Local bus to Allenheads
Sometimes when I'm in a new place I like to take a local bus out into the countryside. I don't have to have any particular destination. Occasionally I just like to go. . . If I were confident enough to drive in Britain I could go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted. But I think you lose something when you're a completely independent traveller. One day while I was staying in Hexham I strolled down to the market square, looked at the bus schedules, and decided on the spot to take the local bus into the Northumberland hills to Allenheads.
The double decker buses run out into the countryside - at least they did in 1994 when I was there. Riding on the top deck on the narrow English country roads is a bit like being on a land yacht. Really, there's so much more to see when you don't have to keep your eyes on the road.
Even if I were brave enough to drive on the English motorways, I think I'd stay off the country roads - they are narrow, and they usually have no shoulder. This picture was taken from the B 6295, just outside Allendale Town.
This certainly isn't the "standard" view of the English countryside. Those English clouds - how low to the ground they seem!
At Allenheads I got off the bus, bought some chocolate at the local newsagent, and walked out onto the moorlands. It was as if I were in the Dakotas! (I think - admittedly I haven't yet been to N. or S. Dakota, but I read Kathleen Norris' book.)
This geographic marker indicated that this was a "high point" in the surrounding countryside.
"Cottages at Allenheads"
It was June, but it was actually quite cold that day - temperature only in the 40s, with a strong easterly wind. People who live out here must have to be self-sufficient. (I like that.)