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Trip List by tumblingweed

Solo Female's Trip to North Yorkshire and Hadrian's Wall

Jun 9, 2006  American nurse on first overseas trip for 5 weeks
4.5 of 5 bubbles based on 1 vote

also first time UK driving!

  • 1. First Attempt at UK Driving

    Had rental car from 1car1 delivered to B&B in York-a cute little low mileage Vauxhall with automatic. $516 for 9 days, insurance and fee for return at Inverness included. Never having driven on left before, and being on my own I was apprehensive to say the least! After familiarizing myself with controls and steeling my nerves it was 9:30 AM or so, GOOD, not much traffic. So pulled out onto the road, in the correct lane already since the number was painted right on the road, (noticed that from an upstairs window earlier) knowing the first turn wasn't for quite a way was a comfort, giving me a mile or two to feel where the tires were tracking on the far side, how the brakes acted, etc. What was initially most disconcerting wasn't driving on the other side of the road; it was the right sided steering wheel, now THAT felt strange! (Had actually practiced a little driving on the left at home before leaving-live out in the country so got away with it!) The way people have to park partially on the road, even quite narrow roads, sure kept me on my toes. The road signs are easy to read, and more importantly, easy to follow. Have to say that I only missed 2 turns during the entire time I had the car. But also avoided trying to drive in cities; passed through the largest on my route, Glasgow, at 7 AM on a Saturday, so no problems. After a few miles of driving on the A9 I began to relax, despite some construction areas, thought, "Hey, this is just like home!" The trucks aren't as big and don't go as fast tho. Loved the roundabouts, in towns and on highways, unlike a simple 4 way stop at an intersection where you're basically screwed if you're in the wrong lane for your turn, with a roundabout you have the option to go 'round again! Plus makes for fewer stop lights, always a good thing.

  • 2. Hadrian's Wall
    Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland, England

    Anyway, first stops were at Corbridge and Housesteads. Had planned to stop in Durham to see the cathedral, but my driving comfort level just wasn't up to dealing with even that, so headed on to the country :( At Corbridge there is an excellent audio guide to explain the ruins and some Roman history, along with a small museum that has a good introduction. At Housesteads, which is about a 10-minute uphill walk, also offers absolutely beautiful views, as well as the very impressive remains of a Roman fort. Along with more knowledge about the Roman Empire, from this day I took away an impression of beautiful countryside that's relatively unpopulated except for sheep and cattle!

  • 3. Saughy Rigg Farm
    Saughy Rigg Farm, Haltwhistle, Northumberland

    Called the B&B from Housesteads Fort for directions and it was only a few miles away, easily found it. Felt a bit pressured to order their dinner there (15GBP) but ultimately did and enjoyed it. They neglected to mention that they're undergoing construction, and I'd only give them 3/5 on cleanliness. The hostess tried to charge me 5GBP over the 30GBP I had been quoted and was less than gracious about her error, not bothering to look it up. The location out in the country was lovely tho, walked for several miles enjoying the peaceful pastures until dark. And the dinner was very good, roast beef, potatoes, pudding, leeks a gratin, bread, dessert; don't drink wine but it was available with extra charge. Wouldn't stay here again with all the other choices available, but maybe it will be nicer when the construction is finished. Met 2 couples who were wall walking, staying at B&Bs along the way, looked like great fun. One couple was doing the whole thing, coast to coast, 70 miles I think? After breakfast I left for New Lanark.