Reality is on the blink again, as Douglas Adams once said. The trees in the snowdrop woods are wearing scarves, and what we thought was the bothy, beside the walled garden, is now Badger’s house. Meanwhile, the deer in the park have gathered just about as far from all this fun as possible. Are we surprised?
Saturday 16 November: off to Edinburgh, on the train from Crewe.
Sunday: an ice-cold start on the Forth’s shore at Newhaven and Leith, then up Leith Walk (on foot, of course) for a brief spot of tourism in Edinburgh’s old town.
Monday: another frosty morning. This time we’ll use the old railway track to Scotland Street, and we’ll visit Calton Hill and the National Museum of Scotland. A full day wouldn’t have done justice to the museum, and we’ve only got a couple of hours before our train for home.
Tuesday: a day off, and an hour or so of fresh air down by the Severn, where the bridge is looking good in the late-afternoon light.
Wednesday: away at the crack of dawn for a rail exploration of parts of Lancashire, which doesn’t quite go according to plan. We miss a train in unexpected fashion in Wigan, before finding ourselves (briefly) in Blackburn and Clitheroe.
(further photographic exploration to follow)
Friday: it’s a better day – bright and sunny, great for photography. It’s also very cold – we won’t hang around. Apart from one or two groups of schoolchildren, it’s quiet at Blists Hill. I think all the visitors are in the several houses – the doctor’s house, the squatters’ cottage, the toll house – in front of their warm fires.
…and various other autumn fruits. Once again, we’re dodging the showers in Attingham Park. It seems busy – others have had the same idea, though once we’re half-a-mile or so from the entrance, it’s much quieter. Some sad soul has kicked what were probably fine fungi into many fragments – but there are still one or two splendid specimens for the camera.
They call it the un-stately home. Only a very tiny part of the interior is restored – mostly it’s as found, preserved as left, unbelievably cluttered and in places semi-derelict. Spooky? The best bit is the last – how do we escape? Through dark cellars and tunnels – is there light at the end?
Sounds like “cork”… Wednesday – a fine a sunny day. It’ll be too wet underfoot for a walk – there’s been a good deal of heavy rain. How about a visit to Calke Abbey?
There’s a lot to see here – too much for a single visit. There are some splendid outbuildings and a wonderful walled garden – let’s take a look at those first…
…in the greenhouse and the walled garden at Attingham. We’re taking a short leg-stretch, staying close to civilisation as there’s a chance of a heavy shower (inevitably, as we’ve taken a brolly, it stays dry). It’s very busy here today – car parks overflowing, with visitors to a classic car rally, but we’ll keep away from that, walking around the perimeter of the estate where there are relatively few others. As we near the end of our wander, we pass through the walled garden, where there’s plenty of summer colour.