pouring rain. 

Despite the ruins, the dialogue made this wet visit very entertaining and worthwhile.

The bell tower at the top. How much use have those stairs had ?

The North face. It must have been awesome in it's hey day.

This believe it or not is a pig playing the bagpipes.

Wo Hoo...more Blackadder. Robert Blakader was a monk in 1472AD, not a lord. I am so disappointed. !

We then jumped back into Gromit and drove a further 30 miles South to Hermitage castle. The rain by this time was of biblical proportions and had not really stopped all day. The roads were starting to flood in low lying places. This was another ruin and it came across as very dark and foreboding, and with the thunder and lightening it was very atmospheric.
The Hermitage Castle.

Seriously spooky during the lightning and thunder.

We decided to visit Hadrians wall and came across one of the small mile castles and an exposed section of wall at a place called Bank. When we got out for a wander around and whilst on the South side of the wall Karen rather cockily said to me "Oi, get on your own side". I replied "I am on my own side, you get over", "Oh, which way is Scotland then ?".
"Errr....that way", "Oops".

Left is Scotland, Right is England. Karen eventually capitulated and said as we both had parents from both side, we could be on either side.

Leon thinking "So where does that leave me then ?"

An awesome undertaking.

Very wet Llamas wishing they were back in Peru.

As the weather was horrible we decided to find a B&B. We drove for a few miles and I had the bright idea of going to Newcastle as I have never been there. Big mistake !
The roads to the city were flooded and it took an hour to do the last few miles to it. A flash flood had lifted a tarmac farm road and deposited it on the main road to Newcastle. We arrived as council diggers were clearing it. 
This road eventually ended up........

........down here.

On arrival into the outskirts of the city we were confronted with complete gridlock. So many of the main roads were impassable that it took 2 1/2 hours to travel the 3 miles into the center of town. We passed many flooded areas and stranded motors stuck in deep water. We passed an allotment behind a housing estate that had a foot of fast flowing water going through it. 

This was 4 hours after the rain. Most of the water had subsided.

On arrival at our hotel we discovered that we had been double booked. Our online application had been confirmed at  exactly the same time as a phone booking for the same room came in. As a result of the floods, many businessmen who could not get home had booked in as well. Fortunately one discovered after he had booked in that he was then able to get home and relinquished his room. Lucky or what.
We later found out the flash flooding in Berwick had taken out part of the train line that threatened to keep us awake last night and all the trains going North were sent back to Newcastle and hence thousands of passengers stranded in Newcastle.  We managed to miss all the main parts of the storm and it was only once we were settled, we found out how much devastation had been caused.

1 comment:

  1. OMG exciting (well not for the poeple but you know wht i mean). The thunder and lighting at the castel wow. Wish i had been there!!