Home > Vacation > Scotland – Day 3: Hadrian’s Wall, Jedburgh, Abbotsford, Edinburgh

Scotland – Day 3: Hadrian’s Wall, Jedburgh, Abbotsford, Edinburgh

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Itinerary

First, see a section of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman coast-to-coast defense against marauding northern tribes. On the way back over the Scottish border, glimpses of the house of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Jedburgh ruins. Finally, a highlight visit to Sir Walter Scott’s ABBOTSFORD HOUSE for a fascinating guided tour. Overnight in Edinburgh, the “Prince of Cities.”

Hadrian’s Wall

In contrast to the previous day, this one was exciting. That means a long post! The day started off with an odd breakfast combination of buffet and ordering. Cold stuff was buffet, then they came around and took our orders for hot items. When we got on the bus, it was of course, the normal dreary Scottish weather.

Our first stop was a few miles down the road to visit Hadrian’s Wall. There’s not much left of it now. If you are expecting something similar to the Great Wall of China, prepare to be disappointed. It’s difficult to distinguish the wall from the miles of stone fences surrounding the local farms. The easy way to tell them apart is that the wall is much wider; wide enough for two Roman soliders to pass each other. Our destination was the former Cawfields Quarry. While I don’t think any of the quarry remains, there’s a nice chunk of wall. Parking was abundant with restrooms available at the car park.

Our second stop was one of those times when I was so glad that John was our tour guide. He wanted to take us to Steel Rigg, but for the last umpteen years, it had a weight limit enforced. Needless to say, our bus is a wee bit on the heavy side. But he had heard that the limit was now lifted. We drove up and sure enough, the limit was gone. Our awesome driver, Steve, somehow managed to manuever our whale of a bus into the car park. Only time for a quick look around, but it was still a wonderful view. Not longer after we touched ground, the skies opened up again. Our quick stop became quicker. I did manage to snag one impressive picture with the rain blowing sideways.

The entire Hadrian’s Wall Country is ripe for exploring on your own. The countryside is spectacular and makes for some excellent photos if you have time to scope out locations. If you can coordinate with the sun, there are some dramatic scenes to be had. We unfortunately had a rough time of it with backlighting and periods of intense rain. The upshot is that when the sun comes out between the rains, there is a wonderful warm glow, similar to what you would see at sunrise or sunset.

And of course, rainbows.

That was it for the morning. It was a long drive to Jedburgh, our lunch stop. On the way we stopped at the English/Scottish border for the obligatory photo. Conditions were nasty here, so only a few of us die-hard (and younger) photog’s stepped out. The rest of the drive we simply admired the green, rolling farmlands.

Jedburgh

Jedburgh

Back in Scotland, we visited Jedburgh for lunch. It’s a small town of approximately 4,000 people. The main tourist attraction for us was the Jedburgh Abbey. A bit further down the road, is the house of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Abbotsford (Sir Walter Scott’s House)

The sole afternoon visit was to Sir Walter Scott’s House, Abbotsford. Considering Robert Burn’s house was a thatched roof cottage, I wasn’t exactly worked up about this one. But I was happy to be proven wrong, as Abbotsford is a freakin’ mansion. We had another stroke of good luck today. Abbotsford was about to be closed for a two-year renovation, so we were one of the last groups to tour. The flipside is that a fair number of items and books had already been boxed up.

The grounds are absolutely amazing. The River Tweed runs through or next to the ‘backyard’, if you can call it that. The garden is excellent. Many locations for some wall-worthy photos. I would love to go back some time when it wasn’t overcast.

Edinburgh

Our day over, we proceeded to spend the next two nights at the Barceló Edinburgh Carlton Hotel. It was a very nice hotel, positioned wonderfully for touring, right next to the Royal Mile (Mile High Street). Unfortunately our room faced a major street. It was definitely loud, mostly because of the tour buses (ahem) and other large trucks. We skipped the optional Scottish dinner as it didn’t sound that interesting to us and it was quite expensive. We ate at a local restaurant down the block and called it a night.

Full Gallery – Day 3

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