A jewel of a find on our journey home

7 Aug

I’ve noticed from time to time in life, and more and more as I get older and relax into my own skin, that the more real , relaxed and rosily my view of the world the more great people, experiences, opportunities and enjoyment i give and receive in everyday life.  Its a great revelation to finally be consciously aware of this basic formula of life.

We’ve just had a wonderful time in Scone on the Perth Racecourse for the Imp Club National – that’s another story and one I’ll share another day very soon, but our return journey just highlighted, emboldened and double underscored  this delightful rose-tinted theory on life.

After along long drive in convoy heading for home we got to that point where we just had to find a campsite.  We’d had the where-with-all before leaving last week to highlight with a pink marker the motorway free 412 mile route between Llanwrtyd Wells and Scone in our old fashioned road atlas and highlight with an excitingly hopeful pink ring those geographic areas that offered campsites.

driving through the Scottish Borders

the scenery through the Scottish Borders is spectacular

four hours of driving later at around 8:30 we’d made it to our half way-ish home point and reached SHAP on the border of the Lake District ,and on the Coast to Coast Trail – lovely pink ring on the map, teenage son confirms presence of campsite using the internet and we get directed by local knowledge and old fashioned talking to New Ing Lodge.

Optimisticly highlighted in pink - the road to SHAP

Optimisticly highlighted in pink – the road to SHAP

Scott, one of two brothers working in partnership was on hand with a warm friendly relaxing welcome.  As always I jabbered away and the result was that , rather than re-pitch the tent on their camping field we would avail ourselves of real beds in one of their dorm rooms – sounded fab – indoors for one, no tent man-handling for another, properly plumbed toilets for a third.

But the evening very quickly got a darned sight better and better and even betterer!  Scott caters for his guests providing pre-booked evening meals at 7:30pm  nevertheless we were offered the opportunity to have the kitchen reopened  and on noticing a small bar in the corning serving on tap local ale we realised we may have found our Tuesday night utopia.  Home cooked free range chicken and local butchers ham hock pie in a creamy tarragon sauce with a mountain of buttery new potatoes and several pints of local ale from the Eden Brewery

In the small bar sat Andy and Stu; a third of the distance complete on their Coast to Coast cycle with the journeys progress only impeded by the quantity and quality of the brew found at each stop.  We (John, Jason & I) joined them in a game of ‘higher / lower’ complete with some good old Brucie catchphrases , some drinking and much laughter and chat.

In the corner of the bar stood a four stringed guitar.  ” we have a 6 string in the car” says I ” I’m sure if the pies good and you fancy it, Jason will provide some strumming for a sing-a-long after we eat”.

And there began an evening of interesting strangers, out- of – tune singing, much laughter and finally some of Scott’s quality gin & tonic with a slice of lime – that’s not on the bar list so he ‘doesn’t serve it’,  Best G&T I’ve had , imagine how good they’d be if he actually served them!!!

Along came Arte, an amazonian giant of a man from Holland on a walking holiday – shoes off to dry in front of the log fire he joins our sing-a-long complete with a bowl of Scott’s pasta bake (its now about 10:30pm and this is whats left of the dinner Scott made for himself). The house Labrador , Tia, cwtches up amongst us as Scott pops out to pick up his girlfriend leaving us to switch off the lights when we’re ready .  Warm welcome, wholesome food, log fire, great other guests and an impromptu night of beer and entertainment.

A jewel of a find on our way home to Wales , giving an extra sparkle to my rose-tinted trip.

New Ing Lodge, Shap

outside New Ing Lodge with John , Jason and Ffloyd

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