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Visiting Caerlaverock Castle, then to the Lake District

Thursday 25 August, visiting Caerlaverock Castle, then to the Lake District

Caerlaverock castle Caerlaverock castleWe are not very far from the Lake District, our goal for today, but we can't leave Scotland so soon. So we drive through the town of Dumfries to visit Caerlaverock castle. The day starts warm and sunny, and we enjoy it when we walk in and around this unique castle. In front of the castle is a catapult, a medieval canon with which rocks were fired at castle walls to penetrate them. They were often used in the siege of a castle or town.
Caerlaverock castle Caerlaverock castleThe castle itself is unique because of its triangular shape. It doesn't look very big from the outside but on the inside we can see there must have been quite a large number of rooms. The castle was build in 1290, but totally rebuild in the 17th century. And it was destroyed again, as so many other castles in the border area with England.
Caerlaverock castleDrawings show the difference between the life in the castle in different ages and what is most clear is that there apparantly lived more people in the castle in the 13th century than in the 17th. Maybe people needed more room then or they had the luxury that they could use more room. But further we don't see many differences. Now we are another 400 years later and what would we do without electricity, central heating, flushing toilets and showers!
Gretna GreenAfter this extensive visit we drive further along the coast to Gretna where we see this cathedral. Somehwat more to the south lies Gretna Green, on the border with England. Despite the fact that Scotland and England are both members of the Untited Kingdom, Scotland still has its own legislation in several areas and marriage is one of those areas. In England therehad always been severe rules: one had to obtain approval of the marriage and marry in church, while all of that wasn't necessary in Scotland where girls could even marry when they were 16.
Gretna GreenFor that reason a sort of marriage-tourism started to rise, to Gretna Green and other villages along the border. The village blacksmith performed the marriage ceremony, like here in the Old Blacksmith's Shop, now a visitor centre. But we can't go in right now, since a marriage is going on!
Then we leave Scotland and enter England, the Cumbria distict. Most people will know this region better from the name of the centre of it: the Lake District. Via Carlisle we drive to Keswick where we have to fillup our lpg. Only on the first day we have driven 80 kilometers with petrol, but that was more lazyness than necessity. In Scotland and England there are now much more gas stations with lpg than ever before. A few years ago we had to search for a filling station on some out-of-the-way industrial park, but now many gasstations selll lpg as well. No wonder with a petrol and dieselprice of about € 1,50 per liter. Sometime you see on the signs with prices that lpg is also being sold, but not always. There are at least many more lpg filling stations than most of the guides tell you. The price of lpg varies between 45 and 75 eurocent (30 to 50 pence).
Castlerigg stone circleWhen we leave Keswick, we first go to the Castlerigg stone circle, situated on top of a hill with a nice view on the surrounding hills. This picture is of a small stone circle within the bigger one, probably a sort of sanctuary. But what strikes us most is that so many people walk around here, we have never seen that at stone circles in Scotland, it is much busier here.
Lake District Lake DistrictThen we continue our way into the Lake District, through the Cumbrian Mountains towards Wasdale. The distances here are not very big, but we don't seem to get on: it is very busy on the roads, the weather gets worse and the roads also. It is even getting icy now and then when we have to climb roads with inclinations of 25% or more. It starts to hail and the temperature is dropping quickly. The scenery is beautiful here, but we rather stay in the poor car that is starting to have problems with the steep roads.
But the scenery is beautiful and we would like to go to a campsite at the end of the Waste Water, between the highest mountains of the Lake District. But when we have driven a few hours through the bad weather we decide to look for a hotel, since it is very wet and cold, no weather to go camping. Eventually we arrive at Nether Wasdale, on the southwest side of the mountains. The hotel could be cheaper but at least we have a dry and warm place and it is a nice place to explore the region from. And when it becomes warmer, we can always put up our tent.
We take a warm meal at the hotel on the other side of the road and we are glas that the heating works, even in this time of year. It really was much warmer in Scotland!


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