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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tony’s Magical Mystery Tour of the North of England

Here it is the BIG blog post I promised telling you all about my holiday last week. The itinerary was all planned out by uncle Tony and I don't think it would have been physically possible to do any more in the time we had than we did. This blog, though long is just the highlights of the week, if I had tried to cover everything it would have taken me a week to write the blog.

Saturday 15th September

Drove up to Brimham rocks in Nidderdale where we saw a whole bunch of oddly shaped rocks. Many of the rocks have names, like monster rock and eagle rock. See me and Lara sitting in one of the rocks below.

Brimham Rocks

Then we drove up to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden. Picture of the Abbey below.

Fountains Abbey

Sunday 16th September

We visited Sutton Bank which is the edge of the Yorkshire moors and looks down over the vale of York. Behind me and Lara sitting on the bench you can see the cliff edge, remember that cliff edge.

Sutton Bank on Yorkshire Moors

In the photograph below me and Tony are standing on the edge of that cliff, check out that view.

Sutton Bank on Yorkshire Moores

Next we drove onto Goathland where the TV series Heart Beat was filmed, it was like going back in time, with old cars buildings and even a steam train. Below you can see the one of the actual police cars use in the show, we saw a few such cars.

Heart Beat Police Car

Below you can see the steam train at Goathland which runs from Pickering to Grosmont with a stop at Goathland in the middle.

Steam Train at Goathland

The Goathland Hotel even has a sign on the side that says Aidensfield Arms which was the pub in Heart Beat. There were also a lot of sheep roaming around including on the road in Goathland.

Next on the tour we stopped at Robin Hoods Bay, we don’t know why it is called Robin hoods Bay. Tony suggested that maybe Robin Hood once took Maid Marion there for a lucky weekend.

As the sun was setting we went onto Whitby, which is a lovely place and we watched the sun set from the pier.

Monday 17th September

We went along the coast and stopped at various places including Seaton Carew which is where I had my photo taken with this beacon. Beacons like this used to be all around the coast in England so that if a place was invaded they would light their beacon and the people in the next town would light their beacon and they would then send their army in that direction to repel the invaders. In the North East of England those sea invaders were normally Vikings. The beacons were all put back up all around the coast to celebrate the millennium.

Seaton Carew Beacon

After that we went to Marsden Rock where there is a lift down to the Beach which was out of order and apparently you can often see Puffins on the Rock. As you can see by the photograph below we did not get to see any puffins but we did see lots of seagulls.

Marsdon Rock

Our tour up the coast next took us to South Shields Beach which was very very cold and windy, so much so that I got a head ache. We then spent the remainder of the day in the Metro Centre which is a fantastic indoor shopping centre with a wide range of shops. We also passed the Angel of the North sorry no photographs of that but I'm sure you can find lots if you look on the web.

Tuesday 18th September

We went to Staithes which is a quaint little village with a steep hill down to a picturesque bay which reminded me very much of Mousehole in Cornwall. After that we carried on down the coast to Runswick which had a very sandy bay. Then on to Whitby were we had fish and chips in one of my favourite fish and chip cafes. Why is it my favourite, easy the portions are huge order a Jumbo and got 2 fish (I did also have Chips and Mushy Peas, all washed down with a couple of cups of tea). Then with our full belly we took a walk up to the famous Whitby Whale Bones, that’s them below.

Whitby whale Bones

As Captain Cook was from that neck of the woods there was also a statue of Captain Cook right near the Whale bones. I had to take a photo when I saw a seagull land on his head.

Captain Cook with Seagull

Next we did a little shopping in the pleasant back streets of Whitby then we took the long walk up the many steps to Whitby Abbey which is where Dracula stayed when he arrived in England. It all reminded me that I need to up date our Halloween Slots page.

After coming back down from the Abbey we had dinner in the famous Magpie Café. I say famous as everyone except me seemed to have heard of it and you actually had to queue to get in, I had Fish and chips for tea there too which were very nice.

Magpie Cafe in Whitby

Wednesday 19th September

We went to Cragside for the day which is where the first house in the world to have electricity is. Built by George Armstrong, the estate was massive, with a 6 mile drive around with numerous stops including, a labyrinth, formal gardens and lakes. I learned a number of interesting facts that day including the little known fact that Thomas Edison was not the first person to invent the electric light bulb. It turns out that in early 1879 light bulbs invented by Sir Joseph Wilson Swan were being used to light Cragside House. Joseph Swan did not think his invention was patentable and this is why Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb independantly in October 1879 was granted the first British Patent. Not alot of people know that.

Thursday 20th September

We went to see the Housesteads fort on Hadrian’s Wall, a site that is almost 2000 miles north and marks the boundary of the Northern most part of the ancient Roman Empire. Below is a nice picture of me and Tony standing on the remains of the wall.

Hadrians Wall

Our travels then took us on to New Biggin-by-the-Sea where they had a new beach delivered and it was being moved. We had our dinner in a gastro pub called the Waterford lodge in Morpeth.

Friday 21st September

We visited a caravan show room and had a nosey round all the different caravans then we went onto Cherryburn which is the birth place of Thomas Bewick. Thomas Bewick was a wood engraver and naturalist who was apparently quite famous back in his day.

We then went to the Birth place of George Stevenson in a place called Wylam. George invented the world’s first steam engine (the Rocket) and is known as the Father of the Railways. Until just 6 years ago his picture was still being printed on the back of a £5 note.

Friday ended with a visit to High Force waterfall this was after a long drive through the dales where we saw lots of sheep and some very bleak wilderness. Tony said this was to show us the view, from that height you could see for miles. High Force was a very powerful waterfall, I don't think my photograph does it justice, but it really did live up to its name.

High Force Waterfall

Saturday 22nd September

Got up early and drove across to Blackpool, the Bed and Breakfast we stayed in was grim, there was a damp dog smell in the whole place and it was dirty. Mum and Lara were really not impressed at all. We packed a lot in and saw a show (Forbidden), walked around the pleasure beach and even went up the Tower. In Blackpool Tower I went right to the top and took the walk of faith (where at 380 feet you can stand on a sheet of glass). We also watched the synchronized ballroom dancing in the great ball room and visited the aquarium.

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