The northernmost English county is a beautiful and wild place.
We spent time in a remote valley for a wedding, only two weeks after our own (the main reason for Iago80’s recent online silence).
My wife and I were not really equipped for walking in the hills, but that didn’t stop us.
As we walked, I attempted to photograph some of the valley’s avian residents…
A female Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Female Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
And Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) fishing in the streams
It was also rare to look at the sky and not see (unusually) noisy Buzzards, hovering Kestrels, and circling Ravens (although I didn’t get a good enough shot of any of them to share). Seemingly oblivious of the predators, the sky was also often rich with our summer Swallows (Hirundo rustica) and House Martins (Delichon urbica).
To say that the Northern English city of York has a rich history and cultural heritage would be an understatement. It was founded on the river Ouse (below) by the Romans almost 2000 years ago, only a single generation after the crucifixion of Christ.
The city walls are the most extensive in the UK with the majority dating back to Medieval times (as below) but some to when the city was in the hands of the Vikings (such as the brilliantly named, Eric Bloodaxe) or the Romans.
The ruined keep of the castle, Clifford’s Tower (above), is largely all that remains. It stands proud above the city but has a dark past. In 1190, the new king Richard I’s (the brutal crusader romanticised as Coeur de lion) overseas conquests were sparking anti semitism at home. A mob chased at least 150 Jewish people to the castle where they appealed for protection. Locked inside the keep they were besieged for days. As their fate became inevitable, rather than renounce their faith, they killed themselves and then their bodies were set alight to prevent mutilation post mortem. The wooden keep was raised to the ground. Eventually, the current stone edifice was built in its place. Although this building too was to be gutted by fire…
From the ruined ramparts (above) another, hugely important historical building can be seen…
As the seat of the second most senior priest in the Anglican Church, York Minster is appropriately grand and impressive.
I felt enormously privileged that my fiancée and I were able to attend a wedding, of friends of ours, in the Minster. The architecture, and history of the place is a superbly fitting setting to tie the knot…