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Old 10th November 2009, 10:40   #91
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Picture perfect in every which way ramkya! Absolutely fantastic. Great shots. Great reading.
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Old 10th November 2009, 10:45   #92
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Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Picture perfect in every which way ramkya! Absolutely fantastic. Great shots. Great reading.
Thank you Rudra. Coming from you, I'd treasure those lines.

Had a chance to see some of your work at Samurai's place in Manipal, Salutes!!!!

======
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Old 10th November 2009, 13:43   #93
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The "Expect Delays" sign outside parliament square is a cheeky photograph. And you and Lama look like long lost twin brothers. I'm enjoying this travelogue immensely.
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Old 10th November 2009, 14:36   #94
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Arrow Inverness - Local - God Disposes.....

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
The "Expect Delays" sign outside parliament square is a cheeky photograph. And you and Lama look like long lost twin brothers. I'm enjoying this travelogue immensely.
MX6: At Madamme Tussauds, I stood motionless for 30 seconds near Dalai Lama, soon some young girls came and said, "who's this guy, must be somebody", I had to blink and suddenly one startled girl said, "hai, it moved", my wife laughed loudly and gave the game away, the girl was about to touch me and chek me out!!!!!

I'd mailed to the Mods to remove the duplicate photos, looks like they are taking their time.......

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18-10-2009: Woke up late ready to explore Inverness local. Went down for breakfast, the Hostess asked if we had seen the forecast, I was puzzled, thought why and said no, anything important? In India we don't take the forecast seriously and does not impact us, unless a Tsumami or Cyclone is above us. She said, rains likely today, carry unberlla, lie low and take it easy. Having seen rains of Kerala, thought it would be OK.

When we started at 10 AM towards Culloden battlefied, it was pouring, we thought passing clouds, we've seen drizzles but no rain the past 15 days. 18th was different, Gods were in a foul mood, the temp dropped to 4, getting out of the car was painful, when we got back in it took 5 minutes for the heater to bring back numb life back, the cold was beginning to bite from hereon. We said, let's take this thing head on and see what happens; was like driving through rice-soup, but managed to reach Culloden Battlefield visitors centre.

April 16th, 1746, the last battle in UK happened here, between the Scots and English, 1200+ people died. There's a restaurant, exhibition centre, book shop etc., you can get an audio guide and walk in the field; was very wet, we visited the exhibition centre and scramed.

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This flatland did not interest, another time when weather was kind, could have been interesting, took a couple of snaps, plotted Narin beach on the GPS, 20 KM away, on the cost of Moray Firth, has a castle, town square and a golf course. We went to the harbour, pelting rain and very dark, no chance of any decent shaps. Turned to Fort George; the rain was bent on spoiling the day, we were in no mood to pay 5P entrance and get drenched and shiver. Parked there, waited for the rain to clear a little and took a couple of snaps to capture what we could.
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My wife was getting the wrost of the weather, shivering uncontrollably, turned the heater full blast on and headed back towards Inverness a little disappointed at 3 PM. Drove to Tesco, picked up lunch, popcorn and decided to get back to room, got a DVD player from the host to watch "Guns of Nevarone". What better way to have lunch and popcorn watching a film on a rainy day.

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By 6, it was dark, rain stopped a bit, we walked out to warm Jaipur Restaurant for a long Indian Dinner over drinks, was crowded being a Sunday; tomorrow could be a testing day if it rains all the way to Skye Island.

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 10th November 2009 at 14:44.
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Old 10th November 2009, 15:31   #95
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The inverse happened to my wife near the pirates of the carribean area. She was amazed at the detail of Johnny Depp wax statue dressed up as Capt Jack Sparrow. Then she moved on to another "statue" of some ordinary pirate and was peering. Suddenly the pirate moved frightening my wife who broke out laughing immediately. Guess Johnny Depp was moved off the centrestage when you visited.
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Old 10th November 2009, 19:13   #96
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Default Skye Islands

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
The inverse happened to my wife near the pirates of the carribean area. She was amazed at the detail of Johnny Depp wax statue dressed up as Capt Jack Sparrow. Then she moved on to another "statue" of some ordinary pirate and was peering. Suddenly the pirate moved frightening my wife who broke out laughing immediately. Guess Johnny Depp was moved off the centrestage when you visited.
Can imagine what happened.... LOL

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19-10-2009: We have been looking forward to this day, have heard so much about this route and the lady of the house said, take the A82, A87, to the Island but come back via A890, about 200 kms, 3.5 hours one way. Went to Tesco, picked up lunch / munch, filled up gas and left at 9 AM.

