Sunday dawned bright but cold, with a sprinkling of frost. It was an early start, with a wonderful dawn chorus acting as our alarm call.
Servicing the van took a wee while, especially as Mr Snail noticed that our exhaust was hanging low. Investigation revealed that several of the exhaust mounts had disappeared. It might have been the unexpected speed bump that we met last night on our way on to the site. You know the kind, the ones with the speed bump warning sign planted adjacent to the bump instead of sensible yards ahead.
There was a degree of stress evident - and I do not mean in the exhaust pipe.
We needed to be off, we wanted to get through the Central Belt before the day got going. Crossing all digits, Mr Snail drove with care and kept close to the hard shoulder wherever possible.
When we arrived at our intended rest stop, Annanwater Services, we were still intact. Mr Snail checked the state of affairs whilst Nell and I headed for the path around the water.
There were distinct signs of Spring also being well advanced here, though there was ample evidence of flood damage from the winter too. Nell went back in to the van after our walk and we went for some caffeine and calories.
Over a bucket of coffee, we made use of the free Wi-Fi to find an exhaust specialist in Carlisle and see if we could get a repair done there.
Unfortunately it was not possible to get Brunhilde tended to properly and we ended up in B&Q, pulling from the shelves anything that looked useful. She ended up with some cable ties holding her pipes on and we hoped that they would hold good once the exhaust heated up again.
It was hot and sunny in Carlisle and there was an abundance of spring flowers, also an abundance of traffic and people. It was manic and I did not like it one bit. It was good to get out of town and on to the moors.
Our afternoon stop at Lambley Viaduct is a spot well known to us. We originally found it years ago, when out geocaching. It was a tight fit for Brunhilde but she went in. Having been somewhat delayed, and by now Mr Snail was feeling weary indeed, we thought we might overnight here instead of heading all the way in to Teesdale as per The Plan.
However, fuelled by coffee and cake and after a brisk walk along to the viaduct, he felt refreshed enough to push on, having checked the mileage for the following day and deciding that some of it needed to be checked off this afternoon.
We had clearly left Spring behind in Carlisle. Up here in the hills there was little sign of growth and the day was dull, grey and and a little misty.
We arrived at Bowlees just in time to find the visitor centre closed. There were still plenty of people around however and we did our best therefore not to get in the way. Later we had the place to ourselves and were able to walk the dog up to Gibson's Cave. The light was poor by then but I had a go at some photographs regardless. Once again, Spring had yet to show its face here.
Here's the album for the day
Monday was a day reserved for family. We drove down through Teesdale, stopping only to take a photograph or two of Brunhilde outside my old home.
Here in Cotherstone, the daffs were also lagging behind those in Dumfries and Galloway and Carlisle.
It took a while to become used to the volume of traffic after 13 years in the hinterlands. The A66 was bad enough but the A1(M) was horrible indeed. I was happy when we arrived at Pocklington.
We slept the night on my brother-in-law's drive, and left on Tuesday for the final leg to Gloucestershire.