Thursday, 29 December 2011

A Fountains Abbey to Ripon walk

Fountains Abbey GJC_DSC_0774

I want to start by wishing you all a Happy New Year and to say that in the same way that I have commenced it with a different personal concept and part biographical with specific friends both near and far, so life has took a new direction as I come to terms in dealing with ill health in my family.

The journey that I am about to take you on may seem like a walk in the country or a wander around a town but it means a bit more to me than that as I seek direction onwards. I'm usually very modest about some of my photographic work, for example this particular post, but some of these trips were worthy of staying on for a few more days to depict some visual delights that you will not disappointed with.

Door and window GJC_DSC_0763

I have inspiration for this concept and post from Farmchick @ its a small town life who uses humorous alias names to protect identities and cranberry morning ( @ fountains abbey ) whose inspiration keeps me going in many more ways than just one. It puts me to shame that someone has to travel half way around the world to see extensive portions of Yorkshire and yet there is so much that is only 90 minutes away from my doorstep that I have just driven past to places further afield.... speaking of which this was a walk around the exterior perimeter fence !! ... and it's been about 15 years since I paid to go in.

Sand Sculpture GJC_IMG_9608 (1)
My "Scarborough Sandcastle manager" (september 2010)

As an introduction and part biographical post... Following the ending of my 5-6 years with "The Bristol connection", I met up with a lost friend due to house moves and my constant travels to the south west of England. You can imagine his surprise when I spoke to him on the telephone after I received a circular e-mail from "The Leeds link"saying that he was organising a walk in Richmond, North Yorkshire. My rendezvous in London with The Bristol connection didn't happen and so began a story within a blog joining a Yorkshire walking group on outings to Grassington and later Masham. Around this time, the "Seaside Star" organised a fun trip to Scarborough as a social day out with an overlapping group that included non walkers and I later met up with in her home town of Sheffield for a day. The "Scarborough sandcastle manager" inspired me to join him in many more things such as Yorkshire dales walking and a Borrowdale weekend that included four posts during last May and early June.
(all place names in blue are links to the relevant previous posts)

Mud GJC_DSC_0782
Hill House Farm. "Right of way" rather than ... err ... a footpath !
The Scarborough sandcastle manager is a very busy person and organises walking events and town tours for voluntary and fee paying groups. On this particular day he was wanting my advice on the suitability of his planned route for the fee paying "Amblers" !  It was at this point in the walk above that I gave him .... my opinions !! .... something for the (Grassington) "Ramblers".

It was with interest and half a smile that I noticed that this walk was put on this years programme during March. It looks like that I might have some pressure applied to me to attend !!
Estate house GJC_DSC_0765

Following a riotous dispute in St Mary's Abbey in York, thirteen Benedictine monks founded the Abbey in a sheltered and more peaceful valley in 1132. Due to its business in the wool trade, Fountains Abbey became an affluent location home for the monks for a mix of wealthy times followed by economic hardship in the 400 year period leading up to the destructive Henry VIII in 1539.  When the visiting Victorians tourists in the mid nineteenth century arrived, they were governed by strict rules so as not to damage the site. In more recent times the National Trust acquired the site from Yorkshire County Council in 1983 and were the organisation to best preserve it.

Hall GJC_DSC_0767

Fountains Hall was built over a period of six years at the start of the 17th century partly with the stones from the ruined Abbey and was occupied by successive family descendants for about 150 years. The new owners that purchased didn't need it as they lived on the nearby Studley Royal Estate so it was rented out to various tenants until renovation about 1930. King George VI stayed here a few times and it was a haven for World War II evacuees before falling into a state of disrepair. As with the other buildings on the estate, Yorkshire County Council had to pick up the pieces before the National Trust as I said in the previous paragraph commenced preservation in 1983.

Cathedral in view GJC_DSC_0793

Anyhow, I don't want to bore you with any more history as I was thinking about lunch and Ripon Cathedral seems like .... lunch in Ripon won't be happening for some time !!

Monument GJC_DSC_0797

Sorry, I can't wait and I have to fast forward to lunchtime in Ripon square where the "Scarborough Sandcastle manager" inspired me in the local Tudor butchers shop (below) with two things I hadn't eaten before, a special herbed pork pie and Yorkshire curd tart.

Telephone boxes GJC_DSC_0805

Red GJC_DSC_0801

Just to let you know that I must come back here again on my own to re sample it, visit Ripon Cathedral and tell you a bit more about the place in a separate post ... sometime !!  ... as there is quite a bit of history about the town ...

