Transfer to Edinburgh – Day 12

Catching up, well on posts but not on sleep.  Not too many images today, because I seldom take photos from the coach with the reflections and bouncing.  So I figure get caught up – and tomorrow is a slightly later morning and I don’t have to pack for a day or two.
I do have to put this in – as it was in our hotel in the Lakes District. 
We checked out of the English Lake District and headed on our way to Edinburgh.   Our first stop was just a short hop up the road to Clifton.  We had a Scottish historian give us a 5 minute talk on a historical site. 

The village’s main claim to fame is as the site of the Battle of Clifton Moor, the last battle to take place on English soil, fought during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion between Bonnie Prince Charlie, ‘the Young Pretender’ and William Duke of Cumberland, younger son of George II. One of Clifton’s most famous sons was the industrialist John “Iron-Mad” Wilkinson, who was born in the village in 1728.

The story of the local Wyberg family, whose property was forcibly sold , by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell in 1652, is related in Sir Walter Scott’s novel, ‘Waverley’, which also features the battle on Clifton Moor. The Wyberg’s had been staunch supporters of the Royalist cause during the Civil War.

The skirmish known as the Battle of Clifton Moor took place on the 19th December 1745, between a rearguard of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s Jacobite army as they retreated from Derby and elements of the Duke of Cumberland’s Hanoverian forces who were in pursuit of them.

Twelve Jacobite soldiers and ten government dragoons were killed in the skirmish four Hanoverian officers wounded. One British dragoon is recorded as dying in Clifton several weeks later, presumably of wounds received in the battle. The only prisoner taken on this occasion was a footman of the Duke of Cumberland. This man was sent back by Charles. A skeleton, wearing tartan was found near Stanhope in the 1920’s is believed to have been a Jacobite casualty of the skirmish, though this is uncertain. The Jacobite dead are buried beneath the Rebel Tree which stands on the southern edge of the village.   He told us that the English are trying to change history by stating they did not bury those men here.  He said carry this forward – it is important that they be remembered.  The area around the tree has been sold off and houses are going up. But the tree still stands.

Our next stop was to visit Hadrian’s Wall, also called the Roman Wall,  was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea,  and was the northern limit of the Roman Empire.

It had a stone base and a stone wall. There were milecastles with two turrets in between. There was a fort about every five Roman miles. From north to south, the wall comprised a ditch, wall, military way and vallum, another ditch with adjoining mounds.  We stopped at the ruins of one of the turrets.  
The view of the valley from this stop.
I liked the angle with the sheep on the hill – just if they could have turned to face me? Ahh, no, guess not.
Back on the coach and on to Lanercost, and a 12th century priory. Had no idea what a priory is – so here is the definition – A priory is a monastery of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress. That helps – sort of.
Unfortunately the priory itself was closed for a funeral service.

windy, curvy roads. 
A short break to stretch our legs and back onto the coach.  on the road again….
Guess where we are?

Marta and Barbara 
Marta and me
Cathy, Barbara and Lou Ann
Now where exactly are we?  Gretna Green is a village in the south of Scotland famous for runaway weddings. It is in Dumfries and Galloway, near the mouth of the River Esk and was historically the first village in Scotland, following the old coaching route from London to Edinburgh.  It has usually been assumed that Gretna’s famous “runaway marriages” began in 1754 when Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act came into force in England. Under the Act, if a parent of a minor (i.e., a person under the age of 21) objected to the minor’s marriage, the parent could legally veto the union. The Act tightened the requirements for marrying in England and Wales but did not apply in Scotland, where it was possible for boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12 with or without parental consent . It was, however, only in the 1770s, with the construction of a toll road passing through the obscure village of Graitney, that Gretna Green became the first easily reachable village over the Scottish border.  Scottish law allowed for “irregular marriages”, meaning that if a declaration was made before two witnesses, almost anybody had the authority to conduct the marriage ceremony. The blacksmiths in Gretna became known as “anvil priests”, culminating with Richard Rennison, who performed 5,147 ceremonies. The local blacksmith and his anvil became lasting symbols of Gretna Green weddings.
For some of you, you might have read of the name Gretna Green in literature.
We now stopped in Moffat, famous for Moffat toffee for lunch.

