I met friend David in Skipton, Yorkshire (lovely place by the way) and we then went on to Settle, a very nice village in the Dales.
The following morning we boarded the train and what glorious scenery awaited us! It did rain a bit, but if anything it added to the atmosphere as the train headed north west to Carlisle.
There were plenty of walkers getting on and off, and tourists from Japan spent the whole journey clicking away on their cameras.
We had a couple of hours to grab lunch and see a bit of Carlisle and decided to head for the Cathedral. It certainly didn’t disappoint, and although not the biggest it had lots of charm. Definitely worth a visit.
Time did not allow us to visit the Museum, but we had been before and can thoroughly recommend it, and the castle itself is next on the list!
The area has connections to my border reiver ancestors and I feel the pull every time I go there! On this subject there are a few DNA breakthroughs on the Irwin Clan DNA study. I have to read the layman’s summary as it is quite mind boggling!
On returning to the train station we were immensely lucky to hear the amazing sound of a steam train passing through. What an experience as it came into view, and then puffed and wheezed onwards to Scotland.
Back to Settle we visited a pub or two, and had probably one of the best Indian meals we have ever had. The chef was from Bradford apparently, and we’ll have to go there for research purposes in the future
I also have a big interest in archaeology and my society recently arranged a visit to Bamburgh Castle. This historic fortress dominates the land and sea on the Northumberland coast and was restored by Lord Armstrong in the late 1800s. He spent a fortune on it, and it one of the most amazing places to visit with many superb artefacts on display.
One of these is an innocuous small table that was made using wood from Hadrian’s bridge rescued from the river Tyne at Newcastle. This makes the wood over 2000 years old!
The visit meant we got a personal tour by the main archaeologist, who explained the history to the digs and also were allowed to see some of the most spectacular finds.
Several Saxon knives have been found and are awaiting full restoration. This is a small knife, roughly 1000 years old.
Much larger knives are called seaxs and are effectively a small stabbing sword and general tool. These are found in many burials and were extremely common in Saxon life.
The work at Bamburgh has being going on since 1996 and covers many areas of history, including prehistoric, Roman, Saxon and Medieval.
The amount of finds is truly staggering and they estimate that they still have 20 or 30 years to go!
Quite a bit of gold has been found, which is safely stashed away.
Whilst we were there several finds came in. Here is a photo of a key fresh from the ground and untouched by hand for something like 700 years.
We have just got back from our annual holiday in Saundersfoot in Wales. Once again we were incredibly lucky with the weather, having no rain and lots of sun all week
It is a truly lovely place if you want a beach holiday and it is also on the coastal walking path, with lots of restaurants and pubs. My father in law decided to try “The Skippy” at the Aussie restaurant. Apparently it is like braising steak.
We swam in the sea every day Being warmed by the gulf stream makes it reasonably warm. Daughter Charlotte finds it very amusing when she makes me fall over and her accuracy with the ball is getting better all the time as it whizzes past my head.
I also got to see the Mappa Mundi at Hereford Cathedral, which is a map of the world made in circa 1300. Then a walk in Cardiff Bay was really good and the new Dr Who Exhibition & Experience Centre is due to open there soon.
The final very poignant trip was to Aberfan. Some of you will remember that in 1966, Pantglas Junior School was destroyed by the catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip directly above the school.
I read in Wikipedia that the pupils had just left the assembly hall, where they had been singing “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, when the landslide hit.
The death toll was 144, including 5 teachers and 116 children aged between 7 & 10. The victims were interred at the Bryntaf Cemetery in Aberfan in a joint funeral and now with so many years passing, many of the parents of these poor children are also being buried beside them.
Gaynor Minett, then an eight-year-old at the school, later recalled:
“It was a tremendous rumbling sound and all the school went dead. You could hear a pin drop. Everyone just froze in their seats. I just managed to get up and I reached the end of my desk when the sound got louder and nearer, until I could see the black out of the window. I can’t remember any more but I woke up to find that a horrible nightmare had just begun in front of my eyes.”
Tears were in my eyes as I paid my own small personal tribute, looking at all the photos of children who will be forever 10. They have a lovely commemorative garden where the school once stood, with the cemetery close nearby.
We must remember to count our blessings!