Category Archives: Book Tour

THE INCREDIBLE CALLAWAYS TOUR – BARBARA FREETHY GUEST POST

callaway

BEAUTIFUL NEW PRINT COVERS!

CALLAWAY

#1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy talks strong women, hot guys and family series… Check out what she has to say then Read on for more information about this blog tour and all its great prizes!

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Eleanor Roosevelt: “A woman is like a tea bag. You don’t know how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

This quote perfectly describes the heroines in my new connected family series: The Callaways. I love to write about ordinary women who get caught up in extraordinary adventures. My heroines don’t always know what they’re made of until they’re tested.

While we sometimes associate strong female characters with over-the-top roles like vampire slayer or some other kick-ass profession, I believe most women, even the quiet ones, have a superhuman core of strength that enables them to change the world they live in and also to change the men who love them. In my books, the heroine’s strength is enhanced, not only by a new and powerful romantic relationship but also her personal journey to find herself.

In the first book in the Callaway series, ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS, the heroine, Sara, has grown up in a troubled family and is estranged from her father. She grew up next door to the chaotic, fun-loving Callaway family and often envied the relationships she saw on the other side of the fence. She also had a huge crush on the second oldest male in the family, Aiden Callaway.

While Sara was a studious, serious girl in high school, Aiden was the charming rebel. As teenagers they were not ready for each other, but now they meet again as adults and both are facing pivotal moments in their lives.

Aiden is recovering from an injury he acquired as a smokejumper and grieving for the loss of his best friend, who died during their last jump together. Sara has come home to repair the relationship with her father, only to discover that there are family secrets that will change everything she thought she knew about her past and her parents.

Sara has to find the strength within herself to risk her heart on a man who could quite possibly break it, to face a terrible lie and to find a way to forgive her father. Aiden also has to find a way to deal with the secret that took his friend’s life. Together these two characters find strength within themselves and also draw strength from each other, which is, really, what love is all about.

As a reader, I love books that have layers: romance, mystery, adventure and surprises. As a writer, I strive to bring those same elements to all of my stories. My heroines have to be as strong as the heroes. And I always hope that they inspire my readers in some way, too.

I grew up reading books about strong female characters, and I know those reading experiences helped shaped some of my own attitudes about the kind of woman I wanted to be.

Who are some of your favorite female characters? And what do you love most about them?

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About the Callaway Blog Tour & All Its Great Prizes!

This is the week you finally meet the Callaways! Not only are they all over the web as part of their extraordinary blog tour, but they are also out and about in your neighborhood. That’s right; we’re celebrating the print launch with Ingram by throwing a party all over the world! Make sure to follow this tour closely for your chance to win gift cards, swag, autographed books, and other incredible prizes.

All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment—easy to enter; easy to win!

To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase any of the Callaway novels by Barbara Freethy (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that’s where the HUGE prizes are)

About The Callaways: The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This! Get the eBooks via AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, or Kobo.

callawaysAbout the Author: Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Learn more on her websiteFacebook page, or in her Street Team.

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callaways

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CELTIC CONNEXIONS… Coming in MARCH…

Celtic Connexions March Schedule

Celtic Connexions

March is shaping up to be another busy month here at Celtic Connexions. Be sure to mark your calendars so you don’t miss a single thing. There are Book Tours, author interviews, a St Patrick’s Day party and more!

March 1st – The monthly calendar for the month of March

March 7thA Spell in Provence by Marie Laval

March 11thBrady’s Lost Blanket, a children’s book, by fellow 4RV Publishing author, Stephanie Burkhart

March 14th – Interview with Rosemary Gemmell, Scottish author of The Highland Lass (and more)

March 17th – Online St Patrick’s Day party with “virtual” Irish food, drink and traditions along with an interview with Irish author, Sharon Black

March 21st – Interview with Linda Gillard, Scottish author of Cauldstane (and more)

March 25thA Matter of Temperance by Ichabod Temperance

March 31st – Introduction to April’s #AtoZChallenge month. You’ll find out what the challenge is all about and what I’ll be blogging about throughout the month of April.