in the toffee store there were also tons of these containers of all kinds of candies that you could purchase by the pound.
Our next stop was to view this range of mountains, which are an extension of the Appalachian mountains in the United States.  We had a Geography professor with us who explained how all of this happened long before we were even a twinkle in an eye. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles. It is located at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Lochaber area of Scotland, close to the town of Fort William.

And guess what folks … we have arrived.  Tonight was on our own after a very short walk around the block with our Program Director.  Here are just a couple of sights – more tomorrow.
 I could not pass up this image – poor king. And not sure who was walking who in this one.
OK, now you are up to date.  Tomorrow morning we get a tour of Edinburgh and going to a show tomorrow night  – Cockpit at the Lyceum theater here.
Off to bed with me – thank god for a later start time. 



Transfer to the Lake District – Day 11

We started out our day saying good bye to York, as we boarded our coach for our next destination.  I probably should explain, that the English call the bus we are riding in a coach because a bus is what is used for transportation on city street routes and a coach is an over the road vehicle.  Well then, my dad was both a bus driver and a coach driver, I guess. As we headed up the road we passed

Royal Air Force Menwith Hill near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England which provides communications and intelligence support services to the United Kingdom and the United States.  The site contains an extensive satellite ground station and is a communications intercept and missile warning site and was been described as the largest electronic monitoring station in the world.

There was a definite call out for a car and a tripod as I kept seeing lots of buildings like this out in the county.

Our first rest stop was a wonderful little town of Settle.  We walked through this narrow alleyway to get to Victoria Hall (more on that in a second).

Settle is a small market town in the Carven district of North Yorkshire. Historically, it is served by Settle railway station, and Giggleswick railway station about a mile away.  The Square is surrounded by local businesses, most of which are family-owned, with some offering items for sale unique to the Settle area. Victoria Hall, is a Grade II listed concert hall. It is England’s oldest surviving music hall, built in about 1852.

You might remember the movie Calendar Girls released in 2003.  Settle was one of the locations used for filming.
They even have a lawn bowling area.

I then walked up to the train station.

I had to giggle at this sign.

Everyone walks dogs in the UK.

Quaint little shops everywhere.

I even found “The House That Jake Built”

The Naked Man is believed to be the oldest cafe in the country.  No I didn’t go inside – there wasn’t time. (That’s my story and I’m sticking with it)

Narrow and curvy streets.

Then it was off to a stop at a working farm.  Doesn’t Cathy look thrilled in her farm booties?  We all have to wear them to make sure we don’t bring in anything to the farm, nor take anything away in our shoes.

I was amazed at the stuff growing on the rooftops of the sheds and barns.  Let’s just say, if my grandparents milking barn was as this one was, they never would have been able to sell the milk.  I was astonished.  Here was the man, a neighbor actually, (as the owners of the farm had a wedding to attend this day)  who explained how the farm works with the dairy cows and sheep.

Here are a couple of the very busy ladies, either milk production or calves.
The farm backs up to the estuary.  The owners can fish out there but this neighbor would have to get permission. 
Now it was time for lunch – in the upper floor of the barn.  Been a long time since I sat on hay bales.
The two breeds of sheep that they grow on this farm are the Swaledale and the Herdwick. These breds stay on their own area and do not wonder like other sheep.  It is raining so no demonstration with the sheep.  Now it is off with the booties – on a soap mat right at the bus, and they took the booties off for us. Whew, I had wondered how that was going to go.
Off we drove, though the lovely countryside to our next stop – Grasmere Village.  Grasmere is a village and tourist destination in the center of the English Lake District. It takes its name from the adjacent lake, and has associations with the Lake Poets. The poet William Wordsworth, who lived in Grasmere for 14 years, described it as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”  Another person who lived in the area was Beatrix Potter.
Rainbows as the rain eases a bit for us to take a walk around the village.  I walked by the river.
and then by a few shops – I had to check out Beatrix Potter stuff.
Ahh back to the coach – and last views of the valley.

