After Fife we headed up to Newburgh, just outside Aberdeen for the last of our visits, to see Glen and Jennifer. We stopped off for a cuppa at Ali’s in Forfar and discovered a little puddle under Brian when we came out. With my limited mechanical knowledge I wasn’t sure a) what was leaking or b) where from but it didn’t look like a large leak so we decided to press on to Aberdeen and try and get it looked at. The friendly folk at Newburgh Motors had a look and advised that we had a leak from the top of the fuel tank, and as long as we only half-filled then all should be well for the rest of the trip. So, we managed to leave Newburgh only running a little late….
Having lived in Fife for two and a half years and worked in Edinburgh, I should know my way out of Edinburgh to the Forth Road Bridge. However changes to road layouts and my poor memory combined to send Brian across Princes Street and heading south. A quick change of plan saw my head for the Western Approach Road, a slightly odd road along a former railway line which whizzes you between city centre and suburbs.
Unfortunately we soon hit a 1.5 tonne weight limit, much too low for Brian to pass, so had to execute a swift U-turn (I only saw the sign as we sailed past the last turn-off. Returning memory and Rebekah’s map reading lead us out of the city and on to the Forth Road bridge. This was the first time we had crossed the bridge since the Scots abolished all bridge tolls, and was a slightly strange sensation, a free ride into Fife.
The next few days saw a round of visiting, including meeting up with the family in Dunfermline, friends in Milton of Balgonie and Kirkcaldy (where the kids played “Pass the Bomb” with our friends from Northern Ireland….) and being introduced to several dogs (v. popular with Jonathan). The whole of the first part of our trip has followed a fairly tight timetable, and we continued the running late theme in Fife! It was a really nice couple of days catching up with people though and overall the pace relaxed a little.
Our first night in Fife we decided to try the world famous fish supper from Anstruther fish bar. I was slightly concerned this would turn out to be a huge let down, but I can honestly say I have never eaten better fish and chips. It did involve a 40 minute wait, and a long queue (for the ladies while the male contingent slobbed in the van watching the harbour). A stroll along the harbour wall as the sun set rounded the evening off nicely.
There aren’t many campsites in the west side of Fife so we had opted for one in Glenrothes (Kingdom caravan Park)based on the convenience of its location and the fact that the other likely candidate was next to a main road and railway line. It was a slightly odd place, a very friendly welcome but it felt a bit like you were camping in somebody’s garden. Mostly static caravans, some of which looked like they might be lived in for most of the year. All the pitches were on gravel, so not great for the awning, but we were able to pitch the pup tent just behind the van. We spent very little time on site, only sleeping there really. It didn’t strike me as a place you would particularly want to sit around with a glass of wine in the evening, but for this stage of the trip was convenient, clean, friendly and did the job.
Under specific instructions from Sue B. we stopped at the Scottish Storyelling Centre on the Royal mile while we were in Edinburgh. So, here it is Sue.
Had a really nice time in Edinburgh, doing things I remember from when I was little and other stuff too!
Had a really tasty key lime pie ice cream and the compulsory mainland Starbucks frapachino
The iceberg inside Dynamic Earth(we went for revision purposes, was pretty interesting)
We went to a 3D thing about Biomes
Waving at the trains from the bridge in Princes street gardens.
Me being sad at the fact you can’t get Traidcraft honeycomb chocolate anymore and Jonathan playing at the park I remember playing in.
Climbing up Arthur’s seat, Ruth and I went the interesting (or stupid depending on who you ask) way up!
From Greenbelt we made our way to Darlington for an overnight stop with Liese and Nath (sleeping inside a house, very strange) then on to Edinburgh. Brian performed very well, though he doesn’t really like to combine hills and speed. We did see the dizzy heights of 71 mph for a brief time, but cruising at 60 is more the order of the day. A quick check on economy shows an average of 31MPG on the run from Cheltenham, which is better than expected. Anyway, enough statistics….
Edinburgh has two campsites in the city boundaries, and we opted for the Morton Hall site to the south of the city. Having lost time to pumping up tyres in Darlington then shopping in Asda we arrived later than planned. It’s a nice site, though we have discovered the shop opening times bear little resemblance to those advertised!
On our first day we visited the Taits who we hadn’t seen for years (arrived late due to, well, being us) and then on to the Falkirk wheel which opened almost exactly the same time as we left Scotland, and we have wanted to visit ever since. It is a stunning piece of engineering, but the boat ride on it was actually a little dull, though the cheery guide helped improve things. For anyone else visiting I’d suggest thinking about just watching and going off on one of the walks around the site and the two canals. The play areas were quite good, though the water play park appeared to be a little low on water so didn’t quite work properly (or we were all too stupid to understand how stuff worked).
Day two saw us wake to a puddle of water in the corner of the bed. No, I hadn’t had an accident, nor do we have any cats with us. Brian must have been crying in the night. Or perhaps we had a leak. It looks like the gutters are still a bit leaky, so out came the sealant gun. Meanwhile “3” had decided to cut off our mobile broadband, so a long call to the customer disservice department ensued. This meant once again we were running late.
The bus to Edinburgh (£1.20 adult single, listen up Southern Vectis) left us a short walk to Dynamic Earth, which was an interesting visit and handy revision for the girls’ environmental management course. We then revisited old haunts, waving to the trains coming in and out of Waverley Station (pleased to note they still wave back and hoot), visiting the cafe under the church at the West End of Prince’s Street and then the “chocolate shop” (that’s what Rebekah always called the Fairtrade shop) and nearby playground.
Arrived back ready for our barbecue only to discover we had no lighter fuel (thought it was packed) so switched to an alternative. Ho hum.
Our final full day in the city saw a spot of shopping and some most excellent ice creams, followed by meeting up with friends at the National Museum of Scotland. The central atrium was awesome and provided photo opportunities while we waited for Laura (we were early, for the first and probably last time on this trip). We then had a change of plan and headed off to a multicultural festival at Leith Links. It was…interesting. We saw some excellent Bungra dancing but had to sit through some dire “singing” beforehand as some wailing bloke decided to overrun massively. We managed to pick up some (very effective) lighter blocks and so managed our BBQ at last, yippee!
We packed up and left early the next morning, and climbed up Arthur’s Seat, as one must do when visiting Edinburgh. Fortunately we had the sunniest day yet and had some great views from the top before descending rapidly to head across to Fife. We were running late.