Thursday, 20 September 2012

We've explored Skipton Castle

I just cannot believe that I had never been to Skipton Castle. I must have been to the town hundreds of times but had never felt the urge to visit the place. What I'd missed out on, was one of the best preserved Castles I've seen. Sal acted as my guide for the day and she duly took charge of the information leaflet. If I'd have been on my own, I think I would have probably just wandered about without taking in much of the history of the place but Sal, being a more organised person than me, kept to the route and performed her duties admirably. I don't recall her us getting lost once.

I wont bore people with a description of the interior as it would mean nothing to you if you weren't there but suffice to say, you could easily spend a couple of hours exploring the place. There is also an excellent Coffee shop and gift shop.

We really enjoyed an interesting afternoon which I personally don't think would have been half as good with out the Tour Guide but then again, Sal might not agree with me on that one.

The most famous person to inhabit the Castle was Lady Ann Clifford who was the last of the Clifford family to own it. She spent 26 years of her later life rebuilding churches and castles throughout the North of England. Skipton, Pendragon, Appleby, Brough and Brougham Castles were restored to their former glory by her.

There is also a Lady Anne’s Way which is a 100 mile walk through places associated with Lady Anne Clifford. It starts at her birth place in Skipton and goes through Wharfedale, Wensleydale before finishing in Cumbria at Brougham Castle near Penrith which where she died.

A short history of the Castle :-

The castle was originally a motte and bailey castle built in 1090 by Robert de Romille, a Norman baron. The earth and wood castle was rebuilt in stone to withstand attacks from the Scots to the north. The cliffs behind the castle, dropping down to Eller Beck, made the castle a perfect defensive structure. In 1310, Edward II granted the castle to Robert Clifford who was appointed Lord Clifford of Skipton and Guardian of Craven. Robert Clifford ordered many improvements to the fortifications but died in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 when the improvements were barely complete.

During the English Civil War the castle was the only Royalist stronghold in the north of England until December 1645. After a three-year siege, a surrender was negotiated in 1645 between Oliver Cromwell and the Royalists. Cromwell ordered the removal of the castle roofs. During the siege legend has it that the walls were reinforced by hanging sheep fleeces over the sides to deaden the impact from the rounds of cannon fire and sheep fleeces feature on the towns coat of arms as a result. Skipton remained the Cliffords' principal seat until 1676. Lady Anne Clifford (1590–1676) was the last Clifford to own it. After the siege, she ordered repairs and as a commemoration she planted a yew tree in the central courtyard to mark its repair after the war. - Wikipedia

Leeds - Liverpool Canal, Skipton

Castle Courtyard

Skipton Castle

Ruin of the Chapel of St John the Evangelist.

The Conduit Court

My guide for the day.

Clifford family Coat of Arms.

The Conduit Court

The Conduit Court

Entrance from The Conduit Court


Ruin of the Chapel of St John the Evangelist

Castle Gardens

Castle Gardens

We've explored Skipton Castle

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Getting your timing right!

This is a series of photos I took of the coastal area west of Dumfries. When the cloud is down over the Cumbrian Fells, you can usually find a bit of brightness on the other side of the Solway Firth

Carsethorn is the first village on the coastal run which at one time was an out port for Dumfries and was a haven for smugglers. During the late 1700s and early 1800s there was a very high level of emigration to the American and Australian Colonies due to the hard times in Scotland plus the Highland Clearances and Carsethorn was one of the main ports of departure. On a clear day you can see the Lakeland Fells and Silloth across the Firth.

A few miles farther along the coast is the village of Southerness with it's caravan sites and golf links. The only thing of note apart from its varied coastline is the lighthouse.

It is at present the second oldest lighthouse in Scotland. The lighthouse was commissioned by the Town Council of Dumfries in 1748 to assist in the safe passage though the Solway Firth of ships heading to the Nith Estuary. At that time roads in South West Scotland were quite sparse so the bulk of trade even between local villages, was carried out by sea. Dumfries was a major port and there were regular connections with Liverpool and, especially, Ireland. Construction was completed in 1749. The lighthouse was first lit around 1800 and was decommissioned in 1936. The light was extinguished due to financial reasons between 1867 and 1894. 

When the tide is out there are some lovely photo opportunities of both the lighthouse and rocky coast and I maybe spent a bit too much time there as I had to bypass the next village of Rockcliffe as I knew the tide would be in. Instead headed for Kippford which is famous for its cockle shell beaches in the hope I would get there before they were swallowed up but unfortunately I had got my timings completely wrong.

On the way to Kippford I called in at Sandyhills Bay and witnessed a sea rescue by the local coastguards. A couple with their dog had been caught out by the speed on the tides and had become stranded on the rocks. I arrived just as they were getting out of the lifeboat to receive a stern lecture by the local constabulary, this was then followed by a red-faced interview with the local press!

I still enjoyed my day out and walk along the Solway Coast despite my cock up with the timing of the tide, it's a lovely unspoilt area.

Solway Firth from Carsethorn

Solway Firth from Carsethorn



Southerness lighthouse


Southerness lighthoue


Sandyhills Bay

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Morecambe and Heysham

Considering Heysham  has been so unfashionable over the years, it seems that a lot of my friends and acquaintances put it amongst their favourite places and hold many happy memories of it. The small High Street is very attractive with it's coffee houses and pub but it is The Church of Saint Peter and Saint Patrick Chapel which are the real jewels.

St Patrick's Chapel, which sits in the grounds of St Peter's Church, was founded on the site in the 7th or 8th century and near to the chapel is a group of six rock-cut tombs with a separate group of two near-by. St Peter's Church was recorded as being the location of an old Saxon church and some of the fabric of that church remains in the present church. It's a beautiful spot and sits on a headland looking out over Morecambe Bay. Unfortunately there is a slight blot on the landscape, namely the Ferry Terminal which has been here as long as I can remember but must bring work to the area so can be excused.

I spent a lovely couple exploring the peaceful village and churches before heading into Morecambe which hasn't changed much in years. They have done a lot of work on the Promenade but the fabric of the town still seems run down which is a shame really. I used to go to Morecambe in my childhood with the local Working Men's Club on the annual kiddies day out and it doesn't really seem to have moved on since then. I'm talking over 50 years ago as well.

No visit would be complete these days though without going to say "hi" to Eric whose statue is given pride of place on the Prom. Everyone, whether they be old or young love having their photos take next to him whilst copying his famous skip pose. Also of interest to me is the metal sculpture of The Lakeland Fells, just a biy further along the promenade. On a clear like today, you can stand in front of it and see all these fells across the bay.

Weary of all the people and noise, I was glad to leave. It had been a day of contrasts, the noise and bustle of Morecambe against the peace and tranquility of Heysham. Maybe this is why so many people have happy memories of the latter. I certainly know which I prefer!

Heysham Village

Local Sculpture

Heysham High Street

Ice Cream Parlor

Granny Bells.

Watering hole

Pink Daisies

Old Well


St Peter's Graveyard

St Peter's Graveyard

Stone tombs

St Patrick's Chapel

Morecambe Bay

St Peter's Church

St Peter's Church

St Peter's Church

St Peter's Graveyard

St Peter's Church

Lakeland Fells Sculpture

Sand sculptures, Morecaambe


Eric and friends


Dove of Peace Statue


It must have been over twenty years since I was last in Cartmel and as you'd expect from this sleepy corner of Cumbria, the place hadn&#...