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Entries in Driving (45)


Isle of Man to Peebles

My mother and I were heading off for another annual Caine family get together in Peebles, Scotland. My wife can't make it as it's in Manx Grand Prix fortnight and she can't get time off from her job at the hospital.

This meant an early start to take the Ben My Chree sailing to Heysham and after the obligatory stop at Gretna to buy some whisky and lunch we turned off the motorway at Moffat to take the scenic route to Peebles.

There were only two other people in the Manannan Executive lounge. They were going to a reunion which was normally held in the same hotel we were going to but this year it was big reunion and it was being held in Edinburgh. Coincidentally they were also going to return on the same sailing as us.

Unlike last year when torrential rain had flooded and closed some of the roads this year the weather was fine and I enjoyed “making some progress” in the Porsche Boxster.

If my wife had been with me it would be all white knuckles and "slow down!" but my 84 year old mother was in the passenger seat and she was fast asleep after a good lunch. Once she briefly woke up and asked how fast we were going. I told her about 80 and she said "Oh, I thought it was faster than that" and then went back to sleep.

After checking in to Peebles Hydro we in to Peebles town and looked at some shops; I may buy some shoes. My mother then wanted to look at a church so I enjoyed a pint in pub next door. Such a convenient arrangement! In the evening we had our meal with six of the family.


Isle of Man to Brighton

We were up early again for the Manannan fast craft sailing to Liverpool. I say "fast craft" but it's still running of three out of four engines and taking at least half an hour longer on each crossing. My mother was with us and as it was her 84th birthday today she opened her birthday cards during the crossing.

Once we’d disembarked at Liverpool we were soon on our way down to Brighton on the south coast of England. Although it seemed quite a long way away on the map it was supposedly only four and three quarter hours according to our GPS.

I drove the first leg to the services on the M6 toll road where we stopped for a break and to change drivers. I recognised the services as where we’d stopped on the way to Dover and few years previous when I took part in the Italian Job charity event.

My wife drove the next leg but due to us missing a service station she drove for longer than we’d intended. She also suffered from a bout of nausea and we had to pull off the motorway for her to be sick.

I took over the driving and we eventually arrived at the Holiday Inn hotel for the next six nights in Brighton. As my wife still wasn’t feeling too well she stayed in the room while my mother and I went for a walk along the promenade to the Pier before having a sea food meal in the nearby Melrose Restaurant and retiring for the night.


Glasgow to Isle of Man

It was time to head home today so after breakfast we packed, checked, loaded up the car and headed off for our first stop in Carlisle.

My wife had wanted to check out the fabric shop at Linton Direct and it turned out to be right next to the huge chimney we’d spotted on a previous visit to Carlisle. After a coffee there I fuelled up the car and headed off to Liverpool.

There was some atrocious driving on the motorway with some nutter driving along in the outside lane for miles and miles and he wouldn’t move over, even when the two lanes inside him were completely clear. His blocking of the outside lane lead to some people undertaking just to get past and clear of him.

I was glad when we turned off the motorway and made out way in to Liverpool for the obligatory stop at Liverpool 1 before the boarding the boat back home to the Isle of Man.


Isle of Man to Glasgow

We took the early morning Seacat to Liverpool for the drive up to Glasgow. The original idea was that although it was an hour longer to Glasgow from Liverpool, the sailing time was two hours less so we would gain one hour overall. This plan was soon messed up by the Seacat only running on three of its four engines again so the crossing took about 45 minutes longer and any timed saved was negligible.

We took a route out of Liverpool that I’d never been on before to join the motorway. I thought I knew most of the ways to the motorway network but this tine TomTom showed us a route that was completely new to us.  

The drive up to Glasgow was a bit boring, taking around four hours, so we swapped drivers part way and I actually managed to fall asleep while my wife drove. We eventually arrived at the City Inn, Glasgow, where we’d stayed on a previous trip. It’s right next to the huge old quayside crane not far from the SECC.

After checking in and unpacking we walked to the city centre for some obligatory shopping. I visited an O2 shop to get two micro sims for our new iPhone 4’s so we wouldn’t have to pay Manx Telecom’s roaming charges for call or internet access while we were here.

As my wife was still shopping when I’d finished I wandered down to the Toby Jug pub by the station to wait for her there and then take a taxi back to the hotel.

In the evening we went to the nearby India Quay restaurant and I ordered what seemed to be the Indian equivalent of a mixed grill. I still don’t really understand Indian restaurant menus so I’ve never too sure what to expect when I’ve ordered. The meal looked fine, if slightly large, so a few more beers would be needed to help wash it down.

I was just trying to get some more chicken off the bone as the attentive waitress asked if everything was all right. I’m not too sure what happened next, but there seemed to be a huge curry explosion; I was covered in the orange sauce, the table was also covered as was part of the wall. Even my poor bemused wife had some of the curry sauce on her. The waitress beat a retreat – “Do you think she noticed?” I asked my wife in a loud stage whisper.

I cleaned up the best I could, finished and paid for the meal and then had a slightly embarrassing, but thankfully short walk back to the hotel.



Today we drove to Llanberis in Wales, mostly along motorways.

Once in Llanberis some of the attraction we had wanted to see weren't yet open or operating so we went on a guided tour of the National Slate Museum, which was actually more interesting than I'd expected. Our guide was keen to point out the largest waterwheel on mainland Britain. The largest waterwheel in the British Isles, or Europe, or possibly even the world, is, of course, our own Laxey Wheel.

By the time it had finished the Llanberis Lake Railway was operating and this was actually less interesting than I'd expected it to be. Ah well, you can't win them all.

I had lunch, an Oggie and bottle of cider, and we then went on the Snowdonia Railway for the two and a half hour return journey up to the top of Snowdonia. The single carriage was divided up in to a number of "compartments", each one holding eight passengers, so it was a fairly cramped ride up and down the mountain. Although the views from the peak were spectacular I was quite please when the descent back to Llanberis was over and we could get off the train.ho

Photo: The top of Snowdon

Rather than take the boring motorway for our return trip to our hotel we decided to go across country, lowered the car hood, and enjoyed a very pleasant drive back through the Welsh countryside, stopping for our evening meal in The Gredington Arms.

Photo: The view from Snowdon