Bedford GJC_DSC_0808

Varnish and Enamel works GJC_DSC_0809

We rejoined the footpath at T and R Williamson Varnish and enamel works built in 1775 ...

Under the Arch GJC_DSC_0810

... and made a start on the return journey following the river for a short distance through the town.

Studley Roger GJC_DSC_0816

After a mix of river, road and hedgerows, it finally felt that we were back out in the country again at Studley Roger.

Postbox GJC_DSC_0813

.. where I would like to tell you about my feet !!
My fellow companion checked his map in order that we didn't miss the scenic route back.
We paused at a gate ...

Gates GJC_DSC_0818

River Skell GJC_DSC_0824

... before joining the popular walking route back on the unpaid section of the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Estate.

Seven Bridges walk GJC_DSC_0820

"The Valley of the Seven Bridges" was the short return route that my friend decided to take the "Amblers" on in the end from the Fountains Abbey car park.

Lake GJC_DSC_0835

Finally we reached the lake on the estate signifying that the walk was nearly over ...

Trees GJC_DSC_0837
Maybe I could just rest my feet in here for a minute or two !!

St Mary's church GJC_DSC_0839

As the long and weary day ( !! ) was coming to an end , it was time to reflect on some thoughts ...

Studley Royal Deer GJC_DSC_0822

... apart from a walk filled with ... Curd tart and tired feet !, it was a walk with many peaceful animal scenes ...

Studley Park GJC_DSC_0834

Beware GJC_DSC_0779
... some not so peaceful !!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Corn Exchange Leeds, Yorkshire ... and a bit more !!

The Corn Exchange in Leeds was designed by a Yorkshire Architect called Cuthbert Brodick. After the success of his competition winning first project of Leeds Town Hall, this was his second building to be completed about 1863. He also designed The Grand Hotel at Scarborough which was completed a few years later.

From the Middle ages to the Victorian era, the City of Leeds developed as leaders in the Wool, weaving and cloth making industries. The successes of these industries brought an affluence to the City that was demonstrated in buildings like this one.

The Dome roof was specifically designed in order for the traders to be able to inspect the grain for its quality.
Unfortunately most businesses have a lifespan and the building eventually began to fall into a state of disrepair. Early proposals of a conversion into a concert hall fell on "deaf ears" and a shopping centre proposal became the favoured idea in 1985 keeping the use of the building with a similar theme.

The speciality shopping centre re-opened to the public five years later to what could be termed as alternative independent traders. Whether this was to do with the fact that the building was situated next to the market and on the edge of the cities shops, who knows ! It took another 17 years before the current owners decided to add a central food area and updated refurbishment in 2007. Another injection of new life.

I leave behind my solo trips to the hills and whatever day trip takes my fancy with the camera as I commence a new series of my real journey of life on the road. What is peculiar however is the fact that this seasonal post, which wouldn't be appropriate in for example March or April, is the very latest in a set that I will retrospectively be displaying.
Photographically, I was restricted by my accomplice who didn't appreciate fully what I was about ... and Leeds is a city for shopping !!! (Apologies to those expecting better images but I will have to return here at some point to repeat the Town Hall and German Christmas market.) This particular day marked a conclusion to a thought that had been haunting me since if not May 2011, then July ... and a step forward with a new beginning as I considered the conclusion during the 90 minutes train journey home. The 26th November was for me personally the worst and yet best day of the year.

Time to move on !!

The Victorian quarter has a number of Arcades that were opened between 1877 and the turn of the century. It carried on the affluent trading tradition of the city in wool and cloth right up to the present day designer shops.

Vivienne Westwood and Mimco boutiques
I managed to sneak outside a shop for five minutes and grab the above two simple images.

After lunch and a wander around the Art Gallery, it was time to take in some sights of the German Christmas market. Unfortunately it was very busy and I was always playing catch up to my accomplice who wouldn't wait and was slightly unfairly critical of the displays.

"Can I not even have time to change the ISO setting ?! " 

Wisdom learnt today from more than just the symbol of Leeds !!

Lastly I finish my post with a seasonal image that puts into perspective a few things about my 2011 journey. In an inversely proportional manner, as this post marks the end of a specific set that I will retrospectively be telling you about soon, so the final image from Sheffield Cathedral was one of the first taken in the year.

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a great New Year.

A much more important person taking a step on a journey.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Lincoln Christmas Market, SRPS/ North East railtours

Lincoln Christmas Market GJC_006163

Many UK towns and cities have a twinned friendship with a European town, one of these friendships is between the City of Lincoln and Neustadt in Germany.

