We left Scotland this morning. I felt a pang of regret as we crossed the border back into England. I wonder if I’ll ever see Scotland again. I certainly hope so. Our route took us very close to Lockerbie, scene of the horrific air crash disaster, and Dumfries, home of my ancestors, the Todds.
Our final stop in Scotland was Gretna Green, a place where very young couples from England could elope to in order to marry before they were of legal marrying age in England. At the height of the Gretna Green marriage boom, a male only had to be 14 years of age and a woman could be 12 years of age to be legally married here. Many marriages were conducted before the anvil in the blacksmith’s shop.
We crossed the border back into England, travelling through the emerald green fields, hedges and dry stone walls that make the Lake District such a popular tourist destination. It’s here one can see the enclosures that revolutionised agriculture in the 18th century and led indirectly to the Industrial Revolution in the nearby towns and counties. At Howbeck Lodge, we stopped for lunch at the farm of John and Christina. While John introduced us to his many animals, Christina and her team prepared a sumptuous lunch in the kitchen.
We went across the road with John to see his highland cattle, or as we now prefer to call them, his ‘heery coos’. It was great to see them up close, as we’ve tended to only catch a fleeting glimpse of them in the fields as the bus roared past.
In Grasmere, we visited the grave of England’s most famous Lake District poet, William Wordsworth, in the churchyard of St Oswald’s. Shortly afterwards we stopped for a quick look at Lake Windermere, close to where Australian Donald Campbell set a new speed record on water at Coniston back in the 1960s.
Eventually we reached Liverpool, home of the current Champions League football team, port from which thousands of international sea journeys began, and of course, home of the Fab Four, John, Paul, George and Ringo.