What’s New and What’s Old in Runcorn and Widnes

Yesterday I picked up friend Ann from her home in Widnes and we’re now spending a few days ‘Sleeping with Books‘ at Gladstone’s Library. After my two-night stay last year I thought it would be interesting to spend a few days in the area and in particular to visit Chirk Castle, which has been on my ‘list’ for a long time.

Widnes is only just over half an hour from Hawarden (home to Gladstone’s Library) and Ann wanted to show me a few sights in her local area. Our first stop was to view the new bridge, The Mersey Gateway Bridge, currently edging its way across the River Mersey.

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Frosty Morning at Fountains Abbey

Earlier in the week I decided that on Thursday I’d head off to Fountains Abbey and have a walk, a bite to eat and be home early afternoon. Thursday dawned very frosty but the roads were fine and the car park almost empty when I arrived. I’ve posted several times about my visits to Fountains including  here, here and here. But I visit many more times than I have posted – it is just such a beautiful place to walk and think and enjoy the views and the Georgian landscape and its follies.

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Fountains Hall

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Edinburgh Houses

 

It was meant to be a quiet, stay-at-home, reading-in-the-boudoir week (most of October, in fact) but irresistible opportunities for travel turned up and I resisted none of them!

When friends asked if I would a share a day with them in Edinburgh I leapt at the chance. It’s possible to do the trip in a day from Leeds. I’ve done it before. I spent one Saturday in August six years ago at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which is just confined to the limits of Charlotte Square.

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Charlotte Square in Autumn

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Lanercost Priory

On our way up to Scotland in June we travelled via The Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle and Lanercost Priory. At The Bowes we looked at the latest exhibition Shoes : Pleasure and Pain; saw the famous automaton Swan in limited action and enjoyed a lovely selection of portraits of English women: English Rose – Feminine Beauty from Van Dyck to Sargent. Our Art Fund cards gave us free admission to everything and the Museum – a French Chateau plonked down in the Yorkshire Dales – has a good cafe and well-stocked shop.

Bowes Museum

The Bowes Museum

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Footloose in the Scottish Borders

When it came to deciding last autumn which of the ATG programme of Footloose independent walks to choose for this summer’s expedition we found that we are running out of level 2/3 walks in places that we thought would be interesting. We also considered a return to Northumberland where we spent 4 self-catering holidays (before taking up this hotel-to-hotel walking lark) and where there is still so much to see and do. In the end I came up with the idea that we should do the 5 Day Scottish Borders Walk and follow this with a 3 night recovery period in a cottage in Northumberland. So this was what we did the last week in June. Our cottage was right on the Border just outside Cornhill-on-Tweed.

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Lightpipe Cottage near Cornhill-on-Tweed

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