A couple of weeks ago me and my fiancee embarked on a road trip across the country, for my birthday. I’d been planning this trip for a while, and I aimed to visit every location I could find related to Arthurian legend in the hope it’d bring back my muse for my Merlin story.
Confident after our last trip to Nottingham, where I’d navigated successfully using a remembered list of place names and only got lost once, getting out of a supermarket car park, I decided I didn’t need much of a route plan:
We left home at ten and made good time, and it was all going well until I remembered Bristol was on my list of places. I left the motorway, somewhat early, and we ended up driving through the centre of it and adding an hour to our journey. Whoops. Then we got to Weston Super-Mare, where I encountered the roundabout system from hell. Lets just say that, in an effort to get McDonalds, I may have cut a few people up. Cursed roundabouts!
Road trip 1, Us: 0.
Cardiff and the Royal Mint:
Day Two, and we decided to venture to Wales, in particular, Cardiff. We both wanted to go, because of Doctor Who, but we were disappointed. It’s not that different to our own seaside town, except it’s bigger, and we wandered around for over an hour trying to find the waterfront!
Next, the Royal Mint, where all the coins in the UK are made, and other coins from around the world too. It was an interesting experience, and we got to mint a special edition £2 coin, but we didn’t get as close to the factory as I expected. There was also no photography in the factory.
Glastonbury Tor and Abbey:
The next day our ten year old Sat Nav took us via the back roads on the way to Glastonbury. Tractors. Lorries on narrow roads. I felt like I was back in Suffolk. Once we got to Glastonbury I ignored the Sat Nav and we parked in the town centre. First stop? Glastonbury abbey, the legendary burial place of King Arthur. My favourites, out of lots of photos, are:
The abbey ruins:
The landscape was beautiful, and even more so once we started towards Glastonbury Tor. I’ve been before, but it was a long time ago and I forgot how far up it was.
I imagine when my parents took me before, we didn’t get lost and take the scenic route!
The views from the top were spectacular though:
After the long walk, it was back to the hotel to rest up for the journey further south.
Tintagel Castle, and Minions!
Day four, and time to head to Tintagel Castle, linked with the legend of King Arthur, and the legendary site of Merlin’s cave. As soon as we entered Cornwall we were greeted by a curtain of fog. Luckily it lifted, and we were treated to some beautiful views of the coast:
The castle ruins were closed to the public, for maintenance, and we couldn’t go into Merlin’s cave either. It was a little disappointing, but you could catch glimpses of the ruins on the island:
After appreciating the beauty, and a quick lunch of cold bacon sandwiches, pilfered from the buffet breakfast at the hotel, we moved on. I wanted to take the scenic route, via a town called Minions. My mother loves Despicable Me, and I thought she’d appreciate it!
The roads were bendy. There were tractors and sheep everywhere. Minions is a tiny town, with Minions on their signpost and in their cafe. After stopping for a snack at the cafe we moved on. I wanted to visit Gothika falls, but we couldn’t find it so off to the hotel it was!
The next day we went to Stone Henge. It rained all morning, but it stopped when we arrived. Tickets are £20+ per person, or you can see the stones for free if you don’t mind a 40 minute walk. We walked, the long way round, through a cow field:
I didn’t think we’d get as close to the stones as we did, but unless you want a bus ride to the stones, and to walk all the way around them, don’t pay for a ticket. We were no more than 5 meters away from those who paid, and we still got some really good pictures:
After that it was off to the hotel, an independent place this time rather than a chain: Not something we’d normally do, but we had vouchers. It was okay, but Premier Inn is better, cheaper, and the rooms are cooler too. Had we paid I would’ve been disappointed!
Trampoline parks and gambling:
By the time my birthday rolled around I wanted to do something less historical. I gave my partner a choice: Ice skating or Trampoline park. He hates ice skating, so trampolines it was! I thought it’d be a relaxing, fun, thing to do:
I was only half wrong. It was fun, but boy are trampolines exhausting: It was a full body work out! After that we visited a casino and played roulette for a bit. It was nice to sit down, and I got a free birthday drink!
The road home:
On the way home we nearly ran out of fuel, and we took a detour along some country roads whilst listening to the song ‘Take me Home, Country Roads.’ All in all a good trip, topped off with Chinese takeaway when we finally got home!
In total I drove about 1070 miles. I don’t know how you’re supposed to visit much of the UK without a car. Some of the places we went to would have been impossible by public transport!
My muse is still missing…
The muse for my Arthurian Legend project appeared briefly to say hello. I wrote a single scene and adjusted my plan, but after that it vanished. I think it’s still there, somewhere, but it’s been buried under the strength of my other muses, Dragonspire, and a supernatural romance.
In many ways at the moment that’s a good thing. I need to focus on something familiar so I can produce my best work for my 4000 word writing assignment, and since I’ve been thinking about Dragonspire for years, that fits the bill. Let’s hope that muse doesn’t abandon me too!
In other news: I’m behind on the Notebook Project I’m doing for Nanowrimo already. I challenged myself to write 2 pages a day. So far I’ve written 4/8!
Thanks for reading!
Have you ever tried (and failed) to chase a muse across the country? Are you doing anything for Nanowrimo? What’s the prettiest place you’ve visited? Let me know in the comments!