Friday, 29 April 2011

York - Empty streets... almost !

It seems unusual to return to a place like this where I have just recently been to and it is quite difficult trying to highlight the city without repeating images. Some may seem familiar ( 1, 2  & 5 ) as they were in the "York at night" set.
The group I met at Scarborough, organised another event here to visit the recently re-opened and re-furbished Yorkshire museum (5th March). As I said in the "York arrival" post, I usually travel to York by train as it is only 1 hour away, the advance ticket is cheaper than fuel for the car and the unbelievable car parking prices.

(This is the first of either 2 or possibly 3 posts that mirror the December/January series of ... arrival, main course and dessert (night shots!) I am away for a long weekend, so I am posting this one early and I will catch up with your blogs & post number 2 in the middle of next week.)

One of the advantages about travelling down on the 07:00 Newcastle - London Kings Cross is that I have the city to myself for an hour before the shops open although many in the tourist part seem to open slightly later than that.

It was unfortunate though that the sun did not show it's face as it did in the earlier "York - arrival, sunrise.... " post

The above image and the following two are taken in the famous Shambles street. Even at night I have not seen them this empty before.

The Shrine of St Margaret Clitherow is a building half way down The Shambles and was thought to be the home of Mrs Clitherow who essentially became a martyr for hosting Roman Catholic masses in her own home during the late 16th century. Many of the houses in this street have unusual architecture and the sloping beam grabbed my attention.

another street ... "Stonegate"
I'm beginning to wonder now whether I'm the only person in York as I continue my walk around the city to famous landmarks...

Archway leading to Treasurers house

Unfortunately, there were some repairs being made to the path and the classic view of this building will have to wait for another visit as you may notice some red cones in the distance of the previous image. some window architecture will have to do for now !

While I was in the mood for this kind of thing, York Minster was just around the corner and I thought to sample a bit more.

Ah Constantine, but he's just wondering what I'm doing here at this early hour, although that's nothing new as he thought that the last time I was here too !!

Took a photo of this lane from the steps in the background looking the other way in a previous York post.
Art Gallery portico ceiling

I wonder if anyone is up on the walls yet ?

It looks promising...

... maybe not !!

It looks like there are signs of life in the theatre as possibly the Box Office Lady has arrived and the early morning bread has found it's way into Betty's window ...

Local Delicacy .. The Fat Rascal

A sight that you did not expect to see.... Betty's back yard

At last I see signs of life as stall holders are setting up their market and a security dog sniffs out an intruder with a camera that shouldn't be here yet !!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Durham (4) a riverside walk to.... the Garden centre !!

There are several reasons for doing this post from Durham, least of all because it was the next thing in the diary ... 26th February. Over the last few posts, I have noticed that the focus quality on transfer to blogger has suffered on compression to the size I transfer too. I have removed the "/s320 or /s400 " as directed by the help pages. Any comments and help appreciated here.

The second reason for this post was the inspiration that brian walking has been to me in providing me with the incentive of a route map. Brian seems to like walking in the same areas that i am familiar with and like me, loves to armchair walk at home at times. This post is dedicated to him as it has been a hard six months to get to this stage... It's not ideal but it's a start.....

The route starts at a car park on the top edge of the map, circles the outside river bend around the Cathedral and continues down the right hand side of the river to a garden centre at Shincliffe. For information, the city centre is also in the top left hand corner.

Finally the last reason for posting this walk even though the weather was not very good, was to show that I had not deserted the local walking group that I help to organise  (Previous blog walks ... post 2 - Craster,  4 - Leyburn Shawl, 14 - Etal to Ford and smaller groups to ... 29 Seahouses to Bamburgh & 43 Waterfalls walk). There have been several operational problems recently to do with my availability, the structure and facilities on the walk. I'll say no more on that one except that the original idea was to start from the Garden centre and walk into Durham. How shocked was I to discover that the walk had been reversed and the objective of the walk was to reach a Garden centre !!

Hopefully, there will be enough interest to capture your imagination by images along the route although I wasn't overjoyed with the material available today.

Riverside apartment for sale

River restaurant with a view

Alternative cathedral view
The first section of the walk I covered on Durham (2) Winter riverside walk and don't wish to repeat these images here so I opted for alternative angles..

Arrive by bike.....

