Last Summer we took our first big cruise from South Yorkshire to York in our floating home. By car it would take around an hour to get to York from where we have our permanent mooring in South Yorkshire, but on our canal boat last summer, we enjoyed a leisurely week or so of cruising, with a few exciting moments and experiences along the way, a truly enjoyable cruise along, approximately 19 miles of the industrial South Yorkshire Navigation, 6 miles of the very straight, yet interesting New Junction Canal with it’s, quite different swing and lift Bridges, then 9 miles of the Aire and Calder Navigation with it’s stretching views over the English countryside. We then met the tranquility of the Selby Canal, with it’s 5 miles of
low bridges and abundance of nature, especially remembering the darting dragon flies, colourful birds, not to mention the green carpet covering the water. The excitement of tackling 14 miles along the tidal River Ouse was next, we actually bought life jackets for that stretch! As we thankfully reached Naburn Lock, the mighty River Ouse became calmer and a little more restful, giving us time to enjoy the last, approximately 4 mile cruise entering the busy stretch of water into York centre, we crazily did a few 360 degree twirls as we tried to moor, not intentional I might add! We had the most amazing time as we cruised from Rotherham to York along some of UK’s beautiful waterways last Summer.
If you’d like to catch up with our big canal journey to York, then below is;
We finally moored up in York!
It seemed such an adventure for us and we were quite proud of ourselves, in fact we are talking about doing the same trip again this July/August and staying a little longer, but this time going even further, through York towards Ripon. We’d put so much effort into the preparations and planning of last years trip and, after mooring, setting up our chairs on the bank and enjoying a beer, we looked around at the beautiful surroundings we were lucky to be in, slowly beginning to relax and enjoying watching the activities passing us on the river; the river cruise boats with waving passengers, (funny how people have the urge to wave at everybody when on a boat), plenty of canoeists who seemed to be training, a few brilliantly decorated ice-cream boats and then there were a variety of unusual floating constructions.
Straight away we’d made the decision to stay a few extra days than originally planned.
We were finally happy with our mooring in the middle of York facing the way in which we’d just come, looking toward the Millennium Bridge, which is such a fabulous structure and certainly adds to an evenings’ romanticism when various colours begin to glow from it as the darkness draws in.
A Cyclists City
The first thing we noticed while sat enjoying a beer on the canal path, watching the world go by around our new temporary home, was that everybody here seems to cycle everywhere. Looking away from the water, parallel to the tow path was a pedestrianised street, no cars were allowed. There were many people, some walking fast and purposefully to wherever they were going, some meandering with their dogs and children, but there were noticeably many more cyclists than we had ever seen in any town or city, (apart from when I went to Amsterdam). Over the 4 days we were there, we saw elderly people on their cycles, men in suits with their briefcases fastened to their bikes, there were men and women peddling ahead of their family of little cyclists, their young children already quite proficient. There were young fast ones weaving in between the others and ‘steady-away’ cyclists obviously very used to their daily routes, with shopping in their baskets. I even saw a man pulling along a cot on wheels, presumably with a baby inside and another pulling a tow-a-long for a dog. Watching this busy cycling scene made me immediately think of one thing – I needed to cycle more!
York is a beautiful city and every time we visit we seem to find something new. As we walked the dogs from where we were moored, we came across this stunning site up on a mound, which seemed to pop up from nowhere amongst the busy traffic. The sun just happened to catch it perfectly, we were drawn to it.
Clifford’s Tower is all that remains of York Castle, built by William the Conquerer around 1068. It was originally built in wood, was burnt down during a massacre of York’s Jewish community, who were taking refuge there in 1190. Apparently the mound is full of planted daffodil bulbs to commemorate the deaths, which come into full bloom in Spring. The present castle was rebuilt in 1245 in stone. It has a fascinating history as it has been a prison and mint in it’s time. As a prison, it housed the famous highwayman Dick Turpin, who was later executed in York in 1739. Clifford Tower is owned and maintained by The English Heritage and you are allowed in, for small fee, to learn about the history of the castle and you can walk along the high walls to see the views of York and beyond.
Wanting to understand a little more of this wonderful cities’ history, I took to Wikipedia. If you’d like to read about the history click Here. It is truly fascinating reading about York go through such radical changes during its time along with its many rulers, including Roman Emperors from 71 AD to the 5th century when the Angles settled and also various Kings. The city was also captured by the Vikings around 866, which saw the start of York being part of extensive trading routes. Then of course around 1066, there was the Norman conquest of England with William the Conqueror coming onto the scene. It was around 1080 when a cathedral started to be built, which in time became the infamous York Minster.
During our stay in York while Jon was at work, I made sure I visited the Minster. I’ve seen it many times from the outside, but this time I’d treat myself for a wander inside too. Time always seems to stand still as you look up in awe at this fabulous building.
Of course there’s Emperor Constantines’ statue to admire.
“Constantine came to Britain with his father, the emperor Constantius, in 305. Constantius died in July the following year in York.
“The system of succession at the time demanded that another Caesar should become emperor, but the soldiers in York immediately proclaimed Constantine their leader. It proved to be a pivotal moment in history. He is known as Constantine the Great for very good reasons”. History of York.org
Read a little more about Emperor Constantine Here
The detail on the stonework around the whole of the vast structure is just incredible, I’m afraid my photo’s don’t do it justice.
I spent quite a while just staring at the carvings on these arches.
Inside this magnificent building you are equally taken aback.
If anyone intends to visit for the first time, just make sure you have plenty of time to wander at your leisure, it’s incredible.
I tried different ways to get the beauty of the windows
Such detail!! Love the dog at his feet!
Everywhere you turn there are beautifully carved statues!
Part of the inscription on his statue in York Minster by John Fisher reads,
“In private life, he was benevolent, and sincere;
His charities were extensive and secret;
His whole heart was founded on principles
Of generosity, mildness, justice, and universal candour.
In public, the patron of every national improvement;
In the senate, incorrupt;
In his commerce with the world, disinterested.”
There is so much to see as you wander around this vast minster with breathtaking, ornate walls, windows and ceilings. The statues and artwork are incredible and down in the crypt there is a fascinating tour into the history and succession of Roman Emperors.
As I was there, organ pipes sounded out, wow what a beautiful sound!
(Sorry, not great photo’s). Parts of the organ date back to 1834 and it’s having the first refurbishment in 100 years this year. Read, (and see better photographs) about it Here.
I loved visiting the Minster again, certainly well worth the £11.50
Of course, as you walk anywhere around York, you are surrounded by history with many of its historic churches and medieval buildings popping up on every street and around every corner in and amongst the busy modern life which engulfs the city. I’m sure an individual blog post could be easily written on each and every building!
There was some great choice of street food in York, but we tended to aim for this little place with their delicious Galette’s
We loved living in York for a few weeks, hopefully we’ll be back this coming summer too. We’re still planning this years cruise which depends on where Jon’s working at the time.
Just a few more picky’s of this beautiful (and one of my favourite) cities.
I hope you’ve enjoyed wandering around York with me.
Have a great day! 😍
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