We started to drive towards Newcastle. Along the way it was of an interest for me to drive through a place called Detchant and Alnwick. My great – grandmother was apparently born in Detchant and my grandmothers Aunty called her home Alnwick when she arrived in Australia. Alnwick and Detchant are quite close together.
We set off in the direction we hoped it was. We had an old fashioned Gregory’s style road map this time not an annoying and misleading Sat Nav. Along the way I noticed a big Government funded road sign “Craw Inn”, shocked and excited I saw another one and I hooked a hard right across the highway into a small windy road. We drove the road and ohhhed and ahhed at the lovely Scottish scenery as we were still in Gods country and enjoying the greenery. We arrived at a little placed called Auchencrow which is home to winner of the Scotlands Real Ale Pub of the Year 5 years running, The Craw Inn. We popped in for a beer and enjoyed the serentity. The internal rafters are lined with beer coasters from all the real ales that they have served there. The girl behind the bar said they have a beer festival each year in November (I think). She also told us that real ale kegs only last for about 5 days once they are tapped.
From my own research Auchencrow is where the Craw sir name originated from as all the people from Auchencrow had it as their last name and then they got lazy and also with a Scottish accent “crow” sounded like “craw” and there you go. (I don’t know how accurate my research is). Yes I did tell them that my last name was Craw and they didn’t seem to care or fuss. It must be common.
They seem to serve a lovely menu there and had a few guests pop in for a booked lunch. I can say it was one of the quaint pubs I have visited. I also like that the ceilings are low because then I can boast that there are advantages being short.
We jumped back in our little car and took off for Newcastle. We took our detour for Detchant which is basically an old road sign on a side road for a little place that is a farm barn and 2 other houses. I am guessing if they have lived their for a few generations I might of got some details about my great grandmothers family. I selfishly kept going…well we turned around and drove out. We arrived in Alnwick which is an old walled city complete with castle. The castle for Alnwick is used in Harry Potter. For those who have seen the films it is what Hogwarts is based on and it has a large garden which they also use for the quidditch scenes. We set out to find the tourist information centre so I could get a book for Nana. Alnwick at the time was have road works in the middle of the city and when this happens in an old english city it makes it very, very congested. After 2 arguments, 5 wrong turns and one near accident we left Alnwick with promises to return. (Don’t worry Nana I will get you a book).
We rolled into Newcastle about 3pm. Newcastle is nothing like OUR Newcastle. It has the same suburb names but not the same demographics. Here is it a University town. Now when I say it is a University town it isn’t like Bathurst, Orange, Newcastle which have uni’s at their town…..these towns are built off the universities. The university makes up most of the city centre and suburbs happen to sprawl around it. We stayed at the Jesmond Hotel. Jesmond in UK Newcastle is gorgeous. It has a little canal that runs through it, trendy cafe’s and restaurants. Cocktail bars everywhere and all at student prices. Our room was booked through laterooms.com which was becoming a bit of a hit with us. Since we only book on the fly we were getting some great deals. The Jesmond Hotel only cost us 40 quid for the night which is great as hostels can cost us 15-30 quid per person per night.
Our room had the most comfy bed and pillows. The bathroom was clean and the TV worked too. We also had reliable WIFI. Earlier we had popped in the City (shopping district) for a quick look but they just seem all the same.
We wandered around to find a Tesco (cheaper supermarket) and to check out the local scenery.
It was such a nice vibe in Jesmond. Funky cafe and cocktail culture all at a good price and it was speckled with great clothing stores.
We went for dinner at Firenze which was a Italian inspired restaurant. (It had nothing on the Italian that Clive took me to on my birthday in Carlisle)
That night I slept well. I was fed and watered and had a very soft and fresh bed to sleep in.
Oh I have also noticed in the UK they only make a bed with a bottom sheet and a doona……I am not a fan.
The next day we decided to head to the home of the Beatles….Liverpool.
On the way out of Newcastle we tried to find the Angel of the North. We couldn’t find it anywhere. Then as we drove out of town we stumbled across it. I didn’t have time to get a photo as we were fanged past it connecting to the motorway.