Back to Beautiful Britain

Back to beautiful Britain and our holiday blues melancholy lifted a little as we entered the bustling and really quite beautiful port of Portsmouth.  On a surprisingly sunny day our ferry passed through the historic defensive towers, austere against a patchwork of green and gold fields either side of the estuary. We passed a myriad of ships and small boats, some charging around, the bigger military vessels skulking in corners and the majestic Victory standing proud at the centre.

Portsmouth harbour back in blighty

Of the 18 ports we have departed or entered during our trip, Portsmouth welcomed us home in style, the most interesting and picturesque we have seen on our whole journey this summer.  We are always surprised how the beautiful Britain is when we come home after travels elsewhere.  After our previous evening on the coast by the Normandy Beaches we could really see how the returning soldiers must have been overcome with emotion at the site of the English coast on their return back to beautiful Britain or Blighty.

It felt extremely odd when we got back ‘home’, well to our house anyway, as it really didn’t feel like home any longer.  Home is our van on the road, home is wherever we are together. The house and all its appliances, trimmings and furnishings now seems quite unnecessary after living in a camper van and out of a bag for 7 weeks.

So rather than stay inside and unpack we sat in the garden and enjoyed the sound of the birds and the breeze rusting in the trees, though the British August weather meant jumpers (and gloves for me).   We enjoyed the skyline of tall trees against the cloud dappled sky and both remarked how beautiful Britain really is.

We were both amazed when we noticed that a plane, probably going somewhere important, had left a striking cut through the, already, beautiful cloud formations against the bright blue sky.  It halted our conversation until it finally dissolved…

Airplane cuts the sky stunning cloud formations

We were not still for long, a couple of days later, we set us off on a tour of Britain, which joined us with our dear van again. This time, not being used a camper van but for a very enjoyable drive north to my mum near Penrith and then onwards to Boat of Garten near Inverness in Scotland.

In the northern Lake District, near Troutbeck, my Mum was brave and adventurous (or perhaps stubborn like I would be) as we trudged up and down rocky paths, often particularly boggy.  Soggy feet and wobbly knees did not slow her down and we enjoyed a fantastic walk with wonderful views over to Blencathra (Saddleback) peeking out of the clouds at the far end of the walk…

view to saddleback

Adam looked like ‘king of all he surveys’ as we stopped for a little breather and to admire the view of the british landscape on the last descent..

king of all he surveys

and finally the long-awaited pub, The Mill Inn at Mungrisdale was in sight!

view to Mill Inn Troutbeck

The next day I persuaded Adam to walk Cross Fell, the highest point on the Pennines, a few miles (and up) behind my Mum’s house.  The weather was not ideal and still with a few hundred metres of climb remaining, we entered the cloud stubbornly blanketing the top section, so I used all my powers of persuasion to get Adam to go all the way to the top.  Wet and a little weary we finally spotted the summit, the trig point (just visible over Adam’s shoulder)…

trig point in fog on Cross Fell Pennines

The views and the weather improved as we descended, the rugged landscape unveiled itself again.  Overall, another wonderful walk in the Pennines…topped off with a wonderful evening with friends (Adam and I both feel very privileged to be able to call our parents ‘friends’ – I hope everyone does).

view to pennine hills Cross fell

Next stop Boat of Garten, near Inverness in Scotland, a stunning location in the Cairngorms National park for more great food, great company and wonderful walks with friends…

walking scotland nethybridge

and nature amazed us yet again…

remarkable trees at Nethybridge lake

We were not looking forward to coming back to ‘Blighty’ but our time here so far has reconfirmed that where we call currently home is truly beautiful, a lush varied landscape full of natural interest, if only it was hotter…


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