Saturday Carolina, Mark, Vandu and myself made our way up to Scotland. We drove up the west coast through the Lake District where we stopped for lunch and then to Carlisle where we out our bets on for the Grand National. Myself and Mark (the English) are long running fans of the Grand National and so we had to make the right decision about what horse we picked. I chose Comply or Die and Mark took aproimately 4 hours to choose his horse which I cannot remember the name of but fell within the first few minutes. Carolina and Vandu (the Portugese) picked the horse which to me clearly was never going to win. They sat through race having a chat and mulling over the tour guides of Great Britain and Scotland (their hearts were just not in it) and then with minutes to spare Mon Mome sped into first place and won the race with odds of 100/1. As a wonderful result Carolina won £125! This all happened in a small pub across the border in Gretna Green everyone in there was as gobsmacked and Mark and I.
After Carolina's win we carried on up the coast and wondered across SweetHeart Abbey which was founded by Lady of Galloway in memory of her late husband. As an act of love she wore his embalmed heart around her neck; as much as this sound disgusting I think I would love a man to wear my heart around his neck.
We carried on driving and came across a small town in the middle of no where on the coast. We decided to pitch up here and we went for typical fish and chips and then the pub for a game of pool and a beer. I was particularly excited since the pub had a few arcade games like air hockey and even Pac Man. So whilst I am not very good at pool my Pac Man skills have been greatly improved.
We were up early Sunday morning to take down our tent and make our way to Culzean Castle in Ayr. We walked around the grounds which have an incredible view over the sea and then we paid £13 to get into the castle itself. Mark and Carolina were luckier enough not to have to pay as they had brought their National Trust volunteer cards which I had stupidly forgotten. However for a mere £13 I now have a years membership to the National Trust and this would have been a lot more if I had been in England.
I think I slept a lot on Sunday since I don't really remember much of the day apart from eating in a pub in Ayr and trying to persuade everyone not to camp again. But camping we did! We stayed on Loch Lomond which was absolutly beautiful. We had a quick pint in the pub where Vandu played the piano and Mark fell asleep.
Monday was an exceptional day. Mark had a dream. A dream that in my mind was a bit crazy but a dream he had a dream he needed to fulfill. So we drove John o' Groats, the northerly most north part of Great Britain. I would love to say that the drive was worth it and that we got to see incredible landscapes and the sun was out and were able to see the Northen Lights. But I can't. The clouds covered the sky, the wind tried to blow us over, the landscape was nothing to shout about and there wasn't even a pub insight. But we did it and now we all have a warm fuzzy feeling inside that only comes when you go so far north. However on the drive up we visited Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, we had coffee in Fort William which is a lovely town and we got to drive past Ben Nevis the highest mountain in Britian.
Tuesday we visted Edinburgh where we walked the mile and went to see where JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series. I even got a little burnt because the sun was out. Then we head to Rosalind Chapel which although beautiful was covered with scaffolding. But the history of the building and the architecure was very cool! (read Mark Griffin's blog for more info)
Then it was off to let Mark live the dream again. We went to see Oxford United play in York. They lost.
BUT York I love. I really love it. I walked around on Wednesday with the biggest smile on my face ever. We went to the Minster, we had coffee in the Evil Eye shop, we argued about education and we walked the city walls. And we went on the Viking Experience or what I would like to rename How not to do Drama in the Community. The actors were bad, the story was boring, the whole thing needed a boost of energy and a new way to teach young people about the history of York. We also had coffee in the Theatre Royal and as much as I love the National Theatre, this theatre was a new thing entirely. I loved the way they worked and how they involved the whole community and welcomed everyone into the space. If I were to run a theatre it would be like this; unpretentcious and just wonderful!
Now home in London I can't wait to leave again and move to York once I graduate.