First time even filling gas was a problem, it's self service, there was unleaded, regular, supreme and diesel, so I asked them and they came out and explained politely. One thing I learned form the tour, when in doubt ask confidantly, if you don't understand, say, sorry I did not catch that, they'd repeat. Realized if I said, "I'm new here / can you please halp me / it's my first time etc.," people went out of their way to help. Was running underinflated all the time due to the rain and twisted roads, wanted to fill air near Stonehinge, I asked a 35ish man filling gas with a full family inside on his swanky Land Rover hesitantly how its done there, he said, "wait", paid for his gas and drove away. I was confusd, apalled, hurt & angry, actually he parked in the parking lot at the far corner, got out, walked to me all of 100 meters, showed me how to insert 50 pence into the machine, explained pariently and jovially, filled it on one of the tyres & if I would not have insisted to stop, would have done it on all 4's, the courtesy was touching. Was it because he realized I was a tourist, the nature of people around there or I picked the kindest person there, I would not know.

It was drizzling, we turn to A82, on the left you can see the sea-like Loc ness on the twisties and stop at Clansmen Hotel Park at 10 kms. Walk under the road to Jacobite boat tours, the first boat on 11 AM, no point wasting time, we come back shoot a couple of pictures of the Loc Ness Monster and scoot out of there for the next stop Drumnadrochit, 15 kmm.
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You can get to see see Uquhart Castle on the bend and then on the Loc Ness and visit the exhibition centre. Nearing the castle, it was raining, we skipt this today, tomorrow we'd come the same way and if we're lucky we'll cath it then. Loc Ness exhibition centre is worth visiting at 5p, per person. They audio-visual show details the Loc Ness Monster, historic hunt, stories associated with sightings, the myths, truths and expeditions. The souvnir shop nearby is worth a visit, plan for 1 hour here.

12 Noon: We take the A82 and turn of at Invermoriston too A887 for 25 kms and A87 for 120 kms till Portree at Skye Isls. The road opens up, on both sides are huge green lands, looming ahead are mountain peaks, we pass through clusters of forests which suddenly close in on you, the road is a carpet of flying leaves, hardly any traffic and NO RAIN. The road twists into a funnel, the mountains close in on you and you are through the pass. This section is very reomote and one of the prettiest drives you can imagine. There were waterfalls all around, brooks on sides, sheeps, cows a plenty, some sections you can see wild horse, a fairy tale ride. You get Loc Clunie on your left again mountains and passes till Loc Duich when you see signs of habitation. Drive along the Loc and reach one of the biggest Locs, Loc Alsh and you climb on the huge arching Kyle bridge which connects Skye islands to the mainland. The view from the bridge is awesome and something to die for. You drive through Bradford, twisting ups and downs, pass Sconser a small fishing town, reach the junction of A863. Slow drive had zapped valuable time, the A863 towards Struan is the choice of cycle tours and more scenic, but single track, would zap the time. We chose to save time and continued on A82 to Portree and Ulg. At 230 PM, we reach the town which is behind the harbour, the views around here are again great. We reach the parking at Somerled near the bus station, shopping area etc., It's just a port town, if you have time its worth taking a walk. Ideal would be to take a B&B stop 2-5 kms away, drive down and spend time to soak in the atmosphere, lots of history to this place.
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During lunch we discussed our dielamma; from here to Uig, drab drive of 26 kms would take all of 1 hour plus, it would take about 4 hours of slow drive back to Inverness thro. A890 (one of the top drive routes in UK), so we decided to turn around here, utilize the quickly falling daylight and make time when it's not raining, turned out to be a good decision.

