Heading south for the Long Road Festival.....

Updated: Aug 31

With our initial destination being Birmingham, we headed left out of the driveway, after which we tackled the late afternoon traffic as we traversed the city of Glasgow at 4:00 pm on a Friday! However, within half an hour, we were on cruise control on the inside lane as we headed to the Scottish Borders, towards our first stop: the Hopetoun Arms in Leadhills. The friendly, family-run hotel has become a bit of a favourite this year; this is our third visit in almost as many months! We enjoyed a relaxing early evening quaff in the bar and then settled into our dinner, which was very pleasant as usual. A big thank you to Rachael, Rab and their ever-attentive staff for making our visit another enjoyable stay. The hotel truly is a haven in the hills!

Bird of prey sculpture at the Hopetoun Arms Hotel

Our arrival in Birmingham coincided with the late afternoon rush hour traffic. Is this becoming a theme on this trip?! Consequently, we queued up to traverse the city centre heading south towards Selly Park and our friend's house, where we had one more hurdle to jump; we required a pass to enter her street as the Mela festival was being held in her local park. Luckily, our friend was at the barricade as we approached, and we were granted a smooth passage into her street!

That evening we were treated to a brumi curry, and although it was very enjoyable, I couldn't help feeling that Glasgow curries held the edge! A late night ensued as we whiled away the hours and the years that had slipped by since we had all been together. Sunday saw us enjoy a lovely walk into Moseley, where we had brunch before returning home via Cannon Hill park, checking out the Mela en route

Sunday evening saw us heading into Edgbaston to enjoy a few beers and dinner at the Physician, a popular public house. As the night drew to a close, we encountered a highly inebriated local lass who joined our table and sang Eagles songs to us before her friend arrived to take her home! Life on the road, eh?

On Monday, we said our goodbyes, headed southwest out of Birmingham and pitched up at the Camp House Inn on the banks of the river Severn in Grimley. After a pleasant lunch, we parked in the pub's adjacent camping field under a Damson Fruit tree and then enjoyed a two-and-a-half-mile walk around the locale before turning in for the night. Oh, we also encountered the pub’s Peacock on several occasions!

The pub peacock

An addendum to the fella above: we were woken at 5:30 on Tuesday morning by him and his pals performing their “dawn chorus”!

Our next stop was 'The Boat' near Long Itchington, a pub on the Grand Canal, where we enjoyed a walk along the canal and an excellent dinner back at the pub. The following day saw us heading further northeast to Dunchurch, where we had booked a room in the Dun Cow Hotel. The quaint village boasts several superb thatched cottages, a decent pub and a very good curry house run by locals who originally came from Bangladesh!

And so the day finally arrived; Friday morning, we had a coffee in the sunshine outside the hotel before setting off to the Long Road Festival. The journey had been, in some ways, a long road too! Finally, however, we arrived on site at about midday, and entry was 'a breeze'. We were set up and hooked up to the electrics within 15 minutes of arriving! Three days of long walks followed, with many beers, some eye-opening sights, interesting 'street food' and fantastic music. Our favourites were Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, The Fruit Bats and The Ghost of Paul Revere. We only saw one band on the 'main stage', leaving after about 20 minutes. The bands on that stage we too "Nashville" for our taste, i.e. the current pop/country style!

So finally, Monday morning arrived, and we woke weary, wasted and wanting more, having eventually crashed at three am! So "where to now" was the big question over our morning cup of java, and we soon came up with the answer. We would head back to Brum (Birmingham) and have a curry with my Nephew and his girlfriend in the Balti Triangle. So we set about arranging a bed for the night in town with shower facilities (!), and we met Rory and Caroline in the Old Moseley Arms for a pre-dinner pint before moving on to an excellent balti restaurant called Diwan. It was great to catch up after a four-year hiatus, and we all enjoyed a lovely meal and an enjoyable evening.

Iain, Rory and Nadia

On Tuesday morning, we vacated our Air BnB and set off north towards home, pulling off the M6 south of Manchester to find an overnight berth somewhere. After a couple of 'false starts,' we settled on the Leigh Inn, Bartington, where we had a pleasant dinner before retiring to Iona to watch the thought-provoking 1997 film "Wag the Dog". A film full of messages and 'symbolism', suffice to say, "if you know, you know"!


Check back soon to see what we get up to over the next few days......

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