Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Misty Moors, the Lake District and Hadrian's Wall

I once again wanted to take the scenic route to see some of the countryside, so after leaving York I wrestled with the TomTom - as I've probably mentioned before, it really doesn't like going anywhere that isn't the quickest route; eventually I gave up trying to manipulate the options and just went with plugging in individual town names that would take me to Carlisle - and set off.

Somewhere along the way I decided it'd be a good idea to record some narration - I wanted to capture what I was feeling at the time, but it wasn't practical (or, a lot of the time, possible) to stop and type notes into my phone.

I don't actually know how I'd go about posting the audio file itself - and it's probably not the best idea anyway; I tend to be a) rambling and b) sweary, particularly when there are cyclists about, or when the TomTom wanted to take me places I didn't want to go.

So, I'll transcribe the bits I think worth noting.

I'm somewhere in North Yorkshire at the moment. Ummm, not entirely sure where; I decided I'd take the scenic route between York and where I'm staying next in Carlisle. What I'm intending to do is make that be the Lake District, which is a very pretty part of the country, uh, although it's a fairly miserable day and it's foggy - not really foggy, just a little bit foggy - and threatening to rain. Black-faced sheep! I love black-faced sheep. Although they've just been shorn; they don't look quite as cool.

What I've got in front of me at the moment is one of those dirty great big Winnebago camper-van devices, um, but what they've done with this is that they've, they're towing a tiny little two-person Smart car - you know, the proper Smart car brand Smart car - and, I thought that's very interesting; instead of [oh crap, cyclists - redacted] So the idea of the Winnebago towing the Smart car. Yeah, so you get to your caravan park or whatever the, if you have a particular camper-van park; if they're different I don't know, the whole concept horrifies me on several levels, so there's no way I'd want to know anything about either, and then you're free to run around in your little Smart car. Which is, you know, going to be, whatchacallit, fuel-effective.

Ohh, black-faced sheep that aren't shorn. Yay! I think they're called Suffolks. I think Suffolk is your brand of - er, your breed of - black-faced sheep. And that's really quite cool.

All right, what I'm looking at now is actually the foggy, I'm looking out at what I can only assume are the foggy moors of Yorkshire. And that is so unbelievably cool. Modernity is here in the fact that there are fucking great big huge wind, um, you know, windmill, what do you call those things, fan turbine things, they've got those here. Oh, there's a two-bladed one. They're usually three-bladed. I wonder what the difference is.

Oh, and I don't know what those are. Maybe it's - I really don't; maybe it's a weather thing - big golf-bally giant looking things. I'm going to have to research this when I get home.

While I think about it: the shower at the B&B in York had a shower-head the size of a bloody dinner plate. And it's particular brand of water-powering thing was like one of those old-fashioned thing you see on ships, you know, full speed ahead thing. That was it; it didn't have a pressure adjustment at all, just a temperature. And so it came on and it was like that scene in Seinfeld when Kramer turns the shower on, and it basically it hits him with so much force it knocks him to the ground. This was actually a bit like that; I had to only go underneath about a third of it otherwise it would have forced my head down.

Some pictures:

It really is, it's like Wuthering Heights; I was, at one point, singing snatches from Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights - doing the falsetto myself of course - um, I had it on my mp3 player but I, I reckon I took it off, I don't think it's still on there. Which is a shame really; if I'd thought about it beforehand I would have put it on, like, endless loop and played it while I was running around here. That and that folk song Bill Oddie from The Goodies recorded at whatever point.

I just did want to point out that the um, middle of freaking nowhere sheep farms and probably dairy cow, um, farms as well, um, the roads are really good. Really new and they're really smooth and, um, not like, you know, backyard Oxfordshire roads that are really narrow and you can't see anything and you're doing to die when anyone coming around the corner at more than, um, five miles an hour, um - so yeah, it's really nice driving. I don't know if that's something they've consciously set up because they know people want to drive it.