We trackekd back 60 kms pretty fast in 1 hour, reached the A890 fork near Nostie and into a forest road. The first 25km was scary, very narrow, no signs, lots of culverts, patchy road, blind turns, foresty till Achintee, no space to pass by, the area more remote than ever. Once I had to tuck into a ditch to let a big car pass another time a Rover reversed 200 mtrs to let me pass, this was turning out to be a misitake; just when we were thinking of turning back and catchig the A82, things improved after Strathcarron town, the country opened up to mountains on right side, a railway track, a river on the left and the road in between. Road had no speed signs, the GPS was also silent of warnings, surface great & double track all to yourself. A Porsche roared by doing 150+, a Focus flashed by, this is like a test track, everyone was zooming, I fed the car fuel, many straight sections, saw a long one and opened up and pipped 110 MPH, the fastest in my life. After 5 minutes of this madness, my wife reminded, can we enjoy the ride please, act your age etc....... we stopped into a parking area and ate some snacks in dead silence.

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Again the river, mountain, road and Glen Carron comibiation is something etched in our brains forever. We joined A832 and the main road A835 back to Inverness, reached at 6 PM, took many stops on the way, the drizzles had started. A great day out, 390 kms. Had a quick life giving hot shower and walked to Jaipur Restaurant for a mouth watering dinner, last night at Inverness.

Last item of interest before leaving Scorland: Leader of the British National Party, BNP, Nick Griffin, sparked o an immigration controversy, on BBC he said UK must stop immigration, has been on telly and print, people were discussing it all over Scotland. Inverness has it's fare share of racism, hate crims, incidents doubled in 2008, most of them on the streets; travellers need to be aware of that. Not as bad as Australia, but we need to be aware. A white girl shouted racist abuses at a Portugese Lady in front of Tesco, police were
hunting for her.

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Tomorrow tally-ho through Glencoe Mountains, Glasgo and Lake district.

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 10th November 2009 at 19:27.
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Old 10th November 2009, 20:36   #97
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Ramkay sir, what an amazing journey and beautiful pics.
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Old 11th November 2009, 00:31   #98
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truly amazing.
could not help but to complete the whole stuff after discovering it today.

hats off to you for chronicling it in details; I guess some day I will need it
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Old 11th November 2009, 00:41   #99
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Default Inverness To Lake District

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Ramkay sir, what an amazing journey and beautiful pics.
Thanks RKB, here's more............

========

20-10-2009: Up early, pack, settle bill by Card and say good bye to Inverness, the GPS said it would take 180 miles, 4.5 hours to Keswick. We took the A 82, same route as yesterday, 25 kms and stopped at Urquart Castle, the sun was shining so we stopped for a copule of shots there.
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This is located in a lovely spot on the Loc Ness and is actually a broken down one, the Jacobite Boat ride touches here too and is a great spot to spend half a day. 15 mt stop there and onward till Invermoriston turn towards Fort Agustus, 10 Kms, with the Loc Ness to your left, we stop at the Fort, there's a nice view at the bend of the road, no chance to shoot as it's raining, but the place is cute. Onward towards Fort William, 43 kms away, which mandatesa a stop. The road is the mountain road, requires all your attention, very sharp curves through the forests, small towns and the Loc Lochy now on your right side. Past the landmork, Spean Bridge, in 5 kms the famous Navis mountain range starts.

Fort William to Scotland is what Shimla is to North India, people spend weeks here, so much to do. Britains highest mountain, Ben Navis, 4431 fts, fossil remains, history of Scottish Gold Rush, steam train journeys, boat cruises to spot seals, distilerys, ropeways, bike trains, ski/ sled tracks etc., In summer months, you'd not get any place to park, eat or enjoy, pretty popular. They say, the average snow-fall in the last 3 years has come down by 30%, some slopes did not receive snow at all last year, global warming????

It was downcast, drizzling and below 5 degrees, we took a turn to the parking of Fort Williams, no chance to get out now in the rain, turn around and onward to our journey on A82, the 13 kms stretch from Ft.Williams to Corran with Loc Linne to your right is a driver's delight. There were regulated road work going on all along but very orderly and clean. The next 7 Km, especially Onich to water sports centere is equally good, after that you're on to the Ben Navis and Glenco Mountain rainge. The whole area is a cycling / trekking paradise, you'd find back packers all the way, the mountains on both sides start monopolizing the scene withe A82 snaking up as far as the eye can see.

Ben Navis range starts from here, road works going on...

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It's a climb all the way now for 60 kms, wild country and a pass that gives access from this side to Scotland, we park in between, the wet wind is howling inhospitably. We pass the Glencoe Ski Centre, no snow now, another 40 KM come to the view point on top of a bend with the most amazing view of Loc Tulla. The huge park at the edge has 20 cars, tourists of all colours and countries taking in the view. Some have walked / hiked off, others are clicking away, we spend 15 minutes, get numb and scurry back into the wamth of the heater.

