June 19

    We drove from Edinburgh to Berwick-on-Tweed with nary a hedge, stone wall, or too-narrow road along the way. We are now  back in England.


                                           This half in England . . . . This half in Scotland

The Berwick campground was  across the Tweed River from the city, high on a hill with great views.


The city, a short bus ride away, was a pleasant surprise. Sited on the border between Scotland and England, Berwick has the distinction of being the most fought over city in the land. It still has much of its fortification wall around the old center and we walked all the way around.  

    The next day we found Rover’s Mobil 1 oil at an auto supply store and then drove on to Alnwick Castle, the Hogwarts of Harry Potter films.


It is occupied by the Duke of Northumberland during the half of the year that it is not open to the public. The castle and estate has been in the Percy family for 800 years. And they are quite a family, with ties to numerous events in British history: the founding of Jamestown, Virginia; being written into a Shakespeare play (Hotspur); an execution ordered by Elizabeth I; a death at Dunkirk in WWII. . . . The rooms open to the public are wonderfully extravagant. The two-story library was worth the admission price alone.  

    And then it was just a short drive to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where we encountered our second water loading problem of the trip. For reasons of weight, we like to travel with as little water as possible, so we rarely fill our tank, instead choosing to add water when we arrive at that evening’s campground. But this time we were unable to make our hose connect to their faucet with any of the numerous connectors and adaptors we have acquired over the years. We always use our own hose, dedicated to drinking water, never knowing what the campground hose may have been used for. We have always had excellent water, but we do always use our own hose and filter. No unfiltered water goes into our fresh water tank. Eventually we were able to attach our filter to their hose so . . . we used it. So far, no problem.

    It started to rain during the night: a constant light drizzle that kept up the entire day we spent in Newcastle. It was a special “Taste of Newcastle” weekend, with lots of food vendors in the wet streets. But the rain didn’t seem to keep the crowds away and didn’t slow us down too much. As we entered the city’s small cathedral, we noticed guests gathering for a wedding, so when the organ started playing we sat in the back, watched all the ladies come in with their fancy hats on, and stayed until the bride made it down the aisle before we sneaked out the back. (This is not unusual: In many of the very large cathedrals, tourists will be walking down the side aisles while services are going on in the middle or in a side chapel.) We continued through the rain, crossing one of the seven bridges in the city to get to an art museum in a remodeled flour mill and then crossed it again to get back to a craft show at The Biscuit Factory. We felt like we were in Minneapolis again, at an art center in a converted warehouse and a museum in a flour mill.


    Newcastle was full of people. One bus stop on the way back to the campground was at a large shopping center attached to the train station. It was surrounded by huge parking lots and a parking garage, all of them packed full of cars. It would be Christmas before we would see lots that full in the US. The price of gasoline just doesn’t seem to slow anyone down.

    On the way to Durham today we left the highway to see the largest angel sculpture in the world: The Angel of the North stands above a major highway, where it is seen, they say, by one person every second.


With the blessing of the angel we proceeded to Durham. We arrived at the cathedral in time to attend a worship service. 125 people in the congregation don’t make a whole lot of noise when they sing in this massive space, but the organ filled the place and was lovely. After the service we were able to investigate the whole cathedral; then we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the narrow steep cobblestone streets of the town, again in the rain, before heading to a nearby campground.