... for boat practice

The 11th century chapel of St Andrew on Elvet bridge now a trendy Italian bistro called Melanzana.

It was time to leave the city and all the tourism features that involved and pretend that we were out on a serious walk !

A view from the bridge....walk down the left and back up the right

Lemon Drizzle trophy at the other end

On the return journey, we passed a pagoda next to Durham City cricket club. The weather seemed to get darker as I opted for black and white and the grim reaper was evident on the roof...

Cricket seems like it has always been played here next to the river as the club was formed in 1829 and was one of the first to join the local league many years later in 1903. In more recent years, Durham County cricket club was given senior status to play with the big teams and have done rather well. The people of North East England are historically passionate about their chosen sport and cricket is no different here.

On crossing the bridge, we entered urban life again and found a man.... fishing for his lunch. Is the cost of food this expensive in Durham City? !!

A couple of skyline shots to finish with of the 11th century Cathedral and Castle keep, the latter being rebuilt in the 1840's for University student use.

After a quick trip across the city centre we reached the "restaurant with a view" but there was no customary tea shop at the end of the walk so I remembered my earlier visit into the Garden centre wearing my full mountain equipment... the embarrassment of it !! It's just as well it was a large cup.... because it had to last a lot longer than I thought it would !!

I had to use the model to demonstrate it's size !!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Yorkshire Dales walking and a retreat.

Upper Wharfedale.
A few of my walking followers are wondering by now when I am going to be putting on the walking boots and this is the moment when I am about to answer this question. My "Scarborough sandcastle manager" suggested a weekend away to a retreat in the heart of The Yorkshire Dales involving some walking.
This is essentially a three in one post as I struggled to justify posting the first part on it's own due to the British weather !!

We set off from The Aysgarth Falls car park on what we hoped would be a scenic 6 miles circular walk to the south. Unfortunately the walk ended up being more of a photographic study of various trees....

.... and an inviting door to see an Art display in the small village of West Burton.

The village of West Burton was one of the locations used by the artist JMW Turner. Given the circumstances, he would love to paint some of today's ethereal scenery !

On leaving West Burton, we climbed up the hill in an easterly direction and stopped to .... enjoy the view of the village ( err ... passing mist) while we had lunch. We took the long lane ( no, it's not quite a river) north towards Temple and the Wensleydale road.

Despite a lot of the walk majoring on farmland and Yorkshire countryside buildings....

... the main focus was near the end of the walk being Aysgarth Falls. Visitors have been coming here for centuries, although maybe John Ruskin,  JMW Turner and William Wordsworth didn't quite see it like this.

 There wasn't the enthusiasm for my artist / walking companion to paint it either (apologies to him... he knows I'm only having a bit of fun with him !) as he headed off to the car and the warmth of our weekend accommodation at Scargill House near the village of Kettlewell.

Although most of the house dates back to the 18th century, some of the more modern elements such as the 1960's chapel have been a bit more controversial in it's day with the local conservationists...

Grade II listed Scandinavian chapel

The site has an unusual history as it was once purchased as a shooting lodge for Grouse on the moors but  was sold by a family descendent at an auction to the church of England in 1957.

The building developed into a mixture of catering and accommodating for various groups and a conference centre for issues of Christian faith, youth and the environment.

Due to financial difficulties, the centre closed in 2008 but was sold to a new buyer the following year who wanted to continue the original vision incorporating it into the local Kettlewell community. Now what a place this would be to live .... an office with a view......

Checking my blog hits and comments !!
Garden wildlife.

On Saturday, we went for a walk south along The Dales way. We were joined by a youth choir from Leeds who insisted on singing certain mountain songs relating to the musical, The sound of music !!

The Dales way is an 84 mile long distance footpath stretching from Ilkley in West Yorkshire to Bowness in The Lake District. Generally the walking is pleasant and an introduction to the serious Long distance walking paths of The Pennine Way, Coast to coast and West Highland way.

 It was at this point ( 3 miles south of Kettlewell) that we decided to leave the choir and complete a circular walk via the nearby hill top to the east. Interestingly enough, my Grassington walk last year covered the southern half of this section.

Others were in agreement with this choice of route !... "Hey, did I meet you last year ? !"

Relaxation at the un-named summit

Time to move on... the sun was starting to go down and we were wanting to have something left to eat for evening meal !!

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