Saturday, 6 September 2008

Nearly back in the saddle

Sorry there's not been a post for a while. The Protecteress of Pelarcona and I went touring Northern England and lower Scotland. Firstly we went to the Lake District, touching many of our favourite spots. Grasmere is probably top of the list, but this is Aira Force, near Ullswater.

Then onto the Borders of Scotland, up to Edinburgh, then Durham and the seaside resorts on the east coast of England, of old the host to my childhood summers and, some years later, those of my own three children.

Amongst other places, we visited Abbotsford, near Selkirk, the gothic "castle" built by Sir Walter Scott which bankrupted him. Here he wrote "Ivanhoe", amongst others of the Waverley novels, in order to pay off his debts (which he did, shortly before he died). The house was built in the 1820s, so is hardly an eighteenth century edifice, but it strikes me as the kind of building that might exist in Mendelstadt, my ImagiNation, where everything is a little over the top and off the wall (can you be both these things at the same time?)

Although we passed several battlefields, especially in the much-disputed Borders, we only stopped briefly at one, Redeswire Fray (1575), to see a mist-drenched drizzly moor.

Passing Hadrian's Wall is always interesting, too. Many years ago, in the days when the wall was much less policed, and much less visited, we walked its length, walking actually on the wall for much of its length (not allowed now). Sometimes we camped in the vallum (the ditch), once in a field with a Roman fort, once we awoke to find ourselves snowed in, once had the guyropes wrenched away in a thunder-storm. Simpler times. Happy times.

If you ever get the chance, you must visit Hadrians Wall and the Roman sites nearby: Vindolanda, Chesters, Housesteads. Even if ancient warfare is not your thing, there is nothing like the sense of history you get merely from seeing the wall.

Whitby Abbey, which we also visited, is another dramatic place steeped in history.

As is Scarborough Castle (Scarborough is my favourite of the British seaside resorts, preserving very many of its traditional pleasures). The Castle was held by the Royalists in the ECW, and besieged by Parliament with cannon sighted in a local church (where Anne Bronte's grave now is). You can see the scars. Then in WW1 it was fired on by a German destroyer. You can see the scars of history in its walls.

Anyway, 700 miles of travelling meant that nothing got painted, modelled, converted or, indeed, read! But I hope you like the photos (all taken by my dear Protectoress, except Abbotsford, which was mine.)

Now, the troops of Mendelstadt beckon me..............


Fitz-Badger said...

Nice pics, excellent vacation! I am officially envious... it's been too long since my last trip over there.

Bluebear Jeff said...

I'm jealous . . . I live in a place that has less than two hundred years of recorded history (and not much happened of note).

So I envy your ability to visit such historic places -- places I'll never get to see other than in photos.

Thank you very much for sharing.

-- Jeff

Der Alte Fritz said...

Thank you for posting the pictures. I visted the Borders area many many years ago and enjoyed seeing Abbotsford again.

Also, nice work on the Perry SYW conversion. Those will always be a special unit for you.