Over the last eighteen months of staying home, I’ve grown to love where I live. Forced to keep local, instead of day trips in neighbouring counties, we’ve enjoyed picnics and adventures straight from our front door. Instead of driving for miles to find our fun, we’ve had fun scootering for miles. Instead of exploring the beauty spots of England, we’ve discovered the hidden gems around us. But, although I love the Charlton countryside, having walked the same footpaths and bridleways and field margins, every day for months and months… I’ve been counting down the days to our first holiday of the year, desperate for a change of scenery! New mud, new paths, new views! 🙂
Booking a holiday in 2021 has been more difficult than normal. With postponed trips from last year rearranged for this, plus more people opting for a staycation, accommodation has been, and is, in short supply. Consequently, the normally tricky job of finding a holiday home that matches our needs (disabled plus dogs 🙂 ) has been even harder. Despite trying to be organised and ahead of the game, by booking our hols back in January… we still couldn’t find any suitable places on any of the Scottish islands we wanted to visit! Finally after hours of stressful searching and googling and emailing and ringing, and multiple destination changes… we eventually reserved a cottage, in a different -but equally beautiful- location. 🙂
The Cheviots Hills are stunning. The last wild place in England. They are dramatic and exposed and rugged. Romantic and unspoilt and breathtaking. Calm and secluded and peaceful. There are miles of rolling fells and steep valleys and enticing streams. Interspersed with hidden hill forts and rock beds and swampy marshes. With only one undulating, single-track road through the middle of the mountain range, it is remote and isolated. To get to any of the trig points or historic sites or highland views, you need to go by foot… or scooter. And with only the very occasional farm, or fellow walker, it is empty and deserted. Aside from the thousands of sheep! 😉 Phil had puked and stumbled his way through the Cheviots, on the last day of the Spine Race. So was keen to explore it without the backdrop of hallucinations and nausea. And I was ridiculously excited about testing my new off-road scooter on some steep slopes! 🙂
Since developing Pulmonary Hypertension, eight years ago, I’ve missed out on many holiday adventures. Unable to access much countryside on my red scooter, a few times daily, Phil and Lottie-the-dog would venture off to explore the new landscape… without me. However, with my new off-road scooter in tow, we hoped this would be the first holiday where I could join in every trip. And I did! 🙂 It didn’t always go according to plan though. On the first day, my new scoot got a puncture in the car park! Keen to still visit a nearby roman fort, I bet Phil that I could get my old scoot across the very rocky and bumpy terrain to reach it. I got there! (with Phil carrying it in places! 😉 ). But the return downhill section on a scoot without brakes, was like being on an out-of-control roller-coaster! The next day, I scootered my off-roader up a steep path to the top of the hills…. before realizing I’d used up 85% of my battery getting there, and I still needed to get back down! (I made it, thanks to gravity! 😉 ). On another hike, our four mile route turned into an eight mile epic, as my scooter could’t cross a vital bridge (it had big inaccessible steps!), so we had to plan a random escape route home through waist high crops! And there was the time we got followed by a mooing herd of cows! 😛 But the adventures and mishaps and stories made the holiday better. Brilliant. Memorable! We laughed and smiled and enjoyed every moment of being out in the middle of nowhere together. All four of us. After eight years of missing out, it was brilliant to be atop a holiday hill of my own steam. It was fantastic to look down on a landscape with no human life in sight. It was amazing to have freedom, to be able to explore where I wanted, to relive some of my old hiking days. I just need to buy a spare scooter battery before the next holiday! 😉
We also spent a few days exploring the wider Northumberland national park and coastline. Digging our toes in the sand at some of the glorious beaches, walking along the River Croquet to Rothbury, and driving around some of the villages Phil remembered from the Spine Race (including the Church where he slept! 😀 ). And on our final day, we had a fabulous time travelling to different spots along Hadrian’s Wall. Coincidentally, we were there at the same time as the Summer Spine, so dot-watched and then cheered on some of their runners!
It was our first family holiday with Kepler the puppy. Six months ago, he’d bark on every car journey, but -much to Lottie’s relief- after much training, he slept through the 6.5 hour drive north! Though he did then spend the evening zooming around the holiday cottage! 😉 Thankfully, he loved being away. So many walks and adventures and new places to explore… and sheep as neighbours! It was a holiday of firsts for Kepler. First time paddling in the sea, first time digging in the sand, first time jumping over (and falling in) streams! 😛
As we were both double-jabbed, were staying in self-catering accommodation, and spent most of the time outdoors, I felt fairly confident we could keep safe from coronavirus. Thus it was our first relaxed holiday since the pandemic began. 🙂 And amazingly, wonderfully, thankfully, my body was on top top form too. My healthiest and strongest vacation, since becoming ill. I had more energy coins to spend than ever before, thus was able to do activities every day, as well as cook meals and play with the pups. And best of all, I didn’t feel breathless or nauseous or weak once. Illness has always been the backdrop of Every. Single. Holiday since developing PH… except this one. Amazing amazing! Thank you wonderful body! 🙂
We needed a change of scenery… we got that and so much more! 🙂