Leaving Loch Lomond, we travelled down the M74 towards Carlisle and eventually on to the M6 where we took the A66 junction near Penrith, crossing the Pennines and headed towards the A1(M). We arrived in York at 5pm and located our hotel, The Dean Court, which is directly opposite York Minster. It’s a decent hotel with views of the Minster from rooms located at the front.
After checking in we located our rooms and settled ourselves in. We had arranged to meet up for an evening meal at a nearby Italian restaurant with my sister, B-i-L and their son and his wife and children. I hadn’t seen my sister since mid-2018 and because they live a good 2 ½ hour trip from Reggie Towers we don’t tend to see each other more than once or twice a year at the most. For a number of reasons, we didn’t see them in 2019 and as Covid-19 struck in 2020 that put any plans for meeting up on ice, so it was great to see them again after so long.
We arrived at the restaurant at 7pm and were shown to our table. The restaurant is located in the old Grand Assembly Rooms and is very grand and spacious. Tall columns line each side of the hall and there is plenty of space for large groups to gather without the feeling of being hemmed in. We had a good long chat, enjoyed a very nice meal and finally said our farewells. We walked back to the hotel and retired for the night.
Breakfast was booked for 10am (it was either that or 7.30am), giving us a bit of a lie in. As it was a lovely sunny day, we decided to spend a few hours in York, wandering around the city centre streets and shops, before we set off for home.
We checked out of the hotel, drove to a nearby car park at Moorgate and followed the signs to the City Centre. As luck would have it the very first shop we came to was a lino print maker. We spent 15 minutes or so looking at all the prints and chatting to the print maker’s son, who told us a bit about his father and his own story. We decided we would pop back in on the way to the car, giving us time to think about any prints we might want to buy.
If you’ve never been to York before you really must try and do so at some point. It has some of the best-preserved city walls I’ve ever seen in the UK and many of the streets are narrow and cobbled, giving a sense of how old the city is. There are many city gates to explore, some with strange names such as “Whip Ma Whop Ma Gate”. If you like history and old buildings York certainly delivers them in spades.
We spent a good 2 hours browsing various shops and looking at some interesting buildings in the city centre. We’ve been to York a number of times and whilst it would have been good to visit some of the museums, we didn’t really have the time or inclination to do so on this occasion, being mindful that the final leg of our journey home was another 4-hour drive.
For lunch we spotted an Italian delicatessen who made us up some delicious ciabatta rolls with cheese and pesto, which we took back to the car for eating on the journey. Heading back to the car park we once again popped in to the print maker’s shop and bought a framed limited edition print we both liked. To be honest there were a dozen or more prints we both liked and we could easily have spent a small fortune there. Thankfully he has a website so we can always buy prints without the need to travel huge distances. The picture below shows the print we bought but I’ll leave the details of who the artist is for another article I’m working on at the moment.
212 miles and 4 hours later we arrived back at Reggie Towers and the end of our trip to Scotland and the north of England. Thankfully the journey home was stress free, with the traffic being kind to us.
Having not had a proper holiday during 2020 and the first 8 months of 2021, I hadn’t realised how much I had needed this break. About 4 days in to the holiday it struck me how stuck in the rut I had become, doing the same thing day after day, to the point where I had lost interest in life and almost everything had become a chore. I now feel refreshed and ready to take on the world once again – my mojo is back!
Our trip wasn’t exactly relaxing; driving over 800 miles in 6 days is a little tiring but the places we went to and the memories we now have will stay with us for a long time. For those who have never been to Scotland, I would thoroughly recommend a trip there. It’s a big place with lots on offer for everyone, regardless of whether you like the hustle and bustle of city life or the more relaxing experience of being in the wilderness. You do need to travel large distances though, unless sticking to one of the main towns or cities.
One final point of note. Like every large city and town in the UK, Scotland has its fair share of diversity. Get outside those towns and cities and there is still a country largely unaffected by immigration. I’m under no illusion that our country has been ruined by successive governments but there are still many places to enjoy if you can get out and about. Our trip gave me some perspective and balance in this regard.
Hope you enjoyed these articles.
© text and images unless otherwise indicated Reggie 2021