New Abbey, Caerlaverock
Friday September 12th
the Twelve (?) Apostles
We had breakfast in our B&B, took a look at Moffat's woolen shops,
sent off some postcards, then headed for Dumfries. There we went looking
for some standing stones to the north called "the Twelve Apostles",
which we only knew about from a symbol on our road map. After some
wandering we found them, but they weren't that exciting - certainly
nothing compared to the Orkney standing
we were to see later on the trip. And Jenny thought the
sheep wandering around them had foot-and-mouth disease.
To find the Twelve Apostles, head north from
Dumfries on the A76, turn left onto the B729, then take the first lane
left and look for a sign on the lefthand fence.
We drove back through Dumfries without stopping, to New Abbey on the Firth of Nith. Sweetheart Abbey
is very much like the border abbeys, a ruin set on billiard table quality
green grass. Much more interesting to us was the New Abbey Mill, which
is still-functional - we watched a documentary on the history of
the mill and looked over the machinery and the wheel. (Both the abbey
and the mill are managed by Historic Scotland.)
fast tides in the Firth of Nith
Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre
To reach the other side of the Firth of Nith we had to go all the way
north to Dumfries and then back south. We stopped for lunch at the Nith
Hotel in Glencape, with good views over the Firth, watching the tide
come in -- very fast.
Caerlaverock is a small but attractive triangular castle, with a nice
big moat (yet another Historic Scotland property). There's not that
much to see -- there's a dramatised siege video and a trebuchet, as
well as the castle -- but you can do a short walk through the woods to
the site of an earlier castle. Apparently the badgers dig up the grass
lawns around the castle at night.
Next stop was the Caerlaverock Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre.
This is a large complex of
wetlands and fields, with nicely set up hides. It was not peak season --
there were maybe half a dozen other visitors -- and we didn't get to see
the tens of thousands of Barnacle geese that overwinter. But there were
an impressive number of ducks, swans (Whooper and Mute), and other geese
(Canada and Greylag). Walking along a lane and having scores of geese
fly overhead within metres was pretty amazing - it reminded me very much
of the film Winged Migration (aka Travelling Birds).
the Ruthwell Cross
We stopped to see the Ruthwell Cross - we had to hunt down the woman
with the key to get into the church - on the way to Carlisle, where we
dropped Thomas off at the station. We then pushed on to Keswick in the
Next: Lake District - Keswick
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