Then it was on to our hotel, where we got a lecture by a dry stone waller and a sunset?  

Whitby Abbey and Castle Howard – Day 10

Today we took the optional tour to Whitby Abbey and Castle Howard.  First stop was the town of Whitby.
Whitby is a seaside town, port and in the Borough of Scarborough and English county of North Yorkshire. It is located on the east coast of Yorkshire at the mouth of the River Esk. It has an established maritime, mineral and tourist heritage. The East Cliff is home to the ruins of Whitby Abbey. The fishing port developed during the Middle Ages for herring and whaling fleets and was where Captain Cook learned seamanship.
Our first stop was on the hillside by the shore so we could see the shore and the abbey on the hillside. It was too hazy to photograph it well at this time of the morning.

Perched high on a cliff, you can see the remains of Whitby Abbey, that were inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic tale of ‘Dracula’. Author Bram Stoker stayed in Whitby in the late 1800s, and was so inspired by its ruined abbey and clifftop church he created his most famous character. Dracula arrives in this country after his ship runs aground off Whitby, and runs up the famous 199 steps in the guise of a black dog, and he even took character names from here, making Whitby the ‘Goth’ capital of Britain.

Four hundred years earlier, the abbey was the setting for the artistic awakening of Cædmon, the first named English poet.  Cædmon was a layman who had never written a single poem, until one night in a dream he was asked to sing about all creation. To his surprise he found himself singing spontaneous verses in praise of God.
Then we drove around to get up to the Abbey passing a horse with a polka dotted blanket.  
And finally the Whitby Abbey. and bear came to see the abbey. 

and another pony with a blanket.  The wind was blowing up there.  There were a number of school children there.  I caught this one sitting in part of the wall while his teacher was not looking.

This spectacular headland was first settled as a monastery in AD 657 by King Oswy of Northumbria. It became one of the most important religious centers in the Anglo-Saxon world under the formidable Abbess Hild. She ruled over both men and women in a double monastery called Streaneshalch.

Centuries of weather and war have taken their toll – parts of the abbey church have collapsed during storms, and its west front was hit by German naval shelling in 1914.

We now were going to walk down those 199 steps to the town. In town we learned about Whitby Jet which they polish for jewelry.  As we walked along, we saw this man doing a sand sculpture on the sidewalk.

We went to Trencher’s for Fish and Chips.   Notice the potatoes were called Sagitta potatoes.  After lunch some walked around town and others stayed close to the center to prepare to head for our next stop.

Some horses just below the ruins of the abbey and on top of the hill.
Now we left to drive to Castle Howard which was close to York, where our hotel is located.

Castle Howard is a magnificent historic house in the north of England, the 18th century residence is set within 1,000 acres of breathtaking landscape just about 15 kilometers outside York.

The Yorkshire stately home boasts world-renowned works or art and stunning architecture having been designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and built with the assistance of Nicholas Hawksmoor.

The grounds include lakes, fountains, temples and woodland as well as formal walled garden and children’s adventure playground.

The Howard family are descended from Lord William Howard the youngest son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk. The 1st Earl of Carlisle, Charles Howard was the great grandson of Lord William Howard, the youngest son of Thomas Howard. Created Earl of Carlisle in 1661 it was Charles’ grandson, Charles Howard the 3rd Earl of Carlisle, who is famed as the creator of Castle Howard. Although building work began in 1699, the construction of Castle Howard took over 100 years to complete, spanning the lifetimes of three Earls.  There was a fire in 1940, and it swept through the building.  A number of the artworks and books were saved by the girls of Queen Margaret’s School, Scarborough, who had been evacuated to Castle Howard due to the war and were able to salvage some of the contents.
       There was definitely lots to see here, including the rose garden.
Now it was back to our hotel and we had dinner on our own.  We found a Polish restaurant not far from our hotel called Barbakan, which was wonderful.  We had stuffed cabbage done the old fashioned way.

