Field Trip Fridays have been an exciting time to explore the city that we call home during this year in England. Last week we completed a tour of both Durham Castle and Cathedral. We wanted to take a climb up to the very top tower above the bells however that became too much for one day of touring so this Friday we came back for that vertical hike. Durham Cathedral is 1,000 years old. Having seen nothing in American that old we can not get enough of this magnificent structure. Anything over 200 years old in American is most likely under glass somewhere. I find myself wanting to flatten myself against one of these walls or columns and give that ancient building a big hug. I find it an incredibly comforting place to visit.
The four of us walked into city centre. No matter what side of the river Wear that people live on they all walk downhill into the city and uphill, quite steeply, on the way home. It is about a 200 foot change over a 1 and 3\4 mile walk. After coming to city centre there is another steep walk up to the cathedral as it sits, strategically on the highest knoll in Durham. That being said all of our exploring Durham on Google Earth from the U.S. did little to prepare our bodies for the degree of walking that is actuality here in 3D. We will be in great shape upon our return. Rob does this walk, both ways each day to the University so we shan’t complain.
After arriving at the Cathedral we joined the “Friend’s of the Cathedral” this membership will keep us informed of “what’s on” and pays for itself in one climb up the tower. Now we can come and climb anytime we like, or need a workout. Better than a gym membership and truly the best stair master workout anywhere around.
We ate our picnic lunch and did a bit of scientific study while we ate. We are learning to classifiy the kingdoms plantea and animalia this semester and we found a great specimen while eating our lunch.
Evidently there are “bats in the belfry” here.
There are 325 steps up to the top of the Cathedral tower. We have climbed a number of lighthouses before this felt a bit like climbing about 3 of them in a row. There are a lot of interesting things to see on the way up.
The cathedral is criss-crossed above with passages and doors the monks once used to travel from one side to the other. All of these are locked now but our camera could peak into a few.
We continued up the stairs and arrived at the top of Durham. Completely a birds eye view.
We really enjoyed the view from the top. A group of school children below appeared like ants. It was well worth the hike to see see this lovely area that is all around us.
We headed back down the 300+ stairs and hiked home. I think we will return again on a warm night for a picnic sunset dinner.
What fun. I love that you joined the Friends of the Cathedral. It brings back memories of our time in Worcester and our love of Worcester Cathedral.
I would love to hear more about your time there. Y’all have had such adventures.
I remember as a kid climbing up the Statue of Liberty which had around the same number of stairs as Durham Cathedral. My father wanted to take the elevator but we talked him into taking the stairs.
Old cathedrals are incredible marvels–no modern machines or tools. The stone steps leading upward in the towers to the prayer rooms are worn down by thousands of pilgrims’ feet climbing over the centuries. Workers who built these cathedrals dedicated their lives to God and took great pride in their work.
When you get the chance, you will want to visit Canterbury Cathedral and see when Thomas a’Becket was murdered. Keep us up to date on your visits and insights. I personally will be interested in hearing about your course work when you begin.–Blessings to you and your family, Barry Nowlin