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Top 10 UK Coast Roadside Surprises

This is an inventory of cool issues we’ve encountered alongside our around-the-UK journey (A different Green) kind of by accident – both by literally driving previous, or by finding out about them on the last minute from signs or local leaflets; the unfamiliar vacationer sights, or just quirky things value noting.

10. BUDE GCHQ, CORNWALL
Day 24 – Lengthy Cornish Goodbye

Not exactly a “hidden” gem, however one thing many people passing it day by day on the busy street between Cornwall and North Devon give slightly discover, and in the event that they do, probably don’t hassle to to verify what the unusual array of antennas and radar domes is all about – this is the primary satellite intelligence and electronic spying site of UK’s equal (and close ally) of the NSA – GCHQ. A quiet and unassuming place more often than not, it’s turn into embroiled not too long ago within the Snowden scandal, so it’s been mentioned in the information quite a bit over the last few years – although still few most likely know where it is, or what it’s if they see it.

9. VARYAG MONUMENT, AYRSHIRE
Day 67-68 – The Testicle of Scotland

A mysterious cross raised on the Ayrshire shoreline in chilly, blue brass, and signed solely in Russian, this monument commemorates a Russian steam cruiser Varyag, in-built 1899, which served the Tsar’s Navy within the Russo-Japanese Warfare, was then orange stone island hat captured by the Japanese, and finally, returned to Russia through Great Britain, ran aground in essentially the most unlikely of locations – on the rocks off Scottish coast.

8. DA PLINKY BOAT, SHETLAND
Day 90 – Da Plinky Boat

It is a long, cold and lonely look forward to the ferry from Britain’s northernmost inhabited island to Britain’s second northernmost inhabited island. Fortunately, the great individuals of Unst supplied a diversion within the form of a fishing boat turned into a xylophone: da plinky boat.

7. GARLIC FARM, ISLE OF WIGHT
Days 5-6 – My Hovercraft is stuffed with Garlic

Isle of Wight is well-known for many things – far too many for its dimension, I reckon – but garlic was never on the top checklist of its sights. We stumbled onto the Garlic Farm by following a shortcut imagined by our GPS – and stayed for good few hours. Not solely is visiting the big garlic area a quirky deal with by itself, the farm shop is full of excellent garlic-based mostly goods, from chutney and ketchup to surprisingly tasty ice cream.

6. WELSH LANGUAGE HERITAGE CENTRE
Day 42 – St Mary’s Church by the White Hazel Pool

Situated at the very finish of an extended, winding, narrow and steep street, Nant Gwrtheyrn shouldn’t be exactly something you bump into by accident, however it is a shocking and effectively worth seeing place. A one-time quarrymen village, now finely restored as a centre for studying Welsh in its native environment, it’s beautifully positioned between the sea and the mountains, a jewel hidden from sight till the very last moment.

5. T.E. LAWRENCE’S Final (CAKE) STAND, MORETON
Day 10 – Tea with Mr Lawrence

There are several mementos of the good Lawrence of Arabia scattered in and round Moreton, since this is the place where he had spent the final days of his life – and, ultimately, found his demise in a motorbike accident. But none are as strange because the cake stand on the Moreton Tea Room – which, upon nearer inspection, turns out to be the authentic bier upon which Lawrence’s coffin lay at his funeral.

4. MERMAID OF ZENNOR
Day 20-22 – Point Break

The small native churches of Cornwall, with their nowhere-else-identified patron saints are often unusual enough with out involving mysterious Greek-mythology inspired legends, however the sea-side parish of Zennor easily takes the rostrum of peculiarity. The 600-yr old Mermaid Chair, hidden away within the corner of the church, impressed not only a singular local mermaid legend and some dubious scholarship, linking it to pagan pictures of Aphrodite, but additionally a model of local dairy ice cream – the Moomaids of Zennor.

Three. CAIRN HOLY, GALLOWAY
Day sixty six – The Sharpest Point within the Valley

Cairn Holy is a stone circle – certainly one of hundreds in Britain. It’s a powerful one – if the likes of Stonehenge and Brodgar’s Ring form the Premier League of stone circles, then Cairn Holy is well at the top of First Division. It’s additionally simply missed, a mile off the less-travelled stretch of the A75. But that’s not what makes Cairn Holy a remarkable discovery: it’s the individual of Joe, a fanatic novice archaeologist obsessed with Cairn Holy’s secrets, who’s present at the positioning virtually day by day, ready to entertain the visitors with wondrous tales and discipline experiments.

2. COCOA MOUNTAIN, BALNAKEIL
Day 83 – If Rocks Might Speak

Driving via the frozen wasteland that is Sutherland in summer time, we have been lured first by the promise of freshly made scorching chocolate, but all the site of Balnakeil turned out to be a unbelievable little place. A nuclear assault watch station within the 1950s, taken over by a commune of artists and hippies a decade later, Balnakeil is Scotland’s answer to Christiania, and a successful industrial enterprise besides. And the chocolate, by the way, was delicious.

1. HONESTY CAFE, ISLE OF ISLAY
Day 71 – A Wee Dram

One other “end of the road” shock, and finest of all of them; we found it in search of considered one of Islay’s best ruins, the Kildalton church and the stone cross in its yard. It’s out in the midst of nowhere, miles from any civilization – aside from this unmanned “cafe” consisting of a folding desk, espresso and tea pots and a field of freshly baked cakes – and a honesty box. I can’t assure it’s still there, however regardless, it was simply one of the happiest and most humanity-affirming issues we’ve seen on all the journey.

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