Downhill, at Tyndrum Tesco we fill gas, have a hot coffee and resume our drive. 35 Km on at Tarbet, the traffic picks up, another 15 kms we reach Luss village on the Loco Lomond, we were lucky, the sun was out, the temp is up a little at 8, we lock the car and walk out to stretch our legs. The view from the pier was stunning, a few boats bob up and down, ducks swmming and open the camera bag, the camera is in the car!!!! There goes a chance to shoot a rare chance.

0430PM: In the next 20 Kms, we pass Arden, Alexandrma, Renton and reach the Erskine area, Glasgow-bound traffic thickens, we get into M74, first time on a motorway. You need to be careful not to hog the speed lane or middle lane and veer to left except when incoming roads join you from the left. By now, I've learned a couple of tricks to use the indicator to effect and stick to regulation speeds, found lots of sleek cars breaking the limits, we were in no hurry. Next 150 kms whiz by on the 110 kmph limit, the tacho crossing 3k all the time, we made good time, Glasgow, Crowford, Carlisle all by-passed.
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Had heavy rain on the M74/M6 for 30 mits, was no problem, the front and rear wipers did heavy duty, the headlamps were on, it was night at 6 PM, soon it cleared as we neared Carlisle. We pass exit 43, at Carlisle on M6, in the next 30 kms at exit 40, we need to turn right for the lake district, if you miss the exit it would mean a loss of about 30 minutes, so slow down and hug the left lane, at 620 we exit the Motorway, take the road over it and enter A66 for the next 30 kms. We had the exact co-ordinates to our B&B place, Laural Bank, so were realxed, we had also phoned in to say we would be late. There was road work going on, got a block, reached our placel at 0650, on plan.

Our hosts, Rodney & Margaret Roper rocked in contrast to Cris & Val Skelton at Merdon House, Inverness. There was nothing of the artificial friendliness or dramatics to Rodney, he was friendly from his heart and was a loving person. Soon as we reached, he helped with the luggage to the 2nd floor room, a glass milk and again climbed up 2 times to de-bug scalding water and again to check the radiator. His rooms had class, service had class, his parking was neat and his rooms were full. At 30PPD, this was as good as it gets on a B&B with a view to the hills form our window. We had our Tesco Dinner and slept early.

=======

Last edited by ramkya1 : 11th November 2009 at 01:01.
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Old 11th November 2009, 11:18   #100
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Ramkya Sir, i am running out of adjectives to describe your thread, enjoying every minute of going through it. PS : my boss is a frequent traveller to the Europe, i just hope he doesnt have a T Bhp membership. Oops! there he comes!

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Old 11th November 2009, 12:59   #101
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Did you miss out on the firth of forth bridge? I walked on that bridge. Will post some photos if you don't mind. It's an architectural marvel. The old railway bridge ushered in railways to Scotland. The adjacent road bridge is amazing too.

And I see the Library in Glasgow in your last photo. Cool.
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Old 11th November 2009, 13:02   #102
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It's called the tragic glencoe. Looks cheerful in your photos. It does look very melancholic in mine (with frozen lakes and rivers). People were walking on frozen lakes! Will start those as a separate travelogue once you wind up yours.
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Old 11th November 2009, 18:28   #103
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Default Edinburgh Festival

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@Irish: Thanks. I've kept Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgo & Scarborough and the east coast in general for the next trip!!!! Scotland rocks.
--------
Ramkya,

Please plan your next trip during the month of August because of Edinburgh Festival. It's a must have attraction if you are visiting Edinburgh. The seats in Edinburgh castle are totally booked a couple of months in advance. Also the rooms in all hotels and serviced apartments are full during this time. The coming edinburgh festival starts from 6th Aug - 30th Aug 2010.
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Old 11th November 2009, 19:58   #104
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Default If There's A Paradise....... Lake District.

21-10-2009: After breakfast at 9, Rodney our rolly-polly and energetic host said, forget the GPS, point your car where a road is and just go. Don't plan on anything, just soak in the atmosphere, if you are keen stop at sight seeing places. The concept of Lake District Tourism is different.