I’m always happy to host fellow authors for interviews, cover reveals, or book launch parties.

If you’d like to be a guest here at Celtic Connexions, you can contact me at Celtic Connexions.

 

THE MAN WHO CAN’T BE MOVED ~ Blog Tour

The Man Who Cant Be Moved Tour Banner

The Man Who Can’t Be Moved

by

Tilly Tennant

untitled

Fledgling journalist Ellie Newton is keen to prove herself when she lands a hard-won job at the Millrise Echo. So when reports come in of a man camped on the corner of a local street, refusing to move until the girl who has jilted him takes him back, Ellie is on a mission to get the scoop.

She arrives to meet Ben Kelly, a man she is instantly attracted to. But she has a job to do and an incredible story to write and has soon pledged to help him win back the girl of his dreams. With Ellie’s help, Ben’s plight captures the hearts and imaginations of the public. And when a TV film crew appears to make a feature on the most romantic gesture the town of Millrise has ever seen, Ellie’s mission gets its happy ending…

But while Ellie has been busy fixing the lives of her wayward parents, providing shoulders for heartbroken friends to cry on, and worrying about her terminally-ill aunt, she hasn’t noticed that she has also been falling quietly in love – with the very man she has now ensured is hopelessly out of her reach

Ellie must choose between doing the right thing, and the thing that feels right. And whatever choice she makes, someone will get their heart broken.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON.COM

AMAZON UK

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When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always loved to invent stories so it seemed only natural that I would start writing them down. Ever since I can remember I had wanted to write a book, and I had even tried a few times but never got past the first few chapters. It wasn’t until I got to university as a mature student in 2006 that I finally finished one. After that I got the bug and wanted to write all the time!

How long did it take you to write The Man Who Can’t Be Moved?

It took a lot longer than any book I’ve written before! The initial draft was quick, probably around two months, but then I spent another ten months with my agent doing edits and rewrites before we cracked the story. I don’t think the edits on a book have ever taken us that long before but there just seemed so much to work out on this one. My agent always wants the books she works on with her authors to be as perfect as they can be so she does crack the whip, but in a good way!

In addition to working as a freelance editor, do you work at any other job(s)?

I do also do secretarial work and I submit copy to commercial websites. Income from book sales alone is notoriously unreliable so I like to keep other avenues open to help me make ends meet when things are slow. It’s good to have other aspects to your working life too; it gives you lots of material to put into your stories. When colleagues read my books they’re always asking whether I’ve sneaked them in somewhere as a character. Lots of conversations I have with them certainly do find their way in!

Has your family (parents, siblings, spouse (if applicable)) been supportive of your dream to write?

My mum is incredibly proud, of course, and my brothers are great. Same goes for my husband, although I have to say that my daughters, aged thirteen and eleven, are actually the most excited about what I do. They’ll always listen and offer their opinions when I’m discussing a plot or a character, where people with less time might have other things on their mind – like gas bills and what’s for tea! They’re both really keen to write their own stories and read books too and I love the idea that I might have influenced that in some small way.

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About Tilly Tennant

photo (9)

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing, graduating in 2009 with first class honours. She wrote her first novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

https://www.facebook.com/TillyTennant?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/TillyTenWriter

www.tillytennant.com

 

Tour Giveaway

1st Prize – ecopy or paperback of book plus £10 Amazon Voucher

2nd Prize – ecopy or paperback copy of book

Open Internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BCB-Host Button-200

And the winner is!

Congratulations to the winner of my

2014 A Shadow in the Past wall calendar!

a shadow in the past 2014 calendarIsn’t it beautiful? Every month has a different full colour photograph (taken by moi) of something “A Shadow in the Past“.

How well do you think you did at guessing the various locations where Sarah Shand turned up each day?

Day 1

Seeking Sarah Shand
At The Caledonian Hotel
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at High Cliff

Day 2

Seeking Sarah Shand
On the Jacobite train at the Glenfinnan Station
Seeking Sarah Shand
On the platform in Mallaig
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Myrtle Bank

Day 3

Seeking Sarah Shand
At Balvenie Castle
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Fernbank House

Day 4

Seeking Sarah Shand
At Dunnideer
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Earlsfield Farm

Day 5

Seeking Sarah Shand
Waiting at the Insch train station

Day 6

Seeking Sarah Shand
At the entrance to the Old Kirkyard in Kennethmont
Seeking Sarah Shand
With the Pictish stones at the Rhynie cemetery
Seeking Sarah Shand
At the stone circle at Earlsfield Farm

Day 8 (we didn’t play on Day 7 as it was my launch at the Rannes Hall in Kennethmont)

Seeking Sarah Shand
At The Empress of India Restaurant in Kelso
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Duncan House

Day 9

Seeking Sarah Shand
At the Cross Butts Stable Restaurant
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Beechwood Guesthouse

Day 10

Seeking Sarah Shand
At The Bell
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at The Old Forge

Day 11

Seeking Sarah Shand
At The Bell Hotel in Tewkesbury

I thought having the map beside the book was a dead giveaway in this one but apparently that wasn’t always the case.

Seeking Sarah Shand
At Wetherspoons in Harrogate
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Fountains Guest House

Day 12

Seeking Sarah Shand
At Bolton Abbey
Seeking Sarah Shand
At Smiths Hotel in Gretna Green
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Barrasgate House

Day 13

Seeking Sarah Shand
At Caerlaverock Castle
Seeking Sarah Shand
At Sweetheart Abbey
Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House in Largs

Day 14

Seeking Sarah Shand
In our room at the Holiday Inn at Glasgow Airport

So how did you do? Get all of them right? Some of them right? None of them right?

It’s been a close race – neck and neck right down to the wire between two participants. It was really difficult to say who would finish with the most correct answers. But in the end, one emerged victorious.

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the winner is… Grace!

Congratulations Grace. Please contact me via email at melanie@melanierobertson-king.com to arrange having your prize delivered.

 

 

The Giveaway ends at Midnight!

The Seeking Sarah Shand Giveaway

Today is the last day you can enter to win  2014 A Shadow in the Past calendar. Don’t be disappointed. Enter today. You don’t have to know much – or even anything – about Scotland. The clues are in the text portion of each day’s blog post. Using that information, you guess where the photos were taken.

You’ve seen the cover many times – a stone circle, which I think is an excellent wa to convey a time-travel set in Scotland.

But now you get to see the pictures that will grace each and every month…

January

Image21
Tap O’Noth from the Gordonsfield Farm road

February

image 14
Gordonsfield farmhouse

March

Image9
Gordsonfield farm from the stone circle

April

Image2
The road to Weetshill mansion

May

Image8
The railway line near the old kirkyard

June

Image4
The ghostly trees lining the road to Weetshill mansion

July

Image6
Weetshill mansion – in the present

August

Image1
Ruins in the field behind Gordonsfield farmhouse

September

image 19
The Old Kirkyard in Kendonald

October

Image7
The Robertson stone in the Old Kirkyard

November

Image5
Weetshill Railway Station – today

December

image 18
The Salvation Army Citadel in the Castlegate in Aberdeen

These photos were all taken by me on my trips to Scotland in 1993 and 1997, long before A Shadow in the Past came to be, even in its earlier novella form of Sarah’s Gift.

Now that you’ve seen all the months’ photos, don’t you want to win one? You can. It’s easy. Visit the daily posts of my trip to Scotland (the clues are in the text) then leave your guesses where the Seeking Sarah Shand photos were taken in the comments.

You can also play along over at my A Shadow in the Past 2013 Book Tour blog as I check the comments there, too.

Good luck!

I can’t wait to read your guesses.

The Giveaway!

The Seeking Sarah Shand Giveaway

Okay, I’ve banged on about it being a 2014 A Shadow in the Past calendar (created at Vistaprint) but have only ever revealed the cover image. And what better to convey a time-travel set in Scotland than a stone circle on the front cover?

And now for the inside leaves…

January

Image21
Tap O’Noth from the Gordonsfield Farm road

February

image 14
Gordonsfield farmhouse

March

Image9
Gordsonfield farm from the stone circle

April

Image2
The road to Weetshill mansion

May

Image8
The railway line near the old kirkyard

June

Image4
The ghostly trees lining the road to Weetshill mansion

July

Image6
Weetshill mansion – in the present

August

Image1
Ruins in the field behind Gordonsfield farmhouse

September

image 19
The Old Kirkyard in Kendonald

October

Image7
The Robertson stone in the Old Kirkyard

November

Image5
Weetshill Railway Station – today

December

image 18
The Salvation Army Citadel in the Castlegate in Aberdeen

These photos were all taken by me on my trips to Scotland in 1993 and 1997, long before A Shadow in the Past came to be, even in its earlier novella form of Sarah’s Gift.

Now that you’ve seen all the months’ photos, don’t you want to win one? You can. It’s easy. Visit the daily posts of my trip to Scotland (the clues are in the text) then leave your guesses where the Seeking Sarah Shand photos were taken in the comments.

You can also play along over at my A Shadow in the Past 2013 Book Tour blog as I check the comments there, too.

Good luck!

I can’t wait to read your guesses.

Day 15 – Glasgow to Toronto

Day 15 – Glasgow to Toronto – August 25, 2013


View Larger Map

We were checked out of the hotel and over at the airport before 8:00. When I booked the room, I went with room only because I knew there were plenty of places in the airport to go get breakfast.

The Air Transat desk opened at 8:15 so we went and got checked in so we could get rid of our two big bags. After passing through security, we found a place reasonably close to our gate where we could have a meal (and me, a coffee). We decided on the Beardmore Bar and Restaurant. After all the huge, cooked breakfasts I’d eaten in the two weeks, and having already mowed down a packet of Prawn Cocktail crisps, I only had fried eggs on toast.

I’m not sure how it happened, but when I went to fasten my belt in the WC, the buckle came off in my hand and a belt without a buckle isn’t much use to anyone, so the entire thing went into the trash. At least for the time being, we didn’t have a lot of walking to do so I didn’t have to worry about losing my pants… LOL.

While we waited in the departure lounge for our flight to arrive, I took advantage of the free wi-fi and checked my email. I discovered that an interview I had done with Stacy Claflin before our trip went live the day before. I went to her blog and thanked her for hosting me before my half hour expired.

Before our plane arrived, a fire engine arrived and parked by the gate. It doesn’t exactly inspire a warm, fuzzy feeling. Shortly after that, an ambulance arrived and parked next to the building below where we were sitting.

Our plane at arriving at Glasgow Airport
Our plane at arriving at Glasgow Airport

We waited and watched to see what would take place next. Once the plane taxied in to location, the fire engine went out and parked by the left, rear emergency exit. Once the gangway was in place, two paramedics sprinted up the outside stairs.

For the longest time, nothing happened. Well, there was likely a lot going on in the plane but from our vantage point, we couldn’t see.

Eventually, a paramedic descended followed by a man carrying some cabin luggage and a purse. He was followed by a woman and a paramedic. She and her ‘husband’ were bundled into the ambulance.

When hubby came back from a walk, he told me he’d overheard a couple of flight crew members saying that they didn’t know exactly what happened but the woman was taken to Royal Glasgow and would be spending the night there for observation. Not a very nice way to spend the beginning of your vacation or arriving back home.

The flight boarded and left on time. We thought for sure it would be late with all the earlier excitement.

Except for hitting a few patches of turbulence, one severe enough to suspend beverage service – it was rough – but other than that, everything went to plan and we landed in Toronto on time and I phoned my cousin who was picking us up to let her know.

Walking through the airport, I had to continually tug at my pants to keep them from falling down. I thought for sure, my actions would create suspicion but we had no problems at all, well except for the self-serve customs scanners not reading our passports or declaration form the first time. It wasn’t until the girl started towards us that it worked. I told her it had to be her aura.

When we finally got our bags, which seemed to take forever (trouble with checking in so early – bags are the last to come off the plane), we headed outside and found a place by one of the posts and called my cousin again. Within minutes, she and her husband were there and our luggage loaded into their car.

Back at her place, we transferred our stuff from her vehicle into the trunk of mine. I had bought something for them to say thank you for letting us leave the car at their place for the two weeks and for putting us down at and later uplifting us from the airport, so got it out of hubby’s CPAP machine bag so I could give it to them when we got inside. I quickly discovered the price tag was still on it so I had to get it off and into the garbage without them seeing. I was successful.

So what was the gift you ask? It was a wee sign with a picture of a cat and wording to the effect “household staff here”.

We visited with them for a while before leaving for home and pulled into our driveway shortly before 9:00 pm.

What a trip! I can’t wait until we can do it again… so I guess I best get my second book finished and published so I can take it on a UK (or maybe elsewhere) book tour.

Day 14 – Largs to Glasgow

Day 14 – Largs to Glasgow – August 24, 2013

What a difference a day makes. Late yesterday afternoon when we arrived in Largs, it was dull and overcast, not to mention, cold with showers. This morning, it was bright and sunny. Over breakfast, I chatted with Pica, the lady who runs Tigh-An-Struan Guest House. She knew I was a writer from my email signature and asked about my book and could she buy a copy. Since I still had some in the boot of the car, I was more than happy to oblige. I gave her the price and told her I would even sign it for her. While I was at the car getting a copy and the book swag to go with it, I made a note to myself to tell hubby I wanted to go back down to the beach and take pictures since it was so different than when we arrived. Book signed, bill paid, hugs from Pica (especially after I showed her the page I had signed on), we headed to the car only for me to have to go back because I’d left my warm poncho in our room. She handed me the key and I dashed upstairs. Not only had I left my poncho on the bed, but hubby had left his shampoo and body wash in the shower. Before we left, we put as much of our stuff as possible into the suitcases since for the most part, any extra bags from purchases had just been tossed into the boot. Our rental car would be going back later today and the fewer items we had to contend with, the easier it would make our lives. Before leaving Largs, we walked down to the beach so I could take pictures.

Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs looking towards Great Cumbrae
Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs looking towards Great Cumbrae
Ferry at Largs
Ferry at Largs

As we’d done the day before and back on Day 8 when we headed south, I wanted to stay along the coast for as much of the drive to Johnstone where we would catch the train into Glasgow as possible.

River Clyde near Langbank
River Clyde near Langbank

Same day return tickets purchased, we went out onto the platform to wait for our train. We weren’t there more than ten minutes before it pulled into the station.

Train arriving in Johnstone
Johnstone Station platform

As soon as we were off the train and out of the station, we immediately headed for Argyle Street where we turned left and made our way to the High Street and up to the Necropolis.

Corner of The Trongate and Albion Street
Corner of The Trongate and Albion Street
The mercat cross in Glasgow
The Mercat Cross
The Tolbooth Steeple and McChuills from High Street
The Tolbooth Steeple and McChuills from High Street

Call me weird, but I love cemeteries – especially old ones. The stonework in these older monuments is amazing, not to mention the architecture of the mausoleums.

Me on the Bridge of Sighs
Me on the Bridge of Sighs
Necropolis from the Bridge of Sighs
Necropolis from the Bridge of Sighs
Grave of William Miller author of Wee Willie Winkie
Grave of William Miller author of Wee Willie Winkie
Grave in the Necropolis
Headstone in the Necropolis
Grave in the Necropolis
Mausoleum in the Necropolis
Grave in the Necropolis
Headstone in the Necropolis

We had barely scratched the surface of this amazing ‘City of the Dead’ when it was time to move on. From here we went to George Square where there used to be a tourist information shop but was closed and relocated to Buchanan Street. So off we went but not before taking a slight detour down to Royal Exchange Square to see the Duke of Wellington Statue.

The Duke of Wellington statue
The Duke of Wellington statue

Yes, that’s a traffic cone on his head. If my murky memory serves, back in the day people would climb up and put it on the statue only to have the city come along and take it down. Finally, once it was up there it was left as is because the statue was being damaged. Now it’s illegal to remove the ‘jaunty chapeau’. Buchanan Street was alive with bands playing and buskers on almost every block.

Clanadonia playing on Buchanan Street
Clanadonia playing on Buchanan Street

We stopped in at the tourist information looking to see how far out the new transportation museum was, only to discover it was far from being within walking distance. I had toyed with the idea of buying the guys something from here but that didn’t happen. From here, we walked down to Argyle Street and went into the St Enoch Centre where I visited my favourite department store – Debenhams along with a few others but didn’t find what I was looking for. On our way back to the train station, we went into The Glasgow Kilt Company on Union Street. Much to my delight, they had the tartan corset I’ve ogled and drooled over for a few years and decided that buying online wasn’t an option. There was no change room here, and with UK sizes being different than North American, I needed to be able to try it on. One of the staff was extremely helpful. He told us of their other store on Hope Street which had more tartans to choose from plus, the needed change room. He even came out onto the pavement with us and told us how to get there so off we went. What a score! It took some time trying on various sizes (hubby was even allowed to come and help me) until I found the right size. I got my corset (one that fit and less expensive than online), a couple of fridge magnets and ‘Glasgow’ hoodies for the guys. Here it is, what do you think? I’m seeing some new author photos done wearing it. Maybe up at St Lawrence Park after the leaves change since it’s gorgeous up there in the the autumn.

tartan corset
tartan corset

When we finally got back to the airport complex to return the car and check into our room, we decided to return the rental car first. It wasn’t a long walk between the two places. We made sure all of our loot was out and got one of the baggage carts to put most of the stuff on to go back. They were quite pleased at the condition the car came back in, and surprised when hubby told them that one of the back-up lights was out. I guess they don’t get a lot of people fess up?

Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn
Our room at the Holiday Inn

After we got checked into the hotel, the first thing we did was re-pack up the suitcases ensuring they weren’t overweight and that said weight was relatively equal, and a few pounds below the maximum allowable so that we’d have the wiggle room we needed in the morning to put our ‘can’t pack until the end’ stuff in. Despite having a well stocked mini-fridge in the hall just inside the door and a bottle of wine on the desk, we steered clear of them (well, I used a wine glass later so I could finish up the bottle of red wine I’d brought with me from Earlsfield Farm) and visited the bar downstairs where we had a bite to eat and a few well-deserved pints of Becks, and toasted a very successful trip. It’s really hard to believe it’s gone by so fast. Tomorrow morning, we’ll be trundling our luggage over to the airport and flying home.

But one last time before we leave Scotland, let’s play SEEKING SARAH SHAND!

Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand

Day 13 – Gretna to Largs

Day 13 – Gretna to Largs – August 23, 2013

Our first stop this morning after getting checked out was back up to Smiths Hotel to see if my lens cap had been turned in. We did a cursory glance as we walked through the area we’d sat in the night before but saw nothing so went to reception and asked if one had been turned in. When the girl on the desk heard where we’d sat the previous night, she said check with the bar staff because it would have likely been turned in there. We did and were told to go to reception which we replied we’ve already done that and were told to come here. Then the girl asked if we’d had a good look around where we sat, which we hadn’t. I mean, going through the area, patting down chairs, looking under them without anyone knowing why would look rather suspicious. She then told us it was okay to have a good look so we did. Hubby ran his hand down between the side of the chair and the cushion where I’d made myself comfortable the night before and voila, he came up with the missing lens cap. Before we left, we made sure that reception and the girl in the bar knew we’d found the elusive contraption hiding in the chair. Yay!

