Durham Cathedral Cloister

Durham Cathedral Cloister

A wee bit of background before moving to Durham Cathedral. I met a father and 16-year old son on my second 192 mile Coast-to-Coast walk and we became fast friends. A few years later James attended Durham University; however, he took off one year to attend Boston College. As that was a year I ran the Boston Marathon, James jumped in the race and ran from the iconic Citgo sign to the finish line as my bandit.

Having toured Boston College with James, I was eager to see Durham University with him and his family.

Six hundred year old Durham University is the third oldest university in England incorprates Durham Castle and Palace Green, as well as managing a World Heritage Site in conjunction with Durham Cathedral. The photograph was taken at Durham Cathedral Cloister. An amazing day spent with James and his parents, Rick and Lesley. Not surprising bits of Harry Potter were filmed here.

View from St. Paul’s Cathedral

View from St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul asends 365 feet above London offering stellar views of London. The picture was taken from just under the tip-top ball and cross with a climb of 628 steps. Erl who had completed a year’s training to be a London Guide took me to two other fine churches while adding interesting comments like this is the spot where Sir William Wallace (Braveheart) died and this church’s yard rises six feet above the door’s entrance having been layored with bodies from the plague.

My second grand view of the day was from the 43th floor of One Canada in Canary Warf the “new” skyscraper financial area in London. This was the office of Chris, a special friend met during my first Coast to Coast walk. Chris was taking his father on the C2C walk as his father had begun it decades earlier and had to stop the almost completed 192 mile walk because of family illness. These dear men befriended and led me half-way across their nation. Lunch with Chris easily closed the gap of ten years. His father in his 80’s still walks and is embrassing the technology of a new SmartPhone while Chris has married and is the proud father of two darling girls. As the saying goes it’s the people who make traveling special.

Joanna and I celebrated my last night in London with dinner at a neighborhood French restaurant. Though London comes to a close we delight in our plans for the Camino as she will join me for a week walking in France and another week in Spain. Who would have thought two women walking Scotland’s West Highland’s Way would develop keen friendships, share their homes and other long distance walks.

Ditchling Beacon and Devil’s Dyke

imageThe South Downs

This is the England I dreamt of walking.

Outside of Brighton is Ditchling Beacon, a hill with 360 degree views. It is one site in a chain of locations used for huge bonfires, beacons, to warn of the Spanish Armada invasion in 1588. From Ditching Beacon we walked along South Down Way for six miles. The English Channel was on the distant left while scattered hamlets on the distant right. Tucked in between were rolling hills called Downs with the ubiquitous English sheep. The walk ended at Devil’s Dyke England’s largest dry valley with a half-pint if Bitters at the destination pub