Lake District: Can I say enough about this place, guess not, no words or description can explain what it has to offer. Around 50 KM square, 20 major lakes and 10 minor ones, mountanous region with 25 of the highest peaks of Engaland, palce of Lake Poets like William Wordsworth, heather covered slopes, oak and pine forests, valleys, narrow-steep-tight-pinbends-mountain passes, grassy summits, green ridges, valley basins, waterfall after waterfall, dampest part of UK, snow fall between December and February, fog is common, average 4 hours of sunshine per day, lots of mines. This is the birth place of British tourism as early as 1600, a major industry now, 1.4 Crore tourists a year, no UK tour is complete without a couple of days spent here. IMO, what Scotland has to offer all its 300 Sq.miles, what you can see in weeks, is show-cased in a 50sq.mile area here and more, it's a compact little place of wonders. Skip places in Europe, UK, but I'd highly recommend anyone for one week of soul therapy here; don't come in peak tourist season, you'd cry, the whole world descends or shall we say scrambles up here, it would be a mad house.

We chose Keswick after a careful study, this is the centre palce near 3 important lakes all withing 50km driving range and places we wanted to cover, we had 2 days, choosing what to cover is a tortured trade-off, no other way. We got Rodney's place because it's a week day and low season, yet all places were full at Keswick, one needs to plan months in advance and book for a decent place, you'd be lucky to get anything good for a family below 30PPPD (pounds per person day) with breakfast.

AA lists 2 drives here as one of the TOP 10 Scenic routes in UK, 2 we have already covered, the Skye Island route and the one from Inverness to Glasgow through A82. The one we'd take today through though the toughest pass of them all, Honister was waiting today. 2 other routes which we did not cover but heard from a guest at breakfast, great chap Benson from Scarborough; he said the route is electric, Ambelside - Kirkstone pass to Pooley bridge and Glenridding to Pooley bridge; both would test the torque of the engine, your nerves and camera clicking finger, he was driving a Suzuki Swift Diesel.

A wet-cold day, aorund 5 degrees, we were wearing 3 layers of light cloths and a jacket on top with wollen socks; the shoes a second skin now except inside our warm rooms, thank heavens for those warm radiators, on it, your cloths dry overnight too, a jeans would take 2 nights. The route is the famous tourist loop, B5289 & B5292,Derwent Water Lake circle through Honister pass. Through the Great Wood, evergreen woods climbing from the shores of Derwent Water and the 10 feet road to Ashness Bridge, one of the oldest here, you need to thread your car through this, a Rover would not drive through, the car park nearby in the wood was full, most people have hiked off deep into the wood, but a few were taking pictures. The scene from around the bridge were astounding....... a few captures here.
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Move to next spot, Bowderstone, 1250 ton boulder standing on balance is a sight to see. Grange Falls could be faintly seen through the mist and drizzle and we press on to the Honister Slate mine parking site. This is a huge mine, you can do a tour for 5P, takes 2 hours, we decided to drive on to the pass. The roads are narrow, hardly 15 feet, with good signages. We turn into the dredded Honister pass, a 30 degree tight, climb which will test your driving skills, yours car's will but a cake walk compared to some of our Hilly roads like, the Masanagudi loops or sections of Kalpa, Chitkul. The downnill drive was awesome with vistas you can only dream about.... pictures here.
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We stop and go and soon the retina gets fatigued, confused what to shoot. Anywhere you point and shoot would make a phenomenal picture, but you cannot stop anywhere on a narrow road, we had to select lay-bys or sections slightly wider and park illegally. We went snaking, skirting Derwent Water, Crummock Water in Buttermare, Loweswater lake, reached the end of B5289 and decided to head for town Cockermouth to catch the major road A66 back to Keswick. The time was only 1 PM and we decided to push to the other major Windermere Lake about 30 km away. At Grasmere, a spot on top of a hill looking down on lake was magical; a big waterfall on the mountain at the end of the lake, red and yellow trees all round, glass lands, a treck-path which goes down the lake; you can just sit there and spend a whole day doing nothing. Trying to capture the beauty on my Sony was like trying to drive to the Moon on a Scorpio, but I tried.

The last 4 photos are from the Grasmere area.........
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 11th November 2009 at 20:05.
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Old 11th November 2009, 20:08   #105
MX6
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heh heh heh. I've gone in a train once from Carlisle to Settle. That route was fabulous.
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