Pressure of work makes it all but impossible to get away from Skye during the summer months, so it is over six months since I last made a trip south to visit friends and family. However, I am now on my way. I write this on day three of my journey. On Day One I drove through the spectacular autumn splendour of the Scottish Highlands to my first overnight stop in Peebles, just south of Edinburgh. Peebles looks like an interesting little town - a pity I did not have time to explore!
|Just off Skye - Skye Bridge in the background|
|Blue skies over the Highlands|
|Peebles rooftops from my overnight stop|
Day Two was a largely motorway drive to my second night stop, in a village not far from Nottingham - which is where I am right now. I shall leave here shortly to drive south again to meet my cousin Frances at her home in a village between Oxford and Aylesbury. It will be lunch with Frances, and then a further drive south to just by Southampton, where I will be spending a couple of days with long-term friends Sara and Rod.
I am now in Torquay, and have been here several days, following a lovely lunch and catch-up chat with Frances, and a most enjoyable visit with Sara and Rod. The weather in Southampton was unusually warm and sunny, so we were able to enjoy a walk through Hamble Country Park woodland to a path beside the River Hamble which led us to an excellent pub lunch in Warsash.
|Sara, Rod and Lucy-the-pooch|
|Can this really be October???|
When I arrived in Torquay, the first evening was lovely, but then the weather changed quite dramatically and became wet and stormy for a couple of days. Poor Puss was smothered in leaves and sycamore seeds, but thankfully, nothing bigger than small twigs were blown down locally. My friend Val is not able to walk far, but we did manage to get out a bit when the weather improved.
|Dramatic sky over Teignmouth|
|I enjoyed a long walk along the sea wall|
|The autumn sunset view from Val's balcony|
(A little later)
From Torquay, I had a short drive to my sister's home on the edge of Dartmoor to spend a short time visiting her and her beautiful dog, Sprout. (Yes - 'Sprout' is his name. No idea why). Sprout is only 18 months old, and absolutely as adorable as any young retriever can be. I have the paw-prints on my chest to prove this.
|Puss is amused to observe a dog-training session|
|Sister Sue and Sprout|
The next leg of my trip was the dull M5/M6 trek of nearly 400 motorway miles from Devon to my overnight stop in Carlisle.Thankfully, there were no significant delays today, and I was most appreciative of the supreme cruising comfort of Puss as the miles clicked by. There's no photos tonight - I am staying in a Premier Inn. Premier Inns all look the pretty much the same, and Puss is parked out of harms way round the back!
My last day was a shorter trip on near-deserted motorway from Carlisle to Glasgow, followed by the scenic twisty-bit via Stirling, Callander and Fort William to Skye. Unfortunately, the skies were grey, so the autumn colour was not as spectacular as I know it can be. There were still a number of tourists about, but Puss can dispatch a lumbering camper van pretty quickly!
According to the trip computer, my trip statistics are: Total distance: 1685 miles. Average speed 51mph. Average fuel consumption, 30.8mpg.
|A pause by Loch Oich|