York, UK – Day 9

We arrived in York late in the afternoon yesterday.  It was drizzling.  with a number of people in the group coughing and some getting sick enough to skip the day’s events, and now I was starting to get stuffed and coughing.  Cathy Foss was already feeling under the weather.  I decided that I would spend the rest of the day in my room (other than going to dinner downstairs) napping.  I found a drug store in Chester and picked up some sudafed, and nasal wash, determined to hold this at bay.  Barbara and Cathy went to the York Minster to attend the evening service – Evensong.  They said they enjoyed it when I saw them at dinner. Meanwhile, I slept and felt a bit better for today’s outing.

After breakfast, we walked through the medieval city to the magnificent York Minster for an exclusive Discovery Series event with a local guide.
As we walked through York, here are a couple of the things we saw.
 Those old containers that Transamerica used for shipping – well, these may not be those but at least they are doing something with them.  Making houses, offices, etc. 
And Batman with his cycle were here.
 The old Banana factory.

When we arrived at York Minster – it was huge, and across the street was St Michael Le Bellfrey. 

 I love the gargoyles.

Our guide, Sister Mary,  provided us a the history of the cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps.

 this dragon head was used to hoist things inside the church.

At The west end of the Nave twelve headless saints holding haloes are signalling in semaphore. – Christ is here.

This clock chimes on the quarter hour – with the two figures striking the iron rods. This was a memorial to Normandy invasion and Dunkirk.
 One of the stain glass windows.

There was an astronomical clock inside the Minster.  The edge of the large convex disc represents the horizon as seen from an aircraft directly over York and flying South. A plan of the Minster and the City Walls is picked out in gold in the centre. The clock’s ‘Sun’, represented by a gold disc, rises and sets on the horizon at the actual times of sunrise and sunset throughout the year. It crosses the vertical, South pointing wire at noon. From day to day its path along the silver band representing the ecliptic varies so that it rises higher in the summer than in the winter. The dials at the bottom show, on the right, Greenwich Mean Time and on the left, the sidereal or star time. The dial on the other side of the clock shows the North Circumpolar Stars visible from the latitude of York, circling round the Pole Star.
We went back into a meeting room – my favorite part was all the carvings around the room and the ceiling.  

Just outside the actual area for the service, there was a set of statues of the kings, this is called the Kings’ screen.  
Then just before we went inside, looking up at the inside of the tower.  You can climb up there – with 275 steps on a circular staircase.  Notice I said you can. I did not. (more on this later)

The Quire was built in the late 14th century in the Perpendicular style but the wooden choir stalls for the canons are not the originals, but reproductions-restorations after the 1829 fire. At the east end of the Quire is the High Altar.

We then walked around the side and saw a number of statues. These were for the former leaders of the church.

Here is one where to make the process faster, they premake the statue and leave the area where the face goes.  So it is a generic, until they add the face.
But sometimes the carvers are a bit too fast – in this one – one hand has 5 fingers and two right feet.
Now the men used to wear hair oil back in those days and it stained the wood in the Quire, so an embroidered panel has been placed to cover it. Here are a few samples. 
We walked around and found some more handwork done – the full 12 days of Christmas as chair cushions. 
Lots of work  there.
Here are two more of the stain glass windows which are being repaired.    This one has roses – representing the War of the Roses.
I learned a lot about the medieval stained glass. A number of the panels have been updated.   The cathedral’s Great East Window—created by John Thornton of Coventry and completed in 1408—is the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world. It is 76 feet tall and comprises 1,680 square feet of glass.
And then we left the Minster –  a beautiful tower.
And then….we heard a helicopter.   HM Coast Guard Rescue copter was approaching.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance requested assistance from the UK Coastguard just after 11:00 BST to airlift the man from the building. Staff at the cathedral said the man became ill on the viewing platform of the central tower. The tower is the highest point of the building at 235 ft.

