We woke this morning to a cool and rainy day and it stayed that way all day although the rain showers has eased by the time we drove into Carlisle. Good day though, a bit of history, a bit of folklore, a bit of culture, a bit of engineering, a nibble for the sweet tooth and some great scenery that at times was added to by the rain and mist.
First to Bingley, north of Bradford. Bingley is on the canal that flows through to Liverpool which from there it is 180 klms away. Originally built to carry limestone, this changed to coal, wool grain cement and other goods over the years and competed with the railways. Now used mainly for canal cruising by tourists and holidayers. A very long canal that actually starts north-west of Bingley at Foulridge and has a 1.5 klms tunnel. There are two lock systems at Bingley, one of three locks and the other of five locks. We stopped off at the five locks which raise the canal waters 18 metres over a distance of 97.5 metres.
Next it was further north to Keighley and to Haworth, the home of the authors Charlotte, "Jane Eyre"and Emily Bronte, "Wuthering Heights". The parsonage where they lived is now a museum and a shop selling all sorts of things to tourists. I couldn't help but think that people must be making a lot more out of them than they themselves ever did. The old school where Charlotte taught still remain and although the church where the family was buried no longer remains, the newer church does have a plaque where the burial site is under the current church. Travelling further west we passed through a little village with a "Wuthering Heights Inn" claiming to have been welcoming folks since 1763. A little further along is another inn called the Old Silent Inn. This one has a story attached of once having harboured Bonnie Prince Charles when he was on the run. Apparently he escaped when the soldiers came to get him as some of his comrades went out to meet the soldiers. One was killed and he is supposed to haunt the Inn.
Driving across this area of moorland saw it changing from lush green farm to more desolate moorland with the whole picture ever changing as we moved from bright sunshine to misty rain covered hills and valleys.
Turning north we headed on past the Yorkshire Dales National Park and into the Lake District National Park and past Lake Windermere, England's longest lake. Beautiful wooded country to drive through, especially with the changing season really starting to show. Through a number of small towns until we came to Grasmere where we stopped at the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop. The recipe, apparently invented by Sarah Nelson in 1864 mixed and baked the gingerbread in the little stone cottage that is still used to sell it. Even one of her original cupboards is still in use. The line-up was out to the footpath as only about six people can fit in the shop and it was obviously a good day for sales. The cottage is tiny but was actually a school at one time in its life. Declared to be famous across the world, this is the only place the gingerbread is made and sold and like Colonel Sanders Chicken Recipe, the secret recipe is apparently locked in a vault. It does taste pretty good though, so does the fudge.
While in Grasmere we stopped in to pay homage to the great poet, William Wordsworth, buried behind the local church. A friendly crow seems to have claimed Wordsworth's gravestone as his home as he was quite comfortably perched on it to look at the tourists and have his picture taken. Maybe he knows something the we don't. Either that or he was warning of an omen that may have had something to do with the rainbow we saw as we left town,
On to Keswick with a visit the Castlerigg Stone Circle. In a very dramatic setting overlooking the Thirlmere Valley with the mountains of High Seat and Helvellyn in the background, This circle is believed to be one of the oldest in Britain dating back to 3000BC is around 30 metres in diameter and 38 of the original 42 stones still remain. It is also unusual in that the inner stones are in a rectangle rather than a second circle.
After the Stone Circle it was back on the road north to Carlisle for the night. It turns out more history was in the offering as Marlborough House, where we are staying, is built over an area that is part of the historical Hadrian's Wall, a defensive Roman Wall that stretched across England just south of the Scottish border. Apparently home owners have strict conditions on digging holes and historical items exist at quite shallow depths.
Tomorrow we will check out Carlisle and head further north into Scotland.