Wine tent  GJC_006166

One Christmas in 1982 a few stall holders from the German town decided that they were going to introduce their wares to the people of Lincolnshire. The original market had 11 traditional style German stalls and introduced a new culture to the UK.

Having been on the mailing list of North East Railtours for some time, this trip was always difficult to access as it runs on a friday. The charter company use the SRPS coaches and volunteers from Bo'ness in Scotland to serve meals on board and this particular trip has an end of year Christmas party atmosphere ! Cereal, Bacon Roll, Mince Pie and Mulled Wine on the outward journey with Christmas Dinner on the way back. I first took the plunge back in 2004 to book an Annual leave day from work to sample the experience and have done so six times since that first adventure. For me it's about the whole experience of the train, the food, the market, Christmas and a heavy dose of nostalgia !!
55022 Royal Scots Grey Lincoln  GJC_006126
Class 55 Deltic "Royal Scots Grey"
A railtour running on a friday doesn't seem like it's going to be a great success, but with the added interest of some heritage Diesel traction (London Kings Cross - Edinburgh - Aberdeen route 1961 -1981) is a guaranteed success with the diesel fans particularly as it uses most of its former stamping ground. The nostalgia element for me was when I was a young boy I used to watch these powerful machines standing thundering away in Newcastle central station. There were 22 of them named after regiments and racehorses and sat in the time zone in between the Mallard and the Inter City 125.

Steep Hill Lincoln  GJC_006230
"Steep Hill" Lincoln
The City of Lincoln has always attracted visitors from an early age due to it's original location high on a solitary hill amongst the flat county of Lincolnshire.


There was a Roman garrison at the top and as the city expanded, the need for an inland harbour that utilised local waterways became essential.

Cathedral East End   GJC_006151
Lincoln Cathedral East End
The Normans arrived and brought the gift of the Cathedral which was completed in the 13th century.

Arches  GJC_006148
Modern visitors ... shoppers and shadows !
I was last here for a concert in 2010 and it was unusual to see the City so quiet. The 2010 Christmas market was even quieter as it was cancelled due to snow and bad weather. Here are some images from my June 2010 blogpost when I was a young blogger with about 3 followers !! ... post number 10.

Christmas Market  GJC_006196
A quiet moment in the market on a friday
The market has grown to nearly 300 stalls that commence next to the Cathedral in the first image and continue into the Castle grounds (above) and then into an adjacent park and nearby streets. In some ways as one commentator says that it has become a victim of it's own success that the organisers do not seem to recognise as a lot of saturday visitors dislike the experience of pushing through crowds as trip advisor demonstrates. It is unfortunate that it becomes newsworthy for these reasons... 16042776

and something a little irreverent .....

Castle wall  GJC_006170
Peace and solitude
One of the best moments of my earlier 2010 visit was saturday lunch time when I sat having lunch in the sun near the tower for a while. I managed to peek over the market perimeter fence and dream that was me for 30 minutes ... it must have been a Castle worker.

Anyway, enough of waxing lyrical and dwelling in the past ... for the moment ( ! ), it was time to take in some sights ...

Souvenir Hunter  GJC_006171
Souvenir hunter
Bubble   GJC_006176
Bubbleologist !!
German Wine   GJC_006186
Hans handy with his hands !

Jigsaw   GJC_006195
Somebody else handy with their hands ... and their wallets !

A Sale GJC_006200
Exchanging Plastic for wood !

Ostrich  GJC_006203
The ultimate burger ?!

Santa GJC_006211
One of the burger stalls neighbours for the weekend !

Out for a spin   GJC_006224
With all of this, I was left in a spin ...
Fancy Dress   GJC_006242
... as I didn't know who was a local, a visitor or an official anymore !!
As I made my way back to the railway station, one thing was certain that there was more effort made...

Christmas Treats  GJC_006246
... in the local bakery shop ...

Climbing the walls  GJC_006245
... than what there was on the wall outside ... need to spread the love around !

All to soon, it was over for another year wondering if I'll repeat the experience again next year all in the name of nostalgia !! I didn't plan on taking the last image but the engine was standing there for some time and I was left wondering if this engine would ever work this charter to Lincoln again...

55022 Royal Scots Grey    GJC_006248
Deltic 22 ...or ...ISO 1600 !!
And just to re-live my childhood one more time, it's arrival and then later departure as I stood next to this film maker ... the most powerful Diesel in it's day ....

Even though it raced up the East Coast mainline back home to Newcastle and beyond, it was a named after a regiment and not a racehorse ....

Out for a ride   GJC_006220
Nostalgic racehorse
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