John & Anne Wiley

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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2019/01/06

Carlisle, England

Our southbound train from Glasgow was soon gliding through the beautiful Scottish countryside toward the English border.

08015 Leaving Scotland

8015 Leaving Scotland

One stop on our way stood out in particular. As we rolled up to the platform, a somber mood seemed to envelope the train. We knew the history here and thought that was the reason, but later noticed three embracing couples in this pic and realized 2018 was 30 years since the tragedy. Typing this almost four months later, I can still feel the powerful silence of that stop.

8025 Lockerbie Station

8025 Lockerbie Station

Somehow the 40 miles or so across the invisible border into England, to our overnight stop at Carlisle, distracted us from past to present. The short walk from the station to our hotel brought us to a downtown core in stark contrast to bustling Glasgow.

174301 Carlisle Core

174301 Carlisle Core

A small city like this surely had things going on, but none of those things seemed to be happening anywhere we looked. Glancing back toward the station across the ancient town square we’d crossed to the hotel revealed someone finding solitude on a bench.

174302 Silent Square

174302 Silent Square

Stashing our stuff, we wandered over to the cathedral complex where stonework speaks of centuries.

8055 Carlisle Cathedral

8055 Carlisle Cathedral

From there, a short walk brought us for a view of the stout fortress.

8072 Carlisle Castle

8072 Carlisle Castle

Since the museum there had already closed, we strolled back alleys into town for a few groceries. As night fell, the moon hung over the quiet town on our stroll back to the hotel for an improvised dinner in our room.

8081 Quiet Night

8081 Quiet Night

Morning dawned sunny for our quick breakfast at a bakery across the square from our hotel.

102228 Morning Light

102228 Morning Light

At last we saw a mix of locals and visitors, before catching a train to our “rest stop” on this fast-paced trip.

2019/01/02

Glancing Glasgow

Scotland has been a lifelong interest for me, so it’s no surprise that Glasgow made a strong positive impression when we finally got there in 2003. What’s surprising is that this 2018 UK/EU trip had only a couple of hours there! Even so, the beautiful train ride from Edinburgh enhanced the anticipation of our arrival.

07932 Rural Scotland

07932 Rural Scotland

Even as skies darkened and rain showers increased, fascinations were abundant.

07918 Distant Castle

07918 Distant Castle

Far away in time and space, castles in various states of ruin and restoration garnished the green around villages, towns, and small cities like Linlithgow. But soon we emerged from the Glasgow station feasting eyes (and cameras) on a transforming city.

133639 Up Into Glasgow

133639 Up Into Glasgow

The station is below street level, with covered escalators including a set near an old clock tower.

7951 Turning Back

7951 Turning Back

We walked back beyond the distant escalator arch (left side of pic) to check it out again, since we’d heard in ’03 the then empty upper level was to be refurbished.

7959 Short Tower

7959 Short Tower

Sure enough, what had in the last millennium been atop the station was now a quirky cool two-story cafe. Even with all the new and refurbished buildings since our last visit, we saw construction and restoration in process everywhere in the city core. We walked a few blocks along River Clyde and enjoyed a mini “Brooklyn Bridge.” Perhaps a former carriage connection, it’s now a slightly wobbly pedestrian bridge.

140050 New Tags, Old Bridge

140050 New Tags, Old Bridge

With so much care going into this beautiful city, ugly graffiti tags here and there stand out. Back in the core, most of the crowd still seems to be locals strolling the mix of ancient, deco, and new architecture.

7954 People & Place

7954 People & Place

There are also both new and old indoor shopping arcades, and being tourists we found the old more interesting.

7956 Old Arcade Entrance

7956 Old Arcade Entrance

Just a decade and a half since our longer visit here, we could barely recognize it.

7987 Old Buildings, New Faces

7987 Old Buildings, New Faces

With so many buildings obviously old or even ancient, our lack of recognition clearly reflects a need for more time here. But alas, we were already headed back to the station for our turn to the South.

7997 Approaching Train

7997 Approaching Train

Along with the many “People Make Glasgow” banners, we saw quite a few admonishing us to “Think Before You Step Out.” Probably related to foreign visitors used to traffic on the “wrong” side, it could also apply to visitors about to step out of this beautiful city after only a glance. I wish we could’ve at least kept exploring until our train, but waiting in the covered station did give us some time for lunch and people watching.

