Yesterday we drove from Lyndon Top by Rutland Water to Finchale Abbey site near Durham. Our main reason for spending the weekend here is to take the van back to Tyne Valley Motorhomes, the dealer we bought it from. We need to have a damp check after some repair work they did under warranty in January. We chose this site for a couple of reasons:
- It is in a lovely setting beside the river Wear
- It is advertised as being within walking distance of the City of Durham
We like sites that are within walking distance of interesting places, so we booked it. There are, however, a couple of problems that we couldn’t have foreseen. The first is that the ‘pitch’ we have paid £23 a night for is in fact a parking place along an access road. There is a caravan with its front windows just feet from our door and we have almost no space to spread out outside. Given that Lyndon Top is £7 a night for as much space and scenery as you can imagine it feels a bit pricey and a bit sore to boot. In effect we are paying an additional £16 a night for the use of electric hook up and the shower block.
The other ‘issue’ is the description of walking distance. We walked into Durham and back today. Our Fitbits tell us that it was 24,000 steps and 10.5 miles with the equivalent of 41 flights of stairs scaled. To me that is a hike not a walk, but perhaps I’m a wimp. Right now our lower limbs are not in a good state of repair and there’s a good chance that getting out of this seat will involve a lot of grunting.
After our long walk into town and it being Sunday we decided to worship at the Big Breakfast Cathedral (Wetherspoons). We had walked the 5 miles into the city with nothing other than a cup of tea so we felt we had earned it. If I was the kind of person who took photos of their food I would have shared its magnificent proportions with you but I’m more of a dive in and eat it while it’s hot kind of a girl. After recovering with 1500 calories of breakfast (how I wish they didn’t feel that they needed to share that fact with us on their menus) and two mugs of coffee we set off up the hill to Durham’s famous landmark, diverting only to amble around a couple of outdoor shops.
What can’t be denied is the sheer majesty of Durham Cathedral with its breathtaking array of modern and ancient stained glass, fantastic sculptures and an incredible energy that breathes centuries of expressions of human spirituality. Photography isn’t allowed in the cathedral so I can only share links of the images that inspired us but if you get the chance have a look at the tomb of St Cuthbert, ‘The Transfiguration’ stained glass window and the wooden sculpture ‘La Pieta‘. They have also created an enormous Lego sculpture of the cathedral where visitors can pay to put bricks in place. A great fund raising idea and a real work of art.
Bill Bryson described Durham Cathedral as the most beautiful cathedral in the world. I haven’t seen them all, and I doubt he has either, but I am inclined to believe him. It was a moving and inspiring couple of hours and we could have spent a lot longer if the thought of the long walk back wasn’t making us apprehensive… as in ‘will my legs keep going?’ kind of apprehensive.
So tomorrow we move on to Melrose after Holly gets her corners checked out to enjoy three days in another of our favourite spots. We’ll be meeting up with friends and enjoying the delights of this lovely Borders town.
Just before I sign off, I have a confession. For the last 10 days we haven’t managed a single run on our Couch to 5k programme. Being at back to back Motorhomer’s meets meant that we had too much fun going on. So, it will be starting again for us on Tuesday. Let’s hope the residents of Melrose don’t get too upset by the sight of two grannies in lycra trotting through the town.