Well....things sometimes don't go quite according to plan! Over 18 months in the planning and suddenly with less than 5 weeks to go before we set off on our adventures....we have delays.
We left Australia on the 19th June and flew back to the UK. On the 22nd June we flew off to Sicily for a great "Sexy Six" week, with Chris & Nicholas (Amanda's brother & sister in law) and Catherine & Tim our dearest and oldest friends. Staying in the small village of Stazzo on the east coast of Sicily, between Taormina and Catania, we had found a modern day castle, where we would have the run of the two upper floors and the two turrets. With visits to Taormina and Syracuse we explored part of the east coast and enjoyed great weather good food and lots of laughs...plus of course some great relaxation time by the pool.
Returning to the UK from Sicily we had a few days to prepare for our next trip to Ireland to meet up with Jade (my daughter) and her boyfriend. On the morning we were flying to Dublin we received an email from Earthroamer in Denver to say the vehicle was running 4 to 6 weeks behind schedule. Disappointed? YES! Down hearted...absolutely NOT! So we quickly re-planned and looked forward to using the extra 5 weeks we would have in the UK to best effect.
A great stay in Ireland for 10 days (originally 7 but now we had extra time to play with!)...the weather was fantastic which helped tremendously, and we were able to explore more of the west coast in particular where we fell in love with Kerry and Dingle...we will certainly return so we can walk extensively in both those areas.
The Blonde doing her Irish Jig on a beach near Dingle
the Blonde then went off to spend time with her dad in Halifax and I set off to the Lake District to spend time with my Mum. Jade flew into Manchester and spent time with us in the Lake District and Halifax before coming down with us to Norfolk to stay with our very dear friends Catherine & Tim in their new house. The weather continued to be sunny and warm. We managed several good walks up on the North Norfolk Coast Path, a particular area we are very familiar with of course, as this is where we had lived before leaving the UK back in 1993....but even so, we never tire of the great walks on offer.
A week with Catherine & Tim and then on 2nd August we decided to take off to spend some time in London....very kindly our friends Julia & David (who we had originally met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), had managed to convince their son and his partner to "loan" us their studio apartment in Battersea. London was great, we had forgotten just how much is on offer in this fantastic city...we walked the parks and canals, we visited the sights and many museums and again the weather stayed warm and sunny for the majority of the time. Our good friends Julia and David kindly gave up time from their busy schedules to make us so welcome. We rediscovered how much fun could be had in a big city and even enjoyed a great afternoon matinee with Nicholas and Chris...watching the Beatles in 'Let It Be", a great stage show, followed by an equally great meal at Jamie's Italian Restaurant off Carnaby Street!
Great street art in Brick Lane, London.
After spending the week exploring and re-discovering London, we then headed south to deepest, darkest Sussex to spend some time with our other dear friends, Sir William and Lady Jane....again this remarkable English Summer has graced us with beautiful warm sunny days...we walked, talked and enjoyed their great hospitality, in this beautiful area of southern England?
The South West Coast Path - The South West Coast Path National Trail is rated as one of the top walks to be found anywhere in the world by Lonely Planet and voted Britain’s best walking route by the readers of Walk magazine. Where else can you walk along 630 miles of such superb coastline? The heritage, wildlife, geology and scenery along the way are truly inspirational and every day walking it brings stunning new experiences. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon stroll to take you to a beauty spot, or to embark on the challenge of hiking the entire route from Somerset's Minehead on the edge of Exmoor around to the shores of Poole Harbour in Dorset, or something in between, you’ve come to an amazing place...all the better of course if the weather is fine. The area was all quite new to both of us and so therefore even more exciting to view and appreciate. We had great accommodation in a one bedroom cottage part of a working farm just on the border between Devon and Dorset, so ideally located for our walks. We hiked every day and there were many memorable sights. We loved our visits to Lulworth Cove, Lyme Regis and Sidmouth and the pretty villages of West End and Beer. We will return to do more of this beautiful coastline in the future, that's for sure.
So after yet another "unplanned" great week we headed north to visit one of our dear friends from when we had worked in Mauritius. As always it was great to catch up with Chris even if it was short and sweet...and after lunch with her we headed north again to Halifax and then back to the Lake District again to do some more hiking. And....yet again the weather was with us! We had one particularly amazing hike at Wastwater, where we hiked over Whin Rigg having the most stunning views over the lake towards Great Gable, Scafell Pike and right across to the coast with the Isle of Man in the far distance.
On, on, then to Halifax to spend sometime with Bryan and Avice and a great weekend as the "Rothwell Clan" all came together.... memorable eggs benedict Bryan!! After 3 days we worked our way down to Norfolk for a second time....more time annoying Tim and Catherine plus celebrating Catherine's birthday with a take away chinese.