Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Durham (1)

The City of Durham is the main town of the County Durham, the historic part of which stands on a hill within a bend on the River Wear.

This is the first of three posts I made over two visits on the 13th November and 4th December. This one is essentially a photographic post and J_on_tour observations .... that is meant to tantalise you into checking out the second post which will be a winter and historical one. The third post will be a surprise !
I make no apologies that it is possible that this city may be the most photographed on this blog in the future as it is my number 1 destination and within 30 minutes drive from my house.

Like most historical and tourist cities, The City of Durham has always had a problem with the parking of cars. The local council has addressed this with a series of "park and ride" car parks where minibuses take people right into the city centre. The car park I always use is at the roundabout of the A1 road to the east of the city.... the car park is free and the fare has been a £1.70 all day ticket for as long as I can remember. I am generally not a fan of Park and ride facilities where the safety of the car is an issue in some urban places and the traffic into the centre (e.g. Oxford) is another problem. However with bus lanes, it works really well here.

Although the 11th century Norman Cathedral is the main attraction, visitors find themselves in the market place first where the focus is St Nicholas' church built and opened in 1858.

The vicar at the time committed a crime in that he had the 12th century church knocked down in order to build something more grand and with a steeple rather than what he thought was a plain tower. He wouldn't even be allowed in the council building today with an idea like that far less planning permission

The vicar of St Nicholas may have had to hide behind his own door

In more recent times (the last year), another controversy has taken place with the removal, restoration and repositioning of Lord Londonderry (or The man on a horse) with the council thinking it will create a larger space for events despite a 4000 strong Facebook group opposing the move.

Not running away again
It seems that the council seem to be good at allowing unpopular ideas throughout history in Durham.

The historic indoor market also built in the 1850s is nothing spectacular on the inside but has some grand entrances and archways leading from the square. The building provides local shoppers with food and household items to supplement the other high street shops that Durham has to offer.

One thing that visitors to Durham notice is the amount of student buskers who play in the street...

Mature students !!
...  I'm not quite sure if this was an advert outside the shop for what was being sold on the inside !!

It was time to leave the shops at the bottom of the hill and take the famous riverside walk where the first photo is taken from. The following few photographs are taken from under and around the bridge where the walk starts...... I will take you on this walk in the next post with winter conditions

...and you thought this was England !

Durham is a University town with the castle being the focus of that, but that brings associated problems with drunken and disorderly behaviour in certain areas of the non historic part of town. One particular street near the bus station seems to give the Police more concern than others.

Castle and Cam

At the top of this street is the huge viaduct which carries the railway from London to Edinburgh. All passengers who are unfamiliar with the journey are in awe of the view as they cross this point as the train slows into Durham station.

Retracing my steps back over the river and up the hill to the Cathedral, just in time to see the sun go down....

One of Durham Cathedrals most famous relics is the sanctuary knocker on the outside door although I'm not sure who would want to buy one as it may chase the postman away or at the very least.. give his dog a fright !!


  1. If I will come to visit your country, for sure I will have to print all your blog's pages! take you with me somehow...ha ha
    All your stories here, also the photography you post gives the full sense and meanings of the word 'journey' .
    But as Mr Boye said 'The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway'...
    And , as you see, we are here on your blog , from a lot of countries meeting each other, having fun toghether ,waiting for your new trip!

    Anyway... we take almost the same photo under the bridge (from diferent bridges of course...ha ha)-you can see mine here:
    Better yours!

    Take care my friend and I wish you all my best!
    Regards from Romania!

  2. I enjoyed the walk as always--especially those shots of the bridge.

  3. The bridge arch is a magical shot. I really must get to Durham........I drive past it often enough. Looks to be on a par with York or Chester if not better. I look forward to the next posts.

  4. Beautiful walk.Looking forward to more photos. Next time I'm in England I won't miss Durham for sure!

  5. I think I want to go here now! Such a wonderful city full of history and beautiful architecture!
    Love the pictures of the bridge!
    Happy Holidays!

  6. always succeeded and beautiful your photos, this is a feast for the eyes and I like this harmony with these texts, it's a pleasure to read ! :))

    Bye J !!

