By Day 37 we were driving up the M6 to Burnley. At times through torrential rain and believe me it was very scary with those huge trucks spraying so much water and it was really hard to see. Plus other cars still think the motorway is a race track no matter the weather.
The Burnley College visit for Philip was inspiring but Burnley itself didn’t come with too many positives. Row upon row of tiny houses locked side by side looked pretty grim. They were all established during the industrial revolution and hundreds of cotton mills filled this area. A few chimneys are remaining, but its hard to imagine how grim it must have been. We chose to stay out in the country, a beautiful 20 minutes drive through some very narrow lanes in a Village called Barley. The hotel was lovely and the village so tiny, but each night it was full of locals and guests in the bar, many of which had come to walk the famous Pendle Hill. This imposing monster is immediately behind the village.
Pendle is famous for the witches that were hung after the Pendle trials. The trials of the Pendle witches in 1612 are among the most famous witch trials in English history, and some of the best recorded of the 17th century. The twelve accused lived in the area around Pendle Hill in Lancashire, and were charged with the murders of ten people by the use of witchcraft.
They certainly still have an influence and create and eerie feeling.
I took a couple of hours off my work and decided to walk up the hill since the girl in the Hotel said she ran and walked it most days.
It was so000…. steep. After walking through several farm fields the track became stone steps and it took me over an hour to reach the vast field at the top. It was a stunning view and the day was sunny and warm. I did find the simpler track back!! The hill dominates the landscape and many very cute villages are dotted around its base.
Lancashire was a complete surprise. The countryside is so pretty and the trees by now are turning orange and red. Our time in the Uk is running out and we drove through Clithero, Shipton and the very beautiful Ilkley to spend a night in York and the Village of Elton in Cambridgeshire for our last weekend in the UK.
I hate one night stops but occasionally it is better than not going at all.
The medieval centre of York is Delicious!! Even in the dark on the night we arrived you could see its charm and quaintness. An early morning walk meant we made it around most of the walls , through a beautiful garden with the remains of the oldest wall and abbey, which thanks to Henry V111 was closed and most of its stone used for other buildings, plus we met a lovely old man feeding the squirrels nuts which seemed to be his Sunday morning job.
A breakfast stop with a good hearty English breakfast set us up for the day, along with the essential espresso.
York Minster towers over the narrow lanes and although we didn’t get to see through the whole church because of a very smart wedding, its history is evident in the very good church museum in the crypt.
An afternoon driving south took us past large industrial areas and several scary looking electricity power stations evidently fed by coal..
We found another great hotel – this time in the tiny village of Elton with a thatched roof and an elegant bedroom. The village sits beside the river Niene made famous for the ‘Wind in the Willows’ stories.
I can recommend a website called ‘Sawdays’ – it has a selection of small hotels off the beaten tracks .
Retracing our journey by 10 minutes meant we could spend the day in Stamford. Our daughter in law Holly’s Grandparents live here as well as her Aunt and Uncle. We had no idea it was so picturesque. Full of wonderful architecture and very very old buildings plus a lot of churches !! Beside the village is the huge Burghley Estate – famous for the Horse trials and another Lancelot Capabilty Brown landscaped park, which surrounds the massive house of the Duke of Exeter. It is still privately owned and lived in, but the grounds are open to the public and many locals were out with their children and dogs enjoying the Estate.
It’s day 42 and our journey has taken us from Italy, France, Normandy, Scotland and England. It isn’t ‘over’ since Philip continues his Sabbatical visits in Canada for another two weeks plus we have a 4 day break in San Francisco. Finally a week in Rarotonga with our family for my nieces wedding.