Saturday, October 01, 2005



On Saturday, September 3, I took another train trip, this time to Durham. We left Stevenage at about 9:00 and arrived in Durham at 12:15.

The highlight of a trip to Durham is the Cathedral. It sits atop a hill and can be reached either by the Cathedral Bus (50p for an all-day ticket) or by a steep walk.

The best view of the Cathedral is actually from the rail bridge just outside the station.

After a quick look at the map, I was off.

Arriving at the Cathedral green, you pass a number of graves…

…and walk up to the doors. The large doorknocker is a replica of the original one.

A sign next to the doorknocker explains its importance.

(You can click to enlarge.)

The Nave, Quire, and north and south transepts were all built between 1093 and 1133. The two western towers were added in 1217 and 1226. Until 1540, the Cathedral also housed a monastery of Benedictine monks.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the inside of the Cathedral. Well, I have a few postcards, but photography inside isn’t allowed. But I did purchase ‘A Short Guide to Durham Cathedral’ for £1. It was very informative as I made my way around. The Cathedral is rather beautiful and, on Saturday, there was an orchestra in the front rehearsing for a concert.

After walking around inside, I went out into the cloisters.

The cloisters are a large open area surrounded by a covered walkway. It was here that 14th and 15th century monks went about their duties.

Here you can see some intricate stonework over a door.

The cloisters also house a colony of Pipistrelle bats.

So, when I saw one, I left it alone.

Since I seem to be unable to resist climbing hundreds of steps when I go places, I promptly headed to the stairs to the tower.

After climbing (and climbing and climbing), I ended up here.

I squeezed through the doorway and was rewarded with a wonderful, if a bit windy, view of the city.

I saw the railway bridge (in the upper left part of the picture).

I also saw the castle (which was closed on Saturday).

From this height, I could tell how far above the western towers I really was.

There was a great view of the cloisters…

…as well as the river. (See the building along the far side of the river, between the trees? We’ll eventually go there and look back up at the Cathedral.)

After a quick picture…

…I was ready to go back through the doorway…

…and down the 325 steps…

After getting my feet firmly back on the ground, I walked down the hill to the market area.

There were some nice red, white, and blue pennants flying over the street.

In front of a church…

…there was a brass band from Norway.

I nosed around a bit. Despite the ‘Durham Castle is Closed Today’ sign (there was a wedding or something)…

…I did peek inside.

I visited the Durham Heritage Centre and then I went for a walk along the river.

There were nice bridges…

…some flowers…

…and some very nice views.

(This last picture was taken next to the little house on the river that I mentioned further up in the tower section.)

And here’s one, just because I like it.

I headed back towards the station. Just outside, there is an overlook where you can see a nice panorama of the city.

Here’s one of mainly the Cathedral.

In case you’re wondering about the panorama pictures, my camera has a panorama setting. I take a series of pictures and the software miraculously stitches them together resulting in something like these two:

Then, I just crop it down to remove the jagged edges. (You can click those for larger views.)

I arrived back at the station a bit early. I had time to walk around. Thank goodness for that because I very nearly missed seeing this mast (the tall one on the right with the two wires).

Not very interesting, you say? That’s because you haven’t read the commemorative plaque on the mast.

Now, wasn’t that fun?

Before I could find mast number 19,999 or number 20,001, our train pulled in.

I hopped on…

…and took a couple of pictures as we crossed the bridge on the way home.


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