July 14 Tuesday
The plan was to stay 2 nights in Glenrothes, Scotland and explore Edinborough, but it didn’t feel right. I called ahead to the B&B we were scheduled in for the following two nights and asked if we could stay a third night. No problem, so after a complete Scottish Breakfast, (same as the English, as well as haggis and black pudding) drove across Scotland at the narrows between Edinborough and Glasgow. Our final destination was Gretna Green and the Barrasgate B&B. The address for Barrasgate B&B was Scotland yet we passed a sign welcoming us to England BEFORE we arrived at the B&B. Were we in Scotland or England? Apparently, Barrasgate B&B lies in what is called “The Debatable Lands.” When Britain and Scotland were separate kingdoms, this land, about ten miles long from north to south and 4 miles wide, was run by local clans who refused to follow the authority of England or Scotland. They held onto this land causing havoc for over 300 years and becoming very rich in the process. Our host, Alan, is a Graham, one of the local clans. He was a small and gentle man and we all had to smile to think of him as a Scottish warrior! It was finally resolved in 1603, but up until some years ago, the it still caused problems for the people who live there now.
Our room was fine, but small. Once we had all our luggage and bodies in the room, the host looked at us and asked if we’d like to move downstairs into another room, with more space and a conservatory. Oh yes.
Ate at a local inn in Gretna Green. In England 1754, you had to be 21 and have both parents permission to marry. However, Scotland still allowed marriage at 16 and no parental permission was needed. Gretna Green was this first Scottish town you entered after leaving England and it became the center for runaway marriages. So far great disappointment with the food. (Despite this, we all came back to Sweden feeling “thick.” Too much time in the car and too many sticky toffee puddings. I have the recipe. Prepare yourself.)
July 15, Wednesday
We had been planning to see the new Harry Potter movie in England ever since we realized it was opening while we were there. This morning we went into Dumfires, Scotland and bought tickets for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I talked to some kids who had been waiting since 10 am for the 1 pm show. ( I remember as a kid cringing when my dad talked to everyone we met, all strangers. Now I am doing the same thing and my kids are responding the same way. However, they are more vocal about their embarrassment then I ever was!) Nice, orderly lines waiting for the doors to open and when they did, all rushed for the open doors and up the stairs. We still found great seats. The crowd obviously loved the characters and the movie. All ages present, including a leathered motor cycle man and his woman. It was as fun as we thought it would be, seeing the movie in England.
July 16th Thursday
July 17, Friday
July 18th Saturday
July 19th Sunday
July 20th Monday
July 21 Tuesday
Our last day as tourists in the UK. We stopped in Salisbury and then continued on for what should have a 2 hour journey. Traffic in the UK is intense! We were traffic queue 15 miles long and were delighted to get to our hotel, located several miles from the airport. Again, we were given two rooms as their family room was experiencing flooding. Ha! Our flight in the morning left at 7 am and given Ryan Airs disorganization we wanted to be there by 5am.
July 22, Wednesday
6:30 pm arrival in Arvika. So good to be back in Sweden.
Images from the UK: