Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 87

Monday, 26 June 1978

Cold, windy, some showers

Through Hay-on-Wye. Back road came to a toll bridge (7p) over a canal. The WHITNEY toll bridge.

To Hereford and Worcester through rich rolling country to Stratford. Place full of tourist buses to see Shakespeare’s cottage that has been set up as a tourist attraction. Town very busy.

Shakespeare’s birthplace

Down to Stow-on-the-Wold. Old buildings around a square. Meal at White Hart £8 [Ed. I had some great meals here when I visited in 2000]. Stayed with Mrs Heatt – very good H&C £3.50 ea.

Stocks in Square at Stow-on-the-Wold

Our B&B at Stow

In the village at Stow

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 86

Sunday, 25 June 1978

Cold, cloudy, occasional showers

Breakfast 9.00. Drove to Llyswen and bought skirt and heavy jumper – to be sent to Australia.


Cattle moving through the main street of Llyswen Wells

Onto Brecon Beacons Mountain Centre. A special centre for the use of visitors – cafeteria, picnic facilities, showers, rest centre. Very well set up with a wonderful view of the Beacons in the distance. Beacons – an unusual outcrop of red sandstone pushed up many years ago.


To Merthyr and to Abergavenny where [we] tried to find Llangua where Marion’s cousin lived. Inquired at bus depot – talked with the mechanic. Place was 11 miles out on the Hereford border. Passed through the place and came back. Went up a road for miles – came back – the place Elsie asked at turned out to be where Paddy and Tony Wollan lived. (5.00pm).

Stayed for tea. Tony had had a throat operation and has his larynx removed (12 months ago).  His partner had had open heart surgery. Both families live in very large house (300 years old in parts) that used to be coach house. – 7 bedrooms upstairs. Dining and a couple of lounge rooms. Paddy showed us the large sideboard (£13) on a solid stone floor. The cellar and bar (of old inn) were below in another room down below they have a full size billiard table.

Back through Talgarth to Builth Wells.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 84

Friday, 23 June 1978

Wet (VERY)

Set off to Mt Snowden. Very heavy rain as we went through the Llanberis Pass. Very rugged cliffs but could not see much. Saw the rack and pinion steam engine that goes up the mountain but cloud was very low.

To Carnarvon Castle. The walls very impressive but much restoration work has been done. In one tower an exhibition of the development. Built in time of Edward I between 1280 and 1320s. The city wall completed in 4 years.

Inside Carnarvon Castle

The dias where Charles was installed as Prince of Wales









Another tower has the story of the crowning of Charles as Prince of Wales. Special chairs sold as souvenirs – slate dias, slate chairs for the crowning.

Very cold and windy in the passageways. Lunch on the quayside.

Saw the 3 bridges of Castle Conwyrail, suspension bridge (1833) and new road bridge.

Pouring rain. Back up Conwy valley. Looked at shirts – bought little purses in Llanberis.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 83

Thursday, 22 June 1978

Through Peak National Park (Blue John Cave near Castleton – peat stone). Mountainous country. Confused on way near Chapel – in to Frith and Congleton and coming out of Wrexham.

To Betws-y-Coed in mountainous country. Rocky – stream through village.

Cattle move down the main street of Llyswen Wells

B&B £3.75 / £3.50. Walk up the river side.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 82

Wednesday, 21 June 1978

Drizzle and very heavy rain

Big breakfast.

Heaviest rain we have driven through. Rolling country to Skipton. Some climbing through the Yorkshire Dales.

Harrogate – a very large city. Difficulty in finding the Tourist Info Centre so that we could find Grove Road for Elsie to visit her aunt in Convalescent home. Molly (94) very excited to show us her room and the home. Uses stick but manages 2 flights of stairs quite well. Took a couple of photos.


To York and looked at the cathedral. Very light sandstone. Visited the undercroft where they put cement foundation to support one of the towers that was moving. Stainless steel pins 63ft long go through the concrete. Now a museum as they uncovered Roman foundations.

