John & Anne Wiley

2019/01/19

Endings & Beginnings

Our last day in London began the end of our memorable 3-week adventure in the UK and EU. Taking the tube from our hotel to Heathrow was surprisingly nostalgic, as we mingled with commuters, locals and a few visitors like us.

81941 Last Tube

81941 Last Tube

It felt like hours, and like seconds, before we were high over Greenland. Talking with the few other passengers huddled at the back, conversation turned to the melting glaciers.

053237 Greenland Browning

053237 Greenland Browning

Did sagging in the channels and ripples on the surface indicate it’s moving faster?

054122 Quickening?

054122 Quickening?

Is the vast size of it reassuring or scary? The discussion was perhaps made more somber by the fact we were awake while most passengers slept. In another “instant” hours later, we were descending into Phoenix for our connecting flight when the Grand Canyon passed below.

151704 Grand Canyon

151704 Grand Canyon

I can’t make out the lodge through hazy airline windows from this height. But that horizontal line from the right-center edge is the Grand Canyon airport (KGCN). I thought about how much more we’d enjoyed the canyon view from Tripp’s open windows, and the adventures we’ve enjoyed after landing at that airport and Marble Canyon. In a “moment” we took off again, glimpsing through scratched plastic the distant mountain outcrops we’ve seen closely from air and ground.

175139 Phoenix Takeoff

175139 Phoenix Takeoff

Our hearts quickened as we turned over the Santa Barbara Channel gliding down through the sunset to SBA, where the runway was already in gathering darkness beneath a cold blue moon.

185358 Day & Journey End

185358 Day & Journey End

This landing also marked a full beginning of our transition from Tripp to Tiger. That is, starting to take ever more and longer flights in the club’s AA5-B Grumman Tiger. Like this one a week later when we saw fluffy clouds announcing the impending start of rainy season.

9421 Riding The Tiger

9421 Riding The Tiger

Soon I’ll start sharing more pix from these recent flights, along with some older favorites from our last flights in Tripp. For now, thanks for sharing our UK/EU Adventure. 🙂

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2019/01/12

Last London

High on my list for this trip was going up in the Shard.

125726 The Shard

125726 The Shard

Though we walked past the base of it, enjoying that spectacular aerial view of London didn’t happen. Instead we went into the amazing and colorful open air Borough Market.

112356 Borough Market

112356 Borough Market

Such a vast variety of prepared food, and everything needed to create your own gourmet meal.

114452 Colorful Bounty

114452 Colorful Bounty

For some reason we snapped relatively few pix this day, but got this as we passed a throng of London cabbies protesting ride services like Uber. It seems cabbies are tested to prove exhaustive familiarity with the city and laws while their competition isn’t.

162535 Protesting Uber

162535 Protesting Uber

Among the many experiences of that last London day was the view of street life from this raised walkway from the river to Charing Cross Station.

182751 Popular Spot

182751 Popular Spot

We paid a second visit to Trafalgar Square, where later that night we saw that one of the lions was somehow lit up a brilliant florescent orange.

183937 Trafalgar Return

183937 Trafalgar Return

By then the storm had left a few ragged clouds accenting the moon for a blurry handheld pic as we ended the day with a short cabbie tour to the park outside Kensington Palace.

9403 Kensington Gardens Moon

9403 Kensington Gardens Moon

Noticing lights and movement inside the palace, we imagined it to be some sort of royal dinner party on the second floor.

9404 Palace Party?

9404 Palace Party?

What had seemed during planning to be a very long trip, now felt far too short as we got ready to fly home in the morning with our hearts full of memories.

2019/01/11

To London With Ali

After another delicious Rosegarth breakfast I went to the kitchen and thanked our gracious, tireless hosts Ian and Sarah.

093729 Rosegarth Hosts

093729 Rosegarth Hosts

In gathering winds and darkening skies we departed toward London.

9339 Ratty?

9339 Ratty?

The “Ratty Arms” sign at the left had given us pause upon Ravenglass arrival, but now departing we knew it’s about the cool R&ER we’d ridden. In minutes a fine mist began to fall on the unfolding countryside as livestock found shelter or hunkered down.

9354 Blown Mist

9354 Blown Mist

Soon it became a stinging mist as the wind picked up, and people on the train started talking about cat.2 hurricane Storm Ali coming ashore.

112536 Storm Ali Lands

112536 Storm Ali Lands

Conversation turned reports of damage and even two deaths as we learned it was much worse in Ireland and Scotland. The mood and sky continued to darken as we learned that UK trains were being stopped.

9364 Darkening

9364 Darkening

But after Arnside the rain stopped and wind eased as we were passing a moody castle ruin.

9383 Ruin Near Arnside

9383 Ruin Near Arnside

By the time we were rolling into Grange Over Sands, locals accustomed to storms were taking a day in the park.

122754 UK Park Outing

122754 UK Park Outing

Arriving in Preston to change trains we learned that everything to the North was now cancelled. My impression is that trains behind us from Ravenglass had also been stopped due to power outages and track blockages. The platform crowd patiently milled about deciding what to do as the intricate UK rail system quickly adapted by sending most arriving trains back South.

135856 Packed Preston

135856 Packed Preston

Arriving in London only slightly delayed, we checked into our hotel and went to a cafe awaiting news of our friends who’d also departed Ravenglass about the same time. We quietly enjoyed many cups of herbal tea peoplewatching at a window seat.

