Inevitably, the time came to move on from Pickering and continue our journey northwards so a route across the wilds of Northumberland was plotted – not by putting a postcode into the SatNav mind you but by good old-fashioned map reading by Annie, who is an excellent navigator, so off we headed across the moors in the general direction of Moffat – our next destination.
Crossing the border into Scotland we of course had to pull in to take the obligatory photo of the “Scotland” sign, artfully etched into a slab of rock leaving us in no doubt that we were indeed about to head into a different land.
What became immediately apparent as we continued our journey was that Scottish transport engineers use an entirely different approach to their English and Welsh counterparts when it comes to road building preferring, it seems, to use corrugated tarmac with regular basin-sized potholes thrown in to test your swerving abilities. I have never driven on such appalling road surfaces and by the time we got to Moffat we felt that every nut, bolt and filling had been shaken loose. I fully expected to open the fridge and find the milk turned to butter! Speaking to various natives over the next couple of days always produced nods of agreement with “Aye, the roads are a bit poor around here – but that’s nothing compared with what ye’ll find in Highlands” (note: read with heavy Scottish accent for best effect) The only saving grace was the scenery which was absolutely stunning even when viewed through the blur of vibration.
Moffat itself is a regular stop-off for motorists heading through Scotland and the locals, although thankful for regular custom, are always disappointed that most people, like a dodgy curry, are simply passing through and not staying to savour the delights of the area a bit longer. So we decided to stay for 3 nights and see what Moffat was all about.