Couldn’t find [a] B&B [so] heading to Sheffield Royal Victoria Hotel (£25) without bath. You have to miss out sometime.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 81

Tuesday, 20 June 1978

Breakfast at 8. Early start.

Gone about 4 miles when we discovered we had left this book, maps and papers in the bedroom.

Returned and joined a traffic queue of about 3/4 mile into Stirling. Picked up the motorway and fast travelled to Gretna Green. Bought some jumpers £75 each.

By passed Carlisle and headed for the Lakes District. Lake, bare hills with sparse trees. Trees along edges of lakes. Suddenly came upon Keswick a large bustling tourist town. Cars everywhere. Difficult to park. Had our rolls in a national park wooded area near the lake.

At Windermere walked a little of the town and then drove down to the wharf area. People everywhere walking the streets. Many people coming off and around the area where the excursion boats leave.

Pretty drive through the tree lined roads to Kendall and to Kirkby Lonsdale – a neat little town – narrow streets and a square and lots of eating places. Stayed with Mrs Bradshaw. The Parko’s and Batto’s had left there that morning. They had come back and had 2 nights.

Excellent accommodation £3.50 each.

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 80

Monday, 19  June 1978

Cloudy early, fine later

Put dry cleaning in.

Visited Stirling Castle. All the Scottish monarchs have been crowned here. In very good order much restoration work going on. Castle overlooks the whole Forth Valley and used to control all movement to the north. Great Hall used as military barracks for over 300 years by the Argyle and Sunderland units. All interior additions are being taken out and the place restored. The original type windows being done in stone. Baptism Hall, Banquet Hall now museum for the silver of the Scottish units. Large silver centre piece to commemorate the Scots in the South African war and other places they have served. The Royal apartments and some of the circular wooden carvings – known as the Stirling Heads that used to decorate the ceilings.

Out to Callander. Lunch overlooking a small river. Browsed through the shops looking for bargain sweaters.

Elsie and the fire brooms

View near the Trossachs

Out to the Trossachs large rugged mountains that overlook Loch Venacher and up to Loch Katrine – the dam for Edinburgh’s water supply. Lookout on hill top overlooking the Trossachs. Photo of Elsie and the fire-brooms.

Mrs Stirling talked on so we had a late night before our usual supper.

The farm at Stirling

Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 79

Sunday, 18 June 1978

Fine & hot

Breakfast 9. Drove round to find way to Edinburgh Castle. Had lunch below the walls. Walked up and had a guided tour to show main features. 9 gates originally to protect entrance. Crown sceptre and orb on display in special secured room.

Edinburgh Castle

Walked down the Royal Mile with many of the tourist shops open. Came past Waverley Station. Took sightseeing bus – the sea, the city, the hills. Down to Portobello area out to foothills of the Pentland Hills and into city. Very rough ride in the double decker.

Drove to Queensferry South and viewed the Firth of ForthRail 2600 yds (1883-1890) and the Road Bridge – 2000 yds (1964).

Back to a lavish supper.


Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 78

Saturday, 17 June 1978

Very cold wintry wind, dull

Drove around Aberdeen. Down to Dundee. Long bridge over the Tay.

Highland games were on at Newburgh (weather fine and hot). Had lunch. Pipe band came in. Junior races. Cycle races, shot put hammer throw. Large crowd in amphitheatre of private grounds. Left at 3.30.

Highland games

Visited Falkland Castle. Some of it goes back to the 1600s.

Started to look for B&B. None about. Past Forth Bridge and across towards Stirling.

Postcard showing two of the Forth bridges

The Forth Railway Bridge

Found a farmhouse about 8.30. Very big supper choice. Pikelets, toast, biscuits, small cakes, jam, honey, tea, coffee (£3.50). Mrs Stirling, Craigstow Farm, Stirling.