The site is very picturesque and there are views for miles across the plains. This also means that the wind whips through, as it was on the day we visited. We took a quick walk around, a couple of photos, and ran back to the car.
We had the rest of the day, so visited the Derwent Pencil Museum, home of the world's first pencil. This was an interesting little place and we learned some about graphite mining and pencil making. The tickets to get in are pencils.
The most interesting story to me was one about secret map pencils used in World War II to get messages behind enemy lines. Special pencils were hollowed out and tiny maps and compasses were inserted and then bomber pilots could get them to POW camps to facilitate escape. It was fascinating.
From Keswick we headed to York. We drove the car to Carlisle, which is a little town not too far from Lanercost, which is where we started the English portion of our trip. This ended the circuitous route we had been on for the last week or so. We got on the train in Carlisle and headed across some new territory to York. Neither one of us could remember exactly why we decided to go to York, but once we were there we loved it.
The history lesson: York is an historic walled city at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. York was founded by the Romans in 71 AD. In the Middle Ages, it grew as a major wool trading center and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of The Church of England, a role it has retained. The York Minster is the most prominent historic attraction. It is the cathedral of York and one of the largest of its kind in northern Europe. The Minster is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second highest office of the Church of England. It's big, beautiful and very important in the church scheme of things.
We arrived on the train and walked to our guesthouse, which wasn't too far. There are four gates that permit entry through the walls and one of them was between the train station and our destination. We got our first glimpse of the river on our walk.
We took a walk on the wall to see some of the sights and then came down near the art museum and spent an hour or so in there. They had an exhibit of Picasso's pottery which was interesting.
The other highlights were a visit to the National Railway Museum and the Minster. The Railway Museum was really interesting. It's large and has actual rail cars in there from antique ones to more modern. Some private carriages are there, too, and you can see how royalty traveled in their own luxury train cars.
The Minster is huge and breathtaking. We didn't take a guided tour but listened to some of the groups and wandered around on our own. I found it impossible to get a good picture that showed the immense size and grandeur of this building.
Constantine the Great: proclaimed Roman Emperor in York in AD 306. The age of things here is astounding.
Then we were off again by train (a very modern one) south to Oxford to prepare to drive again for a couple of days through the Cotswolds.