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The Road to Oxford

Updated: Oct 9

I am just back from a near-two-thousand mile road trip to deliver Arthur to Trinity College, Oxford, where he is going to read biochemistry. He has been there a few days now and reports he is really happy.

We took the opportunity to turn the drive into a tour by car. We therefore went as follows: St Margaret's Hope to Gill's Bay by ferry, then drive to Aberdeen for a quick overnight. We then drove to Berwick-upon-Tweed for lunch before driving on to a boring overnight in a motorway-side inn. The next day had us arriving in Oxford, where Arthur overnighted with me in a hotel before taking up residence in his college the next morning. We parted after lunch, and I spent another night in Oxford before driving back, in a change of plan, to Berwick-upon-Tweed as the town had been so delightful.

I took photos in Berwick, Oxford, and a few roadside shots when the view was particularly striking.

So here are some.


Berwick-upon-Tweed on the way down

The town has a famous bridge, but its main fascination is that is a walled town. One can walk right around it on the ramparts. Arthur and I had a short walk on them as we had more driving to do.

Not many guns left to defend the town today. However, this one was captured by us from the Russians at Sebastopol during the Crimean War.

Some of the best town house are built right on the walls so as to have magnificent views


Looking into the town from the walls

In one of the town's smaller medieval streets


 

The motorway, too, offered some fun moments. We were particularly amused by one 1960s motorway services and its now passé idea of the coming future.

Or as they saw it then

When not on a motorway, there were nice lay-bys for piss-stops


 

Settling in to Oxford

I was worried that the Oxford of today would be a disappointment, but it wasn't. Yes, there was much that was new; yes, there were hordes of multinational people; BUT, unlike Manchester, which I went to not so long ago, it had a nice atmosphere, and felt like, and was, a friendly place.

The move into college was easy and fun. Once through the college gates, there are no more crowds and the atmosphere is lovely.

Second-year students in pink t-shirts were on hand to help.

This is the entrance to the building where Arthur's room is. He will be going in and out through it many times a day.

The gateway to the lawn where students can lounge in spaciousness while the streets outside are crowded.

Another view of the front lawn

So that is where I left Arthur to set off back up alone, with William holding the fort in the Hope.

 

Berwick-on-Tweed on the way up

Berwick was so lovely, I wanted to see more of it and walk more of the walls, so I overnighted there on the way up. I arrived late afternoon, just after a rain shower, and the light was lovely. Time to walk the rest of the walls before supper.

So I set off from where we had been on the way down

and followed the grassy walls round...

...past grand house

...and the Barracks, possibly the first ever custom built ones...

...a gun emplacement.

Looking back into the town

The painter L.S. Lowry used to spend holidays in Berwick. He painted this view too

But I preferred this view over the rooftops

Another glimpse from the walls

And finally back to the bridge, to see it from the other side


 

The next morning I set off bright and early to drive the whole length of Scotland, from this town just 1 ½ miles south of the Scottish border all the way to Gill's Bay and my ferry.


A nice place somewhere in the Cairngorms to stop, stretch, and recover from white line fever

I made a little detour toward the end of the drive, to look at Loch Calder, which William had noticed on the map. It was a nice loch, but nothing too special.

This sign, which I kept out-of-frame for my pic, may have affected my mood. Nanny-state Britain at its best.

Getting to this loch took me past a number of these blights

and also through a town called Halkirk where I regret I didn't stop as it looked interesting. That will have to be for another time.

Finally, I took the last leg of my route from Thurso to Gill's bay and could not resist stopping at this beach with a view of Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of the island of Britain.



After that it was off on the ferry and home at last, where William was waiting with an open bottle of rather good wine.

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