Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Beningbrough Hall & Gardens,Yorkshire Pt.18

When mentioning in my last post that I would be posting next on Ripon Cathedral, I had momentarily forgotten that our friends and hosts took us to Beningbrough Hall after lunch on Saturday.

To get there we had to cross this privately owned Aldwick Toll Bridge. At least it saved us an extra 25 mile round trip by doing so. It is a reminder that in the past our whole country was criss crossed with toll bridges. We take if for granted now that we can drive everywhere free, (apart from major toll crossings.) We see here part of the cottage that is the home of the toll keeper. The bridge is more like a wooden gangway with a kind of chain link planks of wood that make quite a loud clinking sound as one crosses over. The keeper said that I could go on to it to take photographs but as there was a steady drip of traffic I shot a long view only.

Beningbrough Hall is a grand red-brick mansion which was built in 1716 for John Bourchier, a Yorkshire landowner. Today in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, it offers a unique attraction with over 120 outstanding portraits of famous eighteenth-cenury figures. These are hung in furnished period rooms with important furniture and porcelain collections.

The hall is set in six acres of show gardens. The Walled Garden has over 20 varieties of apple and pear trees and is used as a venue for events. You are welcome to walk with me in the garden and I don't think I have to tell you that you will get wet, after all it is a Summers day in August!

Everybody is opting to take tea inside today

A 19th century potting shed

Stump Cross Caverns, Yorkshire Pt. 17

There are beautiful Dales in Yorkshire, as we have already seen, but there are also the bleak moorlands, some of which we have just crossed on our way over from Brimham Rocks. We are surprised to find the car park empty. We go into the entrance and ask what time the tea rooms close. 5.0 pm we are told and it is now 4.40 pm. We decide we had better have our tea before entering the caves only to be told that the caves close at 4.30 pm. Oh! no, we have just driven over the moors especially having understood the caves were open until dusk.

We are in Yorkshire however and we are told that we can still go down into the caves. The great thing about this is that we are the only people here so we will be going down by ourselves. Wonderful, we can do it at our own pace, in our own time and nobody blocking my photographs. How's that for Yorkshire hospitality.

Here, in limestone formed in a warm, shallow sea some 350 million years ago, you can share in my adventure if you care to come down with me.
The superb range of stalactites and stalagmites, unusual rock formations, and spectacular lighting all go to make a descent into the caves an unforgettable experience. Discovered in 1860 by lead miners working at Stubbe of the famous Stump 'Cross', this cave was opened for viewing by the public soon after.

Sparkling stalactites and stalagmites add an extra ingredient to the water sculpted rock walls of the cave. Scientists from Newcastle University have recently discovered h ow old they are. Some of the stalagmites at Stump Cross Caverns are thought to be at least 230,000 years old and, therefore, the actual passages themselves must be very much older.
Exploration since 1860 has extended the system to over 4 miles in length. Animal bones from Reindeer,Bison,Wolves and the vicious Wolverine have been discovered during these evacuations. These have been dated to over 90,000 years old in the time when the Dales were a barren and frozen landscape. Some of these bones are on display at the visitors centre.

This one is called 'the cathedral' and one can see why. When in there it certainly looks like an alter complete with candles. We are 50 feet underground at this point.

We make our way back to the entrance and they have kept the tearoom open for us. Not only that we are asked if we would like to watch a video of the history of the cave. We decline,we've had a long day, but do opt for a large mug of hot and refreshing tea before leaving.Very welcome.
Oficially, that is the end of our Yorkshire holiday. Visited 17 places in 6 days. It was a pleasure to share them with you.
We are not going straight home however. Tomorrow we are going to spend the weekend with friends who have recently moved to Ripon in Yorkshire. I will post some pics. of Ripon Cathedral in my next post which will end this particular Yorkshire trip.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Brimham Rocks,Yorkshire Pt.16

Here we are visiting Brimham Rocks. It's popularity increased in the 1800's due to Harrogate becoming a fashionable Spa resort. The current landscape is a result of over 320 million years of geological movement, ice ages and the erosive effects of the weather. Victorian visitors however, believed the stunning rock formations were the work of Druids who fashioned the rock into mysterious shapes, hence such names as the Druid's Idol, Writing Desk and Coffin. With a little immagination one may be able to spot the Baboon, Dancing Bear and Eagle. The rocks are surrounded by Heather moorland which unfortunatly have just about finished their flowering season.

We are going to climb the hill to the top of the moor and on the way will be passing many varied and interesting rock formations. You will see here a small selection of the photographs that I took on the way.

Keep on coming up - it's worth it

We are at the top now (not too difficult was it?) and there's a National Trust shop, tea and ice-cream kiosk available. We are not going to hang around though as we are driving further across the moors in order to explore some caves and we have already spent the morning at Fountains Abbey.

The very top
Now it's down again before jumping into the car

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Shades of Autumn Today

Bird in the mist taken in my garden in the morning
When I looked out of the window at 6.45 am I could not see past the glass

I walk to my local park (3 minutes away) in the afternoon and notice the beginnings of Autumn amidst a clear blue sky.

I walked with my face lifted to the sun and savoured the warmth remembering how I take it for granted when we are getting lots of it. The mellowness, the still air and quietness that only this season can bring. Even the aeroplanes sound different as they drone overhead.

This is where I picked four and a half pounds of Blackberries last week in spite of the stained hands full of thorns. It was worth it. They are now in the freezer.

A blot on the landscape for some and free expression for others

I meet this beautiful kitten who could not have been more than six weeks old and we greet each other. Can I possibly pick him up without taking him home. I did but can't imagine someone letting such a young kitten out. I hope he lives near and has a good home.

The children's voices seem to carry further on the still Autumn air too.

Now it's back home to Apple and Cinnamon Cake which seemed appropriate for the season.
I will finish my Yorkshire posts this coming week, I have not deserted them.