182833 Cafe Window

182833 Cafe Window

They’d booked a train North to catch the fast central main line South to London, and we learned later it was cancelled. By the time we met up it was dark with a few stars, so three of us walked the Westminster area in an unusually quiet London.

194153 Quiet Night

194153 Quiet Night

Tomorrow we planned to check out views from the Shard and other attractions for our last London day of the trip.

2019/01/09

Muncaster

Our second day in Ravenglass we walked about a mile up the gentle grade to Muncaster Castle where we met up again with our Santa Barbara friends. They’re distantly related to the heirs (exciting for their grandkids), and were doing genealogy research. It was a fun day, and quite different from the rest of the trip.

8274 Regal Roost

8274 Regal Roost

More about the Birds we saw in a moment, but first we had to find a way in.

8258 Muncaster Gate

8258 Muncaster Gate

Because we’d gotten an early start, the main gate was still locked but with no cell service we couldn’t find the other gate. After walking further up the road, back down, and back up past where we’d turned back we found our friends. Inside those walls is a wonderland.

153027 Fairytale

153027 Fairytale

Walking around to the front door the misty day opened enough to get a glimpse of the valley domain.

8791 Domain Glimpse

8791 Domain Glimpse

Inside the castle is a rich art gallery and museum, where we wandered the rooms imagining (and reading about) days gone by.

8820 Castle Entrance

8820 Castle Entrance

Back outside the sky had cleared more, providing another angle on the valley.

121724 Valley Vista

121724 Valley Vista

Far in another direction a stout guardhouse perched on a hillock in the lingering mist.

8800 Lonely Outpost

8800 Lonely Outpost

Walking around the other side of the castle we looked back toward the entrance gallery.

143752 Looking Back

143752 Looking Back

Our little group was headed to the castle’s famous bird show, our second of the day. It’s very well done, intimate (wingtips gently brushed several of our friends), and thrilling.

8342 Fly By

8342 Fly By

8983 Takeoff

8983 Takeoff

The show is narrated by experts who love to introduce these beautiful animals.

8700 Free as a Bird

8700 Free as a Bird

All of this is in the open air, but the birds choose to stay with their caring keepers. Adding to various silent owls are several other species of magnificent raptors.

8883 Expert Aviator

8883 Expert Aviator

The second show ended with an amazing show of aerial maneuvers, chasing a lure and catching bits of meat tossed into the air in mid-flight. Quite a memory for this pilot. 🙂

9287 Fast Precision

9287 Fast Precision

Much as we loved the smaller venue of the first show, many of us were quite moved by this second one. Part of it was accompanied by epic music that fit perfectly with the grace of these raptors stretching their wings. All too soon we headed back to town for our last night, beginning to pack for our morning train back to London.

2019/01/07

Ravenglass

From our night in Carlisle we enjoyed another short train ride, taking in the Fall countryside.

8082 Country Life

8082 Country Life

Now heading West we soon met the coast, turning South along stretches of dry stone wall.

8092 Return to the Sea

8092 Return to the Sea

Along the way we passed, and on this slower local train – more often stopped at, small towns and villages like Workington.

8094 Approaching Workington

8094 Approaching Workington

Nearing the village of Seascale we saw a woman strolling the deserted beach, with … could that be her pet Nero dei Nebrodi at the bottom-left?

DSC08116-b.jpg

Soon we stepped off the large comfortable electric train and back in time, greeted by the whistle of this magnificently restored narrow gauge R&ER steam train pulling small open cars into its parallel station.

153255 Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

153255 Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Thus began our two nights relaxing in Ravenglass. After walking a block to our cozy B&B and dropping off our luggage we went back and bought a ride on the last round trip train out. Alas, it had a newer diesel engine so being only a few cars back we’d occasionally get a waft of exhaust. With ominous rain clouds gathering we chose one of the hard bench seats (bring a cushion) that has a roof and front window with open sides. Others enjoyed an unencumbered vista from the refreshing open bench seats, perhaps knowing the rain on our window would remain a collection of occasional droplets.

155901 Happy Family

155901 Happy Family

That’s the conductor standing in the next car forward to monitor our passage over switches. It was fun passing the last steam train (engine nameplate Whillan Beck) making its way back to the station.

161337 Whillan Beck

161337 Whillan Beck

We saw many ruins and stoneworks left over from the Industrial era, when it all presumably looked very different. This water wheel is one of the spiffier examples.

8140 Water Wheel

8140 Water Wheel

My love of rock formations and lush multicolored vegetation was also well nourished by the big variety on this small ride. Plant life gnawing at the wizened stone seemed unchanged since long before human eyes first beheld it.

8146 Timeless Shapes & Colors

8146 Timeless Shapes & Colors

Dalegarth Station ends the line, allowing me to unfold from the cramped car and savor the look of a stout home beneath carved mountains.

8190 Rugged Beauty

8190 Rugged Beauty

Riding back we chose the last car, spared any whiff of diesel on our gently wobbling roll through a moist verdant paradise, imagining a virgin forest here.

8224 Where Giants Stood

8224 Where Giants Stood

Too soon we arrived back in Ravenglass. Strolling down Main Street past our lovely Rosegarth B&B we stopped in at the quiet and friendly Pennington Hotel dining room for an excellent light dinner and a toast of delicious Strongbow Cloudy Apple on tap.

8252 Relaxing Day's End

8252 Relaxing Day’s End

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