7999 Sheltered Station

7999 Sheltered Station

In a cold Winter blizzard this must be a welcome shelter for people, pigeons and all living things. This former street level is also preserved as a repurposed arcade where locals, other Scots, and tourists gather in this global city spanning rugged, refined, ancient and contemporary.

Edinburgh Revisited

We woke well ready to explore Edinburgh again in more depth, undeterred by heavy overcast and occasional drizzle. That tower on the hill was taunting us again, but first we set out on foot.

7491 Taunting Tower

7491 Taunting Tower

Some of the narrow back alleys and walkways appropriately append “Close” to their names.

7494 Call Close

7494 Call Close

Walking up the Royal Mile we noticed motorcycle police passing down the hill clearing the street and we wondered why as we stepped to the sidewalk.

7498 Parting the Crowd

7498 Parting the Crowd

Turning to look back up the street this stoic, fervent and loud parade marched into view. Despite the drums and noise of it, both they and the awed audience seemed to maintain silence.

7501 Loud Silence

7501 Loud Silence

After the rather long and slow procession passed, the mood was powerfully enigmatic as we joined those resuming toward the castle.

7510 Mixed Crowd

7510 Mixed Crowd

Soon the street was packed, so we decided to pause for lunch and found a dining balcony with this view.

7519 View Table

7519 View Table

It seemed there was some other big event coming up, with bleachers set up outside the inner gate making for a happier mood than during the parade.

7522 Royal Smile

7522 Royal Smile

Rather than pay to go inside the next gate, we decided to take the bus tours and found they provide many different perspectives on the castle.

7585 Bus Top to Castle

7585 Bus Top to Castle

We took several tours, and added to castle views they introduced us to many more things of course. Like this monument to Prince Albert depicting the people’s mourning of his passing.

7619 Mourning Albert

7619 Mourning Albert

More castle views from the bus open upper deck provided context with the city skyline.

7673 Castle Context

7673 Castle Context

One tour took us out toward that tower on Calton Hill, where we hopped off for the brief walk up and paused for yet another city view.

7711 More City View

7711 More City View

Looking past a cemetery and beyond an array of architectures was Salisbury Crags, the other main hill gracing the city core from this side.

7715 Ramp Cliff

7715 Ramp Cliff

My camera’s longest zoom revealed some of the hikers enjoying the cliff edge view there.

7734 Selfies & Scenery

7734 Selfies & Scenery

We didn’t go up in the tower, but the surrounding views gave us a tiny taste of what flying low and slow here would be like. As with the city below, there’s also an interesting mix of buildings.

7720 Tower Companions

7720 Tower Companions

Eventually we walked back down the hill and caught another tour bus that provides glimpses of the Holyrood Palace complex.

7765 Holyrood Palace

7765 Holyrood Palace

We have about 400 pix from this glorious day, but I’m merciful. 😉

2018/12/22

Edinburgh Dusk

It was dusk by the time our train rolled into Edinburgh, our little suitcases rolled into the hotel, and we’d unpacked and rolled back out onto the street. Cobblestones seemed ancient, even if new, edged in the green nourished by frequent rain. How far had each of these stones traveled, and when were they formed?

7425 Set In Stone

7425 Set In Stone

After that glance we began to drink in the striking eclectic city skyline.

7447 Mixed Styles

7447 Mixed Styles

Towers beckon from a nearby hill, inviting us to climb up for a look.

7452 Hill of Towers

7452 Hill of Towers

Everywhere are memorials and statues, many adorned with moss and lichen, and defended by birds at the top of their pecking order.

7478 Living Ornamentation

7478 Living Ornamentation

The grand castle of course dominates the skyline, and snapping this I paused to ponder how many images of it must exist in the world by now.

7483 High Point

7483 High Point

The other notable hill in the old city core is this one, popular with hikers who enjoy the high vista it provides.

7487 Viewpoint

7487 Viewpoint

We returned to the hotel eager to explore in daylight, as you’ll see in the next post here.

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