On the 25th of September, myself and Rachel were lucky enough to join her mum (Carol) and her grandma (Joan) on a weeks break in Northumberland.
I've been up to the likes of Newcastle and Durham before, but I've never actually ventured into the other areas Northumberland has to offer, and let me tell you now, if you've not been, you're missing out... BIG time.
The whole area of Northumberland is stunning and no matter which way you look, there's always a view plucked straight from a postcard, so it was a fantastic opportunity for a break between a busy month of weddings. So, we grabbed the opportunity to unwind a little, go on some road trips (Of which there were lots!) and spend some time with Rachels family, who are equally just as awesome as the area.
Carol had organised for us to stay in an incredible little bungalow, in the quiet little town that was Wooler. The cottage was sublime, it was beautifully kitted out with a huge kitchen diner, comfy sofas and skylights on all the ceilings.
Myself and Rachel were even treated to the master bedroom too, which had its own en suite and a bed that was a joy to fall asleep on at the end of a day full packed full of just the kind of adventures you'd expect from any trip that involves myself and Rach.
The brilliant thing about Northumberland too, is that it's just a stone's throw away from the Scottish border. We made the trip over the border more than once and got to dip our toes a little deeper into Scotland with a couple of visits to Edinburgh, and various distilleries that were dotted around the area... I mean, it'd be rude not to, right?
As is standard, the Mini definitely took a beating too. It crossed fords, drove through oceans (kind of?), raced around some twisty mountain roads and racked up an impressive 1300 fun-filled miles over the course of our week away.
The camera took just as much of a hammering and I dread to think how many photos I racked up over the duration of our holiday. It's gotta be somewhere close to 10,000 pictures. At least! I even tried my hand at a bit of wildlife photography when we ventured out onto the choppy waters to see the seals around the Farne Islands. As a result, I've got a newfound appreciation for wildlife photographers, as taking any kind of decent photo whilst on a boat that's constantly pitching and rolling all over the place on the waves was a challenge in itself!
But you said you crossed an ocean in the mini?
Yep, did that... technically. Granted, the tide was out, but in my book that still counts. So, if you're ever in the area, definitely go and visit Holy Island which is only reachable by causeway at certain times of the day depending on the tide.
Won't you get stuck if the tide comes in when you're on the island?
Yes, and from what I can gather, it happens quite a lot! But, what happens even more frequently than you'd think, is people getting stuck trying to make the journey back over the causeway just as the tides coming in! After chatting with one of the locals, at least once a month, someone loses their car to Davy Jone's locker by trying to beat the tide over to dry land. There's even a station halfway over the crossing, affectionately nicknamed by the locals called the "Idiot Box". The Idiot box is essentially a suspended tiny little shed, designed as a safe place to bail out of your car to safety should the tide begin lap up rather quickly against your tyres!
What would "cause" you to visit such a place, Jono?
Firstly, you're very funny, I see what you did there. Secondly, they have a gift shop that sells world-famous mead along with a multitude of other alcoholic drinks... The views are pretty good too!
So, what else did you get up to?
Very nosey aren't you? But since you asked, lot's, actually! As I've probably mentioned before, Rachel loves a Zoo, and Edinburgh Zoo just so happens to have the only 2 Panda's in the UK, which Rach has been watching a great deal of live on webcam throughout the pandemic. Visiting the panda's has been on our personal bucket list for a long time, so whilst we were in the area we had to go pay them a visit! I'd love to tell you I got an amazing photo of the 2 pandas, but in reality, one was sat with its back to us eating bamboo the whole time and the other one was asleep on the far side of the enclosure... Turns out Panda's are both ignorant and camera-shy, who knew!
Another personal highlight was visiting Alnwick Castle, which boasts some, and I don't use these words lightly here, breath-taking gardens.
Definitely pay Alnwick castle a visit, it has the UK's biggest treehouse, (which was an awesome sight in itself), but teamed up with the gardens, insane water features, and their very own chaperone lead poison garden tour full of deadly plants, it made for a spectacular day out!
We also visited Edinburgh castle, explored many many farm shops in the Northumberland area, played lots of games with Rachel's Grandma and mum, ate far too much food, visited her brother and his partner and had a generally had a wicked time.
But, at the risk of this becoming a bedtime story, I'm going to round things off for this week.
I've attached a little gallery of photos from our little break for you to have a look through at your leisure.
Finally, a huge, huge thank you to both Rachel's Mum and Grandma, for letting us join you both, I had the best time!
So for this week,
Peace, love and Photos.