Winter has its doldrums too, so what better time to brighten the mind’s eye with some favourite images from travels abroad to destinations memorable for their fascinating history, natural beauty or personal significance.
In 1999, on one of several trips to the British Isles, we limited our scope to England, Scotland and Wales, driving stalwartly on the left side of roadways varying from high speed “dual carriageways” to single lane country roads in the more remote areas.
We started with a nostalgic return to Bickleigh Cottage, a gorgeous thatched roof bed and breakfast hideaway near Exeter in Devon where we stayed on our first overseas trip in 1976.
Based there for four days, we rambled over southwestern England as far as Penzance, where we saw no pirates, but had a close look at St. Michael’s Mount, a medieval monastery on an offshore rock that resembles Mont St. Michel, its larger and more famous counterpart on the French side of the English Channel. Visitors to the mount can walk there when the tide is low, but only go by boat, or risk wet feet, when the tide rises.
In Dartmoor, we snapped pictures of an ancient stone clapper bridge at Postbridge, and admired the famous wild ponies in Dartmoor National Park.
A fascinating site visited in Oxfordshire in southern England was the 3,000 year old Uffington White Horse, the figure of a white horse set in white chalk on high ground visible for miles around.
Further north stood the massive ruins of Kenilworth Castle, immortalized in Sir Walter Scott’s novel and regarded as one of the finest castle ruins in England. An outstanding feature is John of Gaunt’s Great Hall.
Some of the most striking scenes of rural England were found in the Yorkshire Dales on the east and in the fabled Lake District on the west.
Well remembered images include an intriguing stone built road side pub, distinctively patterned landscapes, bedraggled sheep, a one-legged bird and a uniquely ugly duckling.