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Report 1952: Hop Scotching England South to North to South

By Jeff H from New Hampshire, Fall 2011

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Page 2 of 4: Oxford to Farleton to Edinburgh

This was a longer trip than anticipated: Oxford to Farleton (in Lancashire) is about 3 1/2 hours and although the roads were motorways or duel carriageways, we had to navigate a number of roundabouts, some of which had few signs or confusing signs to the uninitiated, resulting in us cruising around the roundabout for a second lap to be sure we'd take the correct exit. Anyway, the countryside is beautiful all the way and the weather held up, too (unlike most of the rest of our trip).

We arrived at Simon's house in Farleton safe and sound. I have been to England many, many times in the last ten years and been to Simon's home five or six times, as well; but always by train. I bring this up, because the last eight or so miles of this little journey is on a county route. And county routes are not motorways or dual carriageways, they're narrow, winding and scary for an American, who's driving on the left for the first time ... and utterly terrifying for his wife, the navigator passenger as you might imagine. I quickly found out that my judgement of the distance to the extreme left side of the road/shoulder/ditch was suspect and I did flirt with the edge a couple of times - disconcerting for me, but Sue was ready for a nervous breakdown.

Simon was working at home, so other than a warm greeting, he was busy, so Sue and I immediately headed for Kirkby Lonsdale (about ten miles) to kill some time until he was done and his wife got home from work. There was a fair amount of flooding in the area and some parts of the road were flooded, but with caution, we made it to the quaint little village of Kirkby Lonsdale and back. Had tea and scones at a tea house right in the village square, window shopped a little, perused the local Edinburgh Woolen shop for gifts for family members and once again arrived unscathed at Simon's.

That night, with Simon driving (thank goodness!), we headed off to dinner at a local pub, had a few pints and headed back to Simon's.

The next day, Sue and I had intended to head to York, which I figured we could handle, but Simon volunteered that he'd take us to Edinburgh for the day (it's farther in miles, but shorter in time). No problem. We stopped for breakfast along the way, while Simon participated in a work-related conference call and got to Edinburgh shortly before lunch time. But now it was raining off and on, so we spent some of our time waiting for showers to abate before wandering the downtown (Prices Street and the Castle and the Golden Mile). Sue and I then toured the Royal Yacht Britannia, while Simon and Jill did some shopping at the mall to which the yacht is moored. It was impressive to say the least ... not a surprise! Those Royals live like royalty!

Back to Farleton and another pub dinner - comfort food at its best.

Next morning Sue and I headed South for Petersfield in Hampshire to hook up with a second colleague/friend. This is a another long drive (maybe 5 1/2 hours). Simon had already left to catch his flight to Stockholm by the time we got up, so Jill saw us off after our short stay. Great countryside! Friendly locals. Scenery right out of northern New England with sheep and dairy cows dotting every hill - love Lancashire.

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