Our fourth day on the road was perhaps our best one so far despite, or because of, only getting thirty miles north of where we started. The reason for this is that we spent some amount of time exploring the Roman/Viking/English city of York as well as the half-standing ruins of a castle.
The day started relatively early with us climbing to the top of Clifford's Tower, which sits proudly in the heart of York. While it use to form the main keep of York's castle, it is now the only part left. One of its several claims to fame is that it sits on a motte erected by William the Conqueror in the 1160s. The stone tower itself was built in the thirteenth century during the reign of Henry III.
The tower stands as a lone remnant of the York Castle.
Since then, it has been an important part of the town in its use as: a strong defensive position (obviously), a treasury, a mint, and a place of refuge for royalists during the Civil War. If all this sounds a little bit boastful, that's because I'm reading from the tower's pamphlet/book as I write.
Even if you're not that interested in all that history or £3 "English Heritage" booklets, the tower is well worth a visit for views of the surrounding city.
For the sake of not uploading too many photos in this post, I've only got one photo from the top of the tower. The castle would have originally reached to the back of the two buildings shown here, so really it wasn't all that humongous.
After descending from the tower, we walked slowly along the River Ouse and into town, casually making our way via a cafe to York Minster. This meant walking through both medieval and modern streets along with all the other tourists that frequent York at this time of the year.
I think I actually preferred walking around the streets of York than that of London and Paris simply because it was a lot smaller in terms of both the city's size and population. Sure, that means there wasn't quite as much to see, and no world famous landmarks like Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower, but it was nice to just walk around and stop to watch a street performer. We then before walked through some markets and went via York Minster to the town's wall.
I tried to get through the gate but it was padlocked.
Our destination of the Minster was pretty easy to find since the church dominates the York landscape.
You can walk along York's wall, but morning had turned into the afternoon so we had to be moving on. I'm not sure how old or new this wall is, but the original was built sometime in the second century.
So after our walk we had to get moving in order to at least get a little closer to the Scottish city of Edinburgh. On our way though we decided to go via the ruins of Helmsley Castle, famous for firstly being a pretty great medieval fortress and for the Baron of Helmsley Castle, Robert De Roos, being a key player in creating the famous Magna Carta.
No, this has nothing to do with Helmsley Castle, but it was a pretty cool memorial we saw on the way to the castle. Not sure who it's for - some Earl - because this was as close as we could get.
According to another one of these pamphlets that I have near me, Helmsley Castle is over nine hundred years old and, similar to Clifford's Tower, moved from a medieval stronghold to one used in the Civil War by the royalists, to a set of ruins. Because I'm working from memory a couple of days after visiting it, the rest of what I say may not be entirely accurate so I'll try not to say too much. That should solve the problem. Anyway, here are some photos.
Oh, and most of these are edited with VSCO Film which is suppose to make them look like Kodak Gold 100 film. Hopefully it also makes things look more dramatic. Let me know if you think it works.
A bit gloomy and not entirely accurate in showing how much of the castle still stands, but I quite like this photo. The south entrance.
The west range. You can walk through displays here.
This room was redone to mimic how it might have been back in the day.
I actually like ruins a lot.
The east tower. You can also see the corner of the chapel still standing in from of it. The area here, funnily enough, was once used as a tennis court last century.
After Hemsley Castle we moved on further north towards Hillside caravan park which, like many of the English caravan parks, sits on a farm.
The drive there was one of the best we have had. We moved down a hill towards a range of plains along a narrow, hedge-lined track, past old churches and small groups of houses. After the motorways and traffic that we've had, it was a relief to be out in the country. So now, by my reckoning, the English countryside begins at York.
As we had done in York we went for a late night walk just to check out the place we were staying.
Part of the path, over a bridge and out towards the fields.
The fields of Yorkshire. These things are known as paddocks in Australia.
That was our fourth day on the road out from Luton-London and it was probably our best yet, possibly because we didn't go very far. Let me know if you enjoyed this post and stay tuned - there should be more on the way shortly.