  7. Oh my goodness, what beautiful photos! We've come so close, three times, to driving up to Durham from Richmond - but didn't. Now I see that it's only 33 miles! Next time, for sure. I guess the problem is that there's just so much to see there and we've always had to make choices. We do tend to go back to the places we've loved, rather than missing them in order to see someplace new.

    I especially love your bridge shots. So gorgeous!

  8. Some truly magical shots on this walk..

  9. Your photographs tell so much about the places you are visiting. I love the arch shot.

  10. Love the photos of the bridge! I'm enjoying the tour so far and I'm looking forward to the next installment.

  11. Very interesting post and beautiful pictures.Greetings Andrzej.

  12. I enjoyed your walk through Durham too. You have some wonderful shots. I truly love your bridge and door shots.

    LOL...I know how you feel about the birds. But, eventually someone will tell me what they are.

    I hope you have a great day on tour today!

  13. Great post! Keep them coming.

  14. Travelling Hawk... Thanks, Somehow I thought you would be first to comment and it is very fitting tat you did. I have several followers in mind when I have material ready to post.... you were on my list for this one. Hope you had a great time when you were staying here. The place has a great feel about it.

    Wind... Thanks, My spirit may live with you in your photocopied pages .... how awesome is that ?!! Hope there is no wind to blow it from your hand... keep a firm grip !! I checked your photo out, yours is worthy of a prize. I'm pleased you find my blog fun ... it could have been ....."This is Durham, this is the Cathedral, this is the castle, thank you visiting my dreary blogpage" !! ha ha

    JoLynne Lyon... Thanks, I'm pleased to be able to share this with you. I never realised until afterwards how many shots of the same bridge made it to the final edit.

    Adrian... Thanks, Durham is worth a look definitely. There are a few parts I know have some potential and need to re-explore them.
    Like the cities you mentioned, all of them are busy but most of the people congregate around the shops in Durham which is in a separate part from other sights. York and Chester are just busy.... I have waited 10 minutes on numerous occasions for just one shot in York.

    Joo... Thanks, If anyone came to stay with me for three days that was not familiar with the area, Durham would be on my list to show them.

    Debbie Smith... Thanks, I can't get over how old these buildings are. My first school trip when I was 9 years old ( ah bless !! ) was to the Cathedral, it made a lasting impression on me of such fine buildings. Unfortunately, a lot of people in the UK take these places for granted.

    Mahon... Thanks, Pleased you enjoyed it. I try to feed every part of the reader.... visual,text,humour... sometimes the mix is not always there but it is sometimes difficult to look for something a bit different to photograph on that particular day.... therein lies my challenge.

    Cranberry Morning... Thanks, I'm pleased to bring this to your attention and even though you can't visit everywhere I've been, I would hope that it will give you ideas or more importantly to put a visual record in your head. Durham is a little more compact and has a lot less things to see than places like York, but it is the atmosphere that gets you.

    Trevor Woodford... Thanks, a bit different to the following post, but by now you'll know that anyway. All it takes is to have a third eye available all the time. I was meant to be buying Christmas presents today... didn't happen.... multi tasking and all that..... !!! ha ha

    Vicki Lane... Thanks, I'm glad you lie them.

    Farmchick... Thanks, I tried to put the character of the city into this photographic based post as seen through my eyes.

    Sweet Virginia Breeze... Thanks, I thought I would split it into 3 posts as there was enough material on a few subjects to make it last.

    pietrzyk... Thanks, pleased you are enjoying the photographs.

    The Painted Veil... Thanks, the door shots probably just developed from framing landscapes or views around them.

    JM... Thanks, Nice to see you here. I see your page from time to time on subscribed posts.

  15. I love the image with the sunset. Every photograph is well composed. This is the reason why I keep coming back here. I learned a lot of techniques just by looking at your photos.

  16. Rizalenio... Thanks, I am humbled by your comment. I try not to take myself too seriously.. but obviously I did on this occasion with what I chose for the final edit. Looking back at the post, it seems I put a bit more silhouette and bridge work in than what I thought.


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