Now that the lens cap mystery had been solved we could get on with our day starting with our stop at Caerlaverock Castle. I wanted to go here when we were last in this area in 2005 but time didn’t permit so I ensured a visit on this trip.

Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle

What an impressive ruin! It’s likely to be the most intact of the ruined castles we’ve visited in all of our visits to Scotland.

Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle

While we were inside one of the chambers here, a couple of kids were throwing stones down from one of the upper levels. Hubby, stinker that he can be, said to them in a ghostly sort of voice, “Do you want me to throw them back?” Funny, they quit throwing stones. Go figure.

Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle

After our visit here, well worth waiting for I might add, we headed to our next stop Sweetheart Abbey but driving along the Nith Estuary, I had to stop. Not only was it at low tide but one of the signs we’d seen at a lay-by mentioned quicksand. How can a body resit such a photo op?

The Nith Estuary
The Nith Estuary
The Nith Estuary
The Nith Estuary

By the time we arrived at Sweetheart Abbey, it had started to spit rain. Just what one needs when you need a WC. Thankfully (tongue in cheek), there were public toilets in the car park. I don’t know who maintains ownership of these ones but they were functional and that was all.

Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey

The story behind this abbey can be found at Historic Scotland. Talk about true love…

Lady Dervorgilla's resting place with a cast of her husband's urn
Lady Dervorgilla’s resting place with a cast of her husband’s urn
Sweetheart Abbey
Sweetheart Abbey from the churchyard

As we did after leaving Kennethmont, I wanted to drive along the coast, despite the weather being grey and gloomy with occasional showers. Our trip was coming to an end so maybe that was the reason behind it. Still, I wasn’t nearly as weepy as I was during the drive from Kennethmont to Kelso.

We passed by Cardoness and Carsluith Castles vowing to put them on the next trip. By taking the coast road, our trip was longer, but despite the cloud cover and occasional showers, far more scenic than the more direct inland route.

Near Girvan, we stopped in one of the lay-bys (part of the old road) for a photo op.

Ailsa Craig shrowded in fog
Ailsa Craig shrowded in fog
mainland scenery across the firth from Ailsa Craig
mainland scenery across the firth from Ailsa Craig

By now we really had to make tracks since we wanted to go over to Quarriers Village and see our friends there who had made the journey up to Kennethmont for my book launch. Off and on during the entire day it continued to rain – sometimes harder than others. “Sat Nav Sally” took us to the M77 (not a bad thing since we needed to make up time) and onto the M8… in rush hour. No worse than driving across Toronto, but still not the easiest. Knowing where we were and where we had to exit helped immensely so it wasn’t the end of the world.

After a visit with our friends, we made tracks for Largs, taking the ‘back’ roads. Looking back, we probably should have gone and checked in first, then headed over to Quarriers Village but seeing our friends was far more important at the time than getting to our room.

Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House 2
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House
Our room at Tigh-An-Struan Guest House

Before going off for a bite of supper, we walked the other way to the beach and I was able to get a few pictures.

Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs
Seaside at Largs

We went up into the town and had our supper at an Indian Restaurant next to the Royal Bank of Scotland. It was an excellent meal, and although the onion bhajias we had weren’t on the same level as the ones in Kelso, they were delicious and served on a bed of fresh, sliced onion. Yum, yum! And no heartburn later!

So before I fall asleep after a long yet fulfilling day, let’s play SEEKING SARAH SHAND!

Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand

Tomorrow will be our last full day in Scotland and the plan is to drive to Johnstone and take the train from there into Glasgow to go shopping and visit the Necropolis. Fingers crossed the weather cooperates.

Day 12 – Harrogate to Gretna

 Day 12 – Harrogate to Gretna – August 22, 2013

Before we had breakfast, we looked up some of the possible things we could do between Harrogate and my friend’s house just outside the Lake District. One option was to take the steam train that stopped at, among other points along the line, Haworth which is home to the Bronte Parsonage Museum

the former home of the literary sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne.

