Getting Around Skipton & Manchester

Skipton, Tuesday, 23rd July

I’m finally getting round to getting the next round of my trip journey written up as I had a computer issue – wherein the disk utility determined that there was no access to the internal hard drive. Thankfully, when I got home yesterday (7th Aug), and took it to an Apple shop, that they determined it wasn’t a hard drive failure but rather a faulty cable. So it was an easier fix and less expensive.

As my trip to Manchester was shorter – and rainy – the time I got to wander around was less, so I’ve added it to this post as well. Hopefully the next time I get over, I’ll try and spend a bit more time exploring the city.

I took the train up to Skipton from Epsom, which was a multiple-part trip, carrying luggage around each section through a combination of National Rail trains and Underground trains connections. I got into Skipton and got settled at the guesthouse and set out to exploring the beautiful town. I travelled up by train to Skipton today. One of the things that drew me to Skipton was the scenery seen in Last Tango in Halifax. The stone and brick houses, along with the scenery around the canals were lovely.

Skipton, UK, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton, UK, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton, UK, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton, UK, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

When I was initially doing some research in to what things to see and do, one of the things that struck my interest was Skipton Castle, a medieval castle that’s over 900 years old, and is one of the best preserved in England. The right side of the castle as you approach, is actually still currently inhabited, whilst the sections on the left side are open to the public. as there was so much information to absorb about the castle, I included the link to the Skipton Castle’s website, which has a lot of information available. The Chapel of St. John the evangelist (in the third picture) was built in the 13th century.

Skipton Castle Gatehouse, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton Castle Gatehouse, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton Castle Gatehouse, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton Castle Gatehouse, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton Castle, Skipton, UK  © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton Castle Gatehouse, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton Castle Chapel, Skipton, UK, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton Castle Chapel, Skipton, UK, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton Castle Chapel, Skipton, UK, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Skipton Castle Chapel, Skipton, UK, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

The Conduit Court, Skipton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

The Conduit Court, Skipton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Afterwards, I wandered down, poking through a couple shops before heading down to the canal, where there were short canal boat tours, Pennine Boat Tours, for £3. The tour guide gave us a bit of history of the use of the canals in the area, distances covered with the Leeds and Liverpool Canals. You could get a small bag of duck / swan food for 50p to throw out to the water fowl. There were a few young swans and ducks that were still grey in colour (picture five below).

Canal waterfront, Skipton. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Canal waterfront, Skipton. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Canal waterfront, Skipton. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Canal waterfront, Skipton. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 23rd July 2013

Another section of the Canal, Skipton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Another section of the Canal, Skipton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Canal ride, Skipton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