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Ripon Cathedral

Ø July 15 Ripon (Monday)

Monday morning, I was up and to the train station in York to catch the 9:11 train to Harrogate. A 2-carriage service, I was lucky to get the window facing forward on a fairly full train. After a 35-minute ride with a lot of rattling around, after noting an optimal shot from a bridge over the River Nidd (Knaresborough Viaduct?), we arrived. Out the station and down a slight hill to the right was the bus depot. Waiting patiently while a couple discussed every conceivable option for fares, I overheard that tickets were sold on the bus, so I scooted down to catch the #36, unfortunately getting behind a woman lollygagging her bags down the center of the path. Just missing a bus, I updated my journal and started charging my phone, since I had neglected to turn the plug on the evening prior. (Yes, you have to turn wall jacks on/off when using a plug.)

Twelve miles over a 40-minute ride to #Ripon, I sat up top on the ten o’clock double-decker as we rolled north through brilliantly green countryside. A three-minute walk along the Moss Arcade to Minster Road, I encountered the east end first, as the east-west axis parallels the road behind an iron rail fence. With two tall towers at the west entrance and a larger one at the crossing, it took me a quarter hour to circumnavigate.

Originally built as an abbey church in the late seventh century, it served as a minster and parish church through Edward VI’s dissolution and Cromwell’s Civil Wars, becoming the first cathedral to be created after the English Reformation in 1819.

The Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Wilfrid has a warm, wonderful golden glow from the late morning sun as it sits on the top edge of a rise. With side aisles added after the War of the Roses, the nave has good proportions. Light flows in from the 5-panel perpendicular Gothic stained-glass windows in the upper Norman arches supporting the wooden latticework ceiling. The tall Norman arch behind the simple nave altar yields to the crossing and the screen with a massive organ above into the quire.

Wooden hand for organist to signal the beat

Known for its mismatched columns and arches, #RiponCathedral includes all phases of architecture from Anglo-Saxon through Victorian Gothic revival. I found the screen into the quire and the reredos at the high altar to be stunning.

Over the last half-century, the Deans and Chapter have included much modern religious art in the church. From new windows and chapel altars to etched glass and a new pulpit, the revered old blends with the strikingly brilliant new. The crypt has preserved the intent of St Wilfrid, to represent the tomb of the Risen Christ, and the cleverly carved #misericords of the choir stalls can still delight an observer.


I spent over 2 hours exploring and capturing this building, returning to awesome creations and recapturing some intriguing angle or view. While formal tours aren’t scheduled, guides are available to walk and share their knowledge – and to point out unique elements, such as the organist’s wooden hand used to signal beats to the choir. This cathedral moved into my top three favorite sites I’d visited during my trip.

Leaving the Minster-Cathedral about 1:30, I walked down into Ripon and found lunch at The Royal Oak. A “Watered and Fed” lunch consisted of ham, chips, egg and 2/3rds pint of ale. It came with chutney, fries and a rocket salad, and was terrific. [My waitress was a

ginger. Since arriving, and particularly as I moved north, I’d seen more and more redheads. She said it was Cornwall, in the southwest, and the Scots heritage.] I suspect, from the picture, that the ale was an amber.

En route from Ripon to Harrogate

Catching the bus an hour later, I’d had a short opportunity to view the town. Again sitting up top, I got a few shots of the countryside.

Back in #Harrogate, the train was due in 45 minutes, so I decided to explore. Gardening seems to be part of civic pride there, as window boxes and public gardens are all well-tended. While lightly populated, there were a number of pedestrian-only walkways in the commercial center.

Harrogate Public Gardens

Back at the station, the platform was rather full to board the 3-carriage train to York. In a double paired seating, I sat with two women heading to London who, by their conversation, seemed to be related. York proved to be the end of the line, requiring everyone to disembark and, as necessary, seek another train. I exited the station into a bright, sunny, warm late afternoon and decided to have a pint before going on a wander. At The Graduate I had a Punk, an IPA from BrewDog.

Contemplating a walk to the Minster, only evening prayers were to be offered, so I decided that beer was a better choice. Besides, my shoulders, neck and back were complaining, probably due to the amount of walking with my small backpack, and the ever present rock-hard firm English mattresses. From the pub I pushed a few pictures up to Facebook, and did a snarly review of the blog process for Wix, the platform used to build my website. Twenty-twenty retrospect, it actually seems to have done some good!

By 7pm I was ready for dinner. I walked into an Italian restaurant, only to be told I could have a table for 45 minutes, as it was reserved. Not wanting to be rushed, I moved along as I didn’t want to be rushed. Then I entered Ambiente, a tapas place. Starting with a small Albariño, my order of pan Catalan, tajine de Cordero (lamb), Buñuelos de pescado (fishcakes with aioli) and judias verdes (green beans). Once I finished my white wine, I asked for a larger Bobal. I was sitting upstairs overlooking Fossgate, close to the river and an easy walk back to the Inn. The food arrived all at once – the Brits haven’t spent enough time in Spain, to know that the plates arrive slowly, one after another. So I felt overwhelmed with so much food, besides feeling rushed. The beans were awesome, and I think I can duplicate the recipe. (From an email: simple haricot vert. Done with garlic that had no presence on the plate (not that I would care), pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes diced up into pieces smaller than the pine nuts.) [I haven’t tried it yet in Florida, but will soon.] The fish cakes were interesting, with a flavor I couldn’t identify in the back of the throat, which I felt was similar to smoke; they included potato. The lamb was unfortunately overwhelmed with spices. The starter, the bread, was a bust, thick, and overtoasted, a bit like bruschetta but bland.

Finishing, I felt the urge for a cognac and chocolate. The waiter gave me a card for a free glass of wine at their sister restaurant/pub, supposedly up the street. Well, I couldn’t find it, so Wrong Way Ken wound up in a quaint wine bar where the barkeep suggested a Calvados, which was awesome. At the bar I spoke with a couple, architectural archeologists, and shared my website and book information. (She’s from DC.) After they left and I spoke more with the barkeep, I followed the river back.

The Nikon battery had died, and the full moon cried out for photos, so I squeezed out a few more shots before returning to the room. After my Internet tasks, and packing, I was ready to crash.

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