Here is the rescue personnel lowering down to the tower.

And here is the man being lifted back up in a harness.

And the rescue basket and the coast guard personnel going back up to the helicopter.
What a show.  Now remember I said it was 275 steps up – and see what happens when you do.  I rest my case for not climbing the stairs.  Oh to give you some perspective – the Tower of Pisa would fit inside this tower.
We left the Minster after all the excitement and headed back towards our hotel looking for a place to have lunch.
We found a nice little place that had some wonderful soup and fresh bread – Lucky Days – they also had some interesting desserts – which we skipped.  

In York, where centuries-old city walls enclose the best-preserved medieval town center in England. York’s history stretches back into ancient Roman times, when it was called Eboracum and served as the military capital of northern Britannia. Traces of Roman garrisons built before the fifth century are sprinkled throughout the city. By the ninth century, Vikings—from what is now Denmark—had succeeded the Romans, calling the town Jorvik and leaving one legacy you’ll still see today: the suffix “-gate”—meaning “street” in the old Viking language—in many street names.

We walked down the Shambles—originally the meat-butchering area of York. The cramped, ancient street now houses a variety of shops, and in some areas it is possible for upstairs residents to stretch out and shake hands across the street.

Apparently this place has become quite popular due to the internet.

For a cat person – York has a cat map – with cats located at various spots throughout the city.  Here were two.

And as we walked back to our hotel, we walked by this traffic circle – notice there is nothing raised in the middle – 
It has been quite a day and we needed some down time.  With the people who are coughing, etc., we need to take some time to rest.   Tomorrow is another day.




Chester – Day 8

After breakfast, we boarded our coach for York via Chester. Upon your arrival in Chester, enjoy a short walking tour of this ancient English town with Roman roots and a well-preserved medieval center.

Around AD 60, the Romans expanded their empire in Britain to the banks of the Dee River, where Chester is located. The city today still displays the Roman layout, extending from the Cross, where a Roman fortress stood, to four city gates. In the Middle Ages, commerce on the Dee River, particularly with Ireland, enriched the town in the twelfth and 13th centuries. The prosperity of those times is still evident in one of Chester’s unique features: “the Rows,” a series of two-tiered shops along the ancient streets of the historic town center. Chester also holds a significant place in English cultural history as the town where, beginning in the 14th century, mystery plays (public theater depicting biblical events) were presented.

We walked through the city wall and found the remains of a Roman garden and amphitheatre. 

We then walked on top of the walls for a ways. Here is the off the wall – nice name for a place right outside the wall.

and I am finally finding the tudor style.

Here is the Eastgate Clock Tower, which is reported to be the most photographed clock tower after Big Ben.  The original gate was guarded by a timber tower which was replaced by a stone tower in the 2nd century, and this in turn was replaced probably in the 14th century. The present gateway dates from 1768 and is a three-arched sandstone structure which carries the walkway forming part of Chester city walls. In 1899 a clock was added to the top of the gateway to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria two years earlier. 

We walked by the Chester Cathedral.   and this statue was in front of the cathedral.

and we walked through a shopping center – and well some things were calling to me, but I was satisfied by just taking a photo.  My stomach was not happy with me – it wanted some.

This lion is on top of a large concrete tower. I found this regarding its history. – The most interesting detail of this otherwise unlovely car park of 1971 is the figure of a lion at its highest point. This site was originally occupied by the 19th-century Lion Brewery, and following its demolition a home was sought for its lion sculpture.
As we boarded our coach – we saw this group of young Roman soldiers marching down the street towards the Amphitheatre.  

We then continued on to York.

