We have been blessed with well timed weather. Yesterday was mostly sunny for our day around the Lake District. This morning we awoke to find it raining but we expected to be traveling or inside most of the day so it would not prevent us doing what we had planned.
Breakfast at 8:00 followed the same pattern as yesterday. We had muesli with yoghurt and coffee followed by the full English breakfast and toast. By 9:00 am we had returned to our room, moved our gear to the car, and were ready to go with Majella at the wheel.
We headed out via Kendal and north on the secondary A6 road until we joined the M6 some way along. That ran to the Scottish border where it changed name but continued as the same major road. By that time we were beginning to look for fuel and knew that it was cheaper off the highway than at the service points.
We left the highway as we approached Moffat where we bought fuel and spent some time at the Moffat Woollen Mill store. It was not what we expected. It is actually a shopping outlet for Scottish merchandise and is evidently designed to accommodate tour buses. Most of the parking lot is marked for buses rather than cars. When we arrived we were among the few in the store but a bus arrived soon after and the crowd swelled but did not prevent us getting the coffee that we needed.
From Moffat we followed the A701 which was signed as the scenic route to Edinburgh. What little we could see through the mist and cloud was beautiful countryside, mostly bare hills scattered with sheep and occasional plantations of pine or evidence of where that had been felled. We crossed a low range and saw a sign indicating the source of the Tweed River which we followed for a while.
It was approaching lunchtime but the small settlements we passed had nothing on offer. Eventually we saw a sign to West Linton just off the road and turned in to find the Olde Toll Tea House where we had sandwiches. When we arrived the place was empty but we had just beaten the lunchtime crowd and it was filling when we left.
We followed the GPS directions around the Edinburgh bypass to Currie and then to Balerno where we are staying with Charles and Cathy Michie. Charles came from Scotland to Dalby State High School during my first year as a teacher there in 1974. Their son Calum is the same age as Jane, and Cairsty their daughter was born in Dalby the same year as Nicholas. We became good friends in the couple of years they were in Dalby and have maintained contact over the years. We last visited them here in 1998. Their home has been extended in that time and the back garden that borders the brook running down from the hills has matured. It is a fine house in a delightful rural setting on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in conversation recalling shared experiences and recounting things that had happened to us over the years. Dinner was tabletop barbecue with raclette style melted cheese and a range of interesting and delicious salads. For dessert Cathy served her version of a cheescake recipe she had acquired from Majella in Dalby. More lively conversation followed. The brevity of this account is testament to the amount of conversation that filled the evening.