Not entirely sure where I am. Somewhere between Shipston and Kendal. I think I'm still in North Yorkshire technically, on my way to the lakes. Just wanted to point out that, um, again very green countryside up here, like, amazingly green. Sheep farming for the most part; I have seen a few cows, but it's predominately sheep. Sort of hilly, but the road itself is quite flat, so we're not doing any huge, um, ups and downs. But yeah, all the sheep paddocks here are divided by these low stone walls that are everywhere. They're about, maybe a metre high; it's hard to tell without getting out and having a look, maybe a bit over a metre. Maybe four feet. But yeah, they're everywhere, these little stone walls. And stone buildings. Really quite cool.

Okay, it's a bit later in the day and I'm now in the Lakes District. I'm sorry, the singular, the Lake District - because apparently, yeah, that actually makes sense; it's not unreasonable to call it that - Lake District.

It's very wet here. It's been raining, you know, quite a lot, but not heavy heavy rain. I'm here on the side of this lake and holy freaking crap, it's like this massive body of water. It's a lake. If you took me here and blindfolded me and put me there and said "Look down there, what do you see?" and I'd say "The fucking ocean." - because that's how big the goddamn thing is. It's huge, there are like permanent jetty things, and it has waves and seabirds and there were swans on it before and there are boats. Yachts kind of thing. Like not, you know, not like 125s or sabots or anything of that sort of thing, like actual 18-foot skiff boat things. Obviously I'm not a sailor so my grasp of such technical terms is not that great but you know what I mean. The sort of things you would take on the ocean, not just on a dirty great big lake. But holy freaking crap, it's huge. And it's absolutely gorgeous, it is just so pretty here. I mean in a way I wish it wasn't raining, 'cause I'm sure it would be even nicer, but I mean it's not a bad sort of miserable weather, it's just you know, grey. And there's powerboats as well. Not just sailboats. Like, engine boats.

Fair bit of traffic. I mean it's Saturday? Saturday? I presume it's Saturday. Yeah, it's Saturday. Um, it's Saturday and yeah, so people are out to do the touristy thing I guess. Or if you're a local maybe this is the spot that you come, I dunno. But there's not a lot of places [TomTom voice] - thank you, TomTom - um, there's not a lot of places to stop and admire the scenery, that's about the only downside to it really. Oh, I could go on a cruise, on the lake. Yeah, it's probably close enough to the ocean that I'd actually get seasick cause I do get seasick.

Okay, so we're further along in our drive through the mountainy parts of the Lake District. What I've just noticed, um, 'cause there's hills on the right hand side, so I'm heading north, and I can see water, like streams, cascading down the side of these really, really super-steep hills and it looks awesome. White, frothy water. I don't know where the heck it's going; maybe it's going underground. I can't see where it's coming out down here at the bottom. I know there's sort of fence-y things, like constructions of some sort, I dunno whether that, whether that's a way of channelling it or something, I dunno whether they guide the water anywhere.

Damn it, I probably just missed an opportunity to stop and look. Stop and take pictures. But, um yeah, it looks really, really cool. There's probably a better word for it than the kind of nonsensical ramblings that I'm doing at the moment. Oh, another steep hill. I really have got to pay attention to the side of the road, because if I pay attention to the side of the road I'll see a stop, a spot that I can stop, maybe. Take pictures. Not this time they're not; I'm stopping here. [Indecipherable] Ah, youse can all get rooted.

Okay, we're through the mountain part, it's a lot less mountainy now. [TomTom talking] Thank you, TomTom. Um, yeah, no, there are signs around for something called 'Potfest', and I'm, um, I don't know what that is, but it's pretty funny. I mean if it's not actually, you know,  'pot' pot, that would be kind of hilarious. Oh, no no, it's an international ceramics market. But, dear lord, I mean seriously, the potential for false advertising claims, probably got in pretty high there with potfest.

I arrived in Carlisle and after checking in and kicking back for a while, I made my way to the next destination: Hadrian's Wall. Or, at least, the part of it that's near Carlisle; a place called Birdoswald, where there are the remains of a Roman fort. After pottering around there for a while (including some close contact with the local sheep) I headed back to Carlisle and a quiet night in.

Oh, I think the sheep in the pictures below are Scottish Blackface (I called them Rorschach sheep because they look like the character from Watchmen) - I saw the name on a poster and wondered if it was advertising some horrifyingly racist form of entertainment; I was rather relieved to find that wasn't the case...

No comments:

Post a Comment