Sunday, September 24, 2006

One last castle before home - 10 September 2006

A Dumfries bridgeThe fabulous sunshine continued for our final day in Scotland. We spent the night in a beautiful Victorian townhouse in Dumfries and before leaving town had another look at the picturesque set of four bridges.

Water over the weir at DumfriesHaving not quite filled our castle quota, we visited Caerlaverock Castle: a magnificent, triangular castle, still surrounded by a moat. It was never taken in battle, until a siege by King Edward I when the force of 60 finally surrendered to the besieging force of 87 knights, 3000 men and a collection of siege engines.

Caerlaverock CastleSaying farewell, at last, to Scottish castles we followed the tourist trail to Gretna Green. Judging by the numbers, this seemed to be the most popular tourist destination in Scotland, and also the best value.

Gretna Green Blacksmiths shopWhat was fascinating here was to read about a conman who sweet-talked his way into a Gretna Green marriage with a wealthy heiress. The rogue was none other than Edward Gibbon Wakefield, a man we learnt about at school as founder of the New Zealand Company and who played a huge part in the settlement of New Zealand in the mid 1800s.

RomaldirkIt was then farewell to Scotland, and we took the scenic route through the North Pennines along Teesdale, with one final stop for lunch at the cute village of Romaldkirk before taking the motorway back to London.

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