Thursday, October 7, 2010

Helmsley Castle to Rievaulx Abbey

Today we had another brilliant (great) walk in North Yorkshire. On advice of our B&B hosts we drove to Helmsley near Pickering and to walk the well-loved walk from the castle to the Rievaulx Abbey. The walk was through fields and woods - about 3 miles each way. The weather was lovely - clear skies most of the day and about 15C. This is an excellent temperature for walking since you don't get too hot or too cold - even going up hill or through damp, darkish woods. The Abbey is a British Heritage Site so we were able to use the pass we bought back in Old Scarum near Salsbury. We bought the "Walkers Special" for lunch (cheese and chutney sandwich and vegetable soup) and ate outside. The Abbey was truly amazing - a ruin but most of the high arches of the church and refectory still standing - but its story is the same as all the other abbeys we have visited - built in the the 12th century and dissolved by Henry VIII in the 16th century.

The interesting thing about this abbey was that in the 18th century it was bought be the wealthiest commoner in England (somebody Duncombe who had made a fortune in banking) as part of a huge estate. At this point, the English had gone quite mad about old ruins and owning the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey was very prestigious. To show it off properly, Duncombe built a beautiful garden - a long grass covered terrace with an 18th century Greek Temple (folly) at each end. After touring the Abbey we climbed up the hill above it to view the Abbey from 11 lookout points on the terraces. In all we walked about 15 km. Back at our B7/b, we had our last dinner at the nearby pub - since we are leaving tomorrow to go to Stoke Golding and start our narrow boat cruise. When we told our B&B hosts we going on a narrow boat they were quite surprised. They are really into horse (Michael is a retired steeplechaser and some of the guests bring their own horses to go riding in the moors). Heather laughingly commented , "You're going to fall out. If Michael was in a long boat, I know he'd fall out." A funny thing was that we would say "You're going to fall in." English - what a strange and wonderful language it is.

So tomorrow we will be on a new adventure. We expect that we will have wifi access through our dongle and, if so, will keep up this blog as we go along - hopefully not falling out or in.

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