This idea was soon dismissed when we discovered it would be better to have a full day for the journey so it’s now on the bucket list for our next trip. My friend expected us after lunch and had we done this, it would have been after supper, if at all, since we had to get to Gretna.

We debated on driving straight through to Drybeck but a signpost along the road got our attention. Bolton Abbey. Since we like poking around ruins and what not, we thought why not? We weren’t disappointed.

Bolton Abbey
Bolton Abbey
Bolton Abbery from across the River Wharfe
Bolton Abbery from across the River Wharfe
Bolton Abbey from the churchyard
Bolton Abbey from the churchyard

We spent a few enjoyable hours here before making our way back up the hill to the car park. Along the way, we stopped in at a used bookstore in the village then in the Bolton Abbey gift shop. I bought a bracelet here (among other things) but haven’t worn it yet.

Back on the road, with another bag of loot stuffed into the boot, we began the trek to Drybeck. Soon after taking the exit at Penrith, we were on narrower roads (not that I mind) going over the mountains. We passed over at cattle grid and soon after, had to be on the lookout for sheep. Some were grazing well away from the road’s surface, others next to it.

The narrow road into Drybeck was extremely so with virtually no place to get over if you met an oncoming car. Thankfully, we didn’t. Once we got into the hamlet, we had no idea which house was my friend’s. We drove right past it! Anyway, a lady was riding her horse a bit ahead of us, so when we got close, Don put his window down and asked if she knew where our friend lived. She did and pointed us in the right direction – except we counted cottages wrong. One, which looked like a semi-detached, we counted as two so ended up at the house next door. Being in a valley, cell phone reception was the pits, but after losing Pam trying to call on Don’s mobile, he finally got a signal and got her back. He suggested she come out into the road and she did. She was so close to where we were, we heard her door close! I had backed the car into the driveway next door so I didn’t have far to drive to get into the proper driveway.

The weather was gorgeous – warm and sunny and perfect for sitting in the garden. My friend’s dog, Sid, loves to play ball, but he doesn’t like to give it up when he brings it back all slobbery and slimy.

Sid
Sid

In addition to her dog, her ‘grand-dog’ Zen was there. Not as into playing ball as Sid, but he was more into wading in the pond, much to my friend’s chagrin.

Zen
Zen

After an enjoyable afternoon abeit much too short, we began our drive to Gretna. This time we weren’t as fortunate to not meet cars on the narrow road with no passing places. This time we met oncoming cars and had to back up down the road until I could slip into the driveway for a farmer’s field. Nae fun.

We made one final stop before we hit the Scottish border to see if we had the directions to Barrasgate House from back in 2005 when we stayed there. I didn’t have anything in my emails on my laptop but after some searching, hubby found the information on his iPad. Not that it mattered, “Sat Nav Sally” got us there in the end, just brought us in from the other direction so that it was on our right instead of our left. Now we were back in familiar territory. I didn’t need the sat nav or the atlas for the rest of today.

Our room at Barrasgate
Our room at Barrasgate House
Our room at Barrasgate
Our room at Barrasgate House
Our room at Barrasgate
Our room at Barrasgate House

Once we got settled, we did a quick online search for a place for supper and decided on Smiths Hotel at Gretna Green just up and over the road from the historic Blacksmith’s Shop.

There had been mixed reviews about the restaurant but we had an excellent meal, the service was great so our only issue was this modern place (and if memory serves, it was under construction in 2005 when we were in the area) so close to the Blacksmiths’ Shop. It just seemed so out of place.

Once we got back to Barrasgate House, I realized the lens cap for my camera was gone. I’d had it all along and even at supper so we decided that since the hotel wasn’t too far out of our way, we’d stop by there before our leaving the area and see if it had been turned in.

Let’s play SEEKING SARAH SHAND!

Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand

Tomorrow we’ll be off to Largs with stops at Caerlaverock Castle and Sweetheart Abbey and more if time permits. It’s really hard to believe that our holiday is almost over.