Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Another Landmark Valentine

We have an honourable tradition of visiting the unique Landmark Trust properties and this Valentines was no exception. 

You have to be fit to tackle The Music Room. The ad says its like living in an inside out wedding cake – an apt description of the music room itself. Up to the remarkable, and oft quirky, standards of the Landmark Trust the rest of the building is quite remarkable. Like a scene from ‘Through the Looking Glass’ you climb up a very steep and narrow staircase as the room gets smaller and smaller to a half door that you need a “drink me” shrinking potion to get through - but well worth it for the views from the roof terrace.

Impressive furniture and a working baby grand all to ourselves :)

Lancaster itself is quite historically significant. Lancaster Castle is not like any other castle, in fact it wasn’t built as a castle but as a court and prison. It’s a sad old place whose walls reek of human suffering and despair. Owned by The Duchy of Lancaster (Her Majesty the Queen is the Duke of Lancaster and rakes many millions a year from the Dutchy for very little effort!),
the castle has witnessed scenes of significant historical and political impact throughout the centuries including incidents of religious persecution including the imprisonment of George Fox in an attempt to stamp out Quakers, the trials of the 'Lancashire Pendle Witches' – 10 executed on the say so of a nine year old girl - and 200 executions for everything from murder to stealing cattle. Executions were only stopped because they ran out of unconsecrated ground within the prison whence executions were moved to Strangeways in Manchester. 

It ceased to have a prison population in 2011 but is still a major court house. The original cells, still viewable, were degrading and inhumane in the extreme. The new wing was like an early scene from Porridge.

A walk by the River Lune (Lune Caister) began at this remarkable working viaduct. Also a word for The Whales Tail, up a gunnal (jitty) just passed Oxfam, a great veggie eaterie, great food, great variety and our wifi connection to the outside world.

Finishing with a long pull up the hill to the Ashton Memorial. A QI moment for me as , since childhood, I have passed this site on the M6 many many times and was always led to believe it was a camera obscura but its not, just a highly decorated and somewhat over the top Lancastrian 'Taj Mehal'  

The other reason for coming to this neck of the woods was my long time wish to do the Ingleton Waterfall Trails. Less then twenty minutes drive away, on a beautiful early spring like day, we began the ascent. It is challenging but with well maintained paths, steps and bridges it is doable and worth doing for the views, the sites and the waterfalls. The teas served, in real mugs, at the first hut almost half way up were a welcome delight.

But a greater surprise awaited at the top of the falls, hundreds of feet up in the Dales, views of the imposing Pennines, miles from anywhere and there in front of us was ...

...couldn't resist a 99  :-p

After all that excitement it was back home, feet up n dive into Marion's latest novel 'Those Rosy Hours in Mazanderan", currently ~6 in the Amazon best selling historical novel list :) and available from:

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