Ironbridge and Caernarfon – Day 6

We left our hotel and headed off to Wales. Some sights along the way.

Our first stop is Ironbridge.  This is where the industrial revolution began.  The method used to smelt iron was revised to use coke making it cheaper.
It is a village on the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England.  Ironbridge developed beside, and takes its name from the famous Iron Bridge, a 100 ft cast iron bridge that was built across the river in 1779.
Of course, I am on this trip so the bridge is covered with scaffolding and the road was closed – starting today.

 The toll house for the bridge.

 A lot of people got a pork pie to take on the coach.

A fitting car for here.

 A road map.
Now it was back on the coach to go to Llangollen.

 We stopped in this store to find out about the Love Spoons.


The sign above the store – is the name of the store in Welsh.
And finally to Caernarfon – and our next hotel.
We dropped our bags and went on a short walking tour of the city.  We had plans for dinner so it had to be short.
 An example of a sign – Welsh is a difficult language.
We walked down to the castle – 

Here is the square –

And we made reservations for tomorrow night at this restaurant.

But for tonight we have a host dinner with a family from this town.  We met a simply delightful couple – Angela and Mike Beverley.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and Angela’s homemade wine.  We were surprised when we saw that they had pictures of American Presidents hanging in their house.  Some good discussion regarding both of our countries.  A lovely evening that made our trip.

Bath and Stonehenge – Day 5

I am still running a day behind, but still trying to catch up.
This day we got up early and headed to Bath. Bath is a town in southeast England found among rolling hills.
First building was a Quaker Meeting Hall.

The Bath Abbey which is known for its stain glass windows and tower.

Notice the angels climbing their way to heaven

Again the colorful flower hangers.

It is known for its Georgian architecture and mineral hot springs which the Romans made into their baths.  In the past when I have visited Roman Baths, they were just ruins, which is not the case here.  They have excavated to uncover several rooms that were used as part of the bath buildings and the hot spring is still active and flowing.
As you enter the museum, you are greeted with a grand ceiling.
 you then cross over to walk around the outside pool surrounded with Roman statues.

And another view of the Abbey.
And with the statues were also the faces for the downspouts.
 And Bear had to make an appearance – he never misses a warm bath.
Then we went inside again to see alot of rooms and what they had uncovered here.   These were two of the tombstones they found.  The one on the left was a cavalry man – you can see the legs of the horse.
The arch above the temple -The pediment carries the image of a fearsome head carved in Bath stone and it is thought to be the Gorgon’s Head which was a powerful symbol of the goddess Sulis Minerva. 
This is a piece of the column that supported the temple.

And inside the actual hot springs flowing through what they called the pump room to fall into the channel which took it to the different rooms.

We then walked outside to see the pool again but from the lower level.

Entering into the East Bathing Rooms, there is one where the floor would have been raised to let the hot air pass underneath to heat it, If they wanted steam they would pour water onto the floor.  In this image, you can see the stacks of tiles that were used to support the raised floor.

There were lots of other rooms and more ruins on this site.  We viewed a number of the rooms and then we exited to get a bite to eat on the coach while we traveled to our next stop.  In doing so, we saw this man playing in the square. We didn’t have time to sit and listen – too bad, he was very good.
 A couple more images from the Abbey.
And then we walked by Sally Lunn Buns – it is the oldest house in Bath – going back to 1482.  a restaurant that has been in the bun making business since 1680.  Look at the size of that Bun!
We then walked to get our sandwiches and spotted this.
Now it was time to leave for our next stop – Stonehenge.
You must use their bus to get up to the site.  Once there, you can walk around listening to their audio explanations about the site.
 Barbara and Cathy trying to stay dry and warm – as the site is on a hill and the wind was whipping around us and lots of rain off and on.  Marta Morris hiding in her rain gear. Here are the ladies from the Valencia Lakes Women’s club wearing our Walk for the Cure tshirts.     
Dinner on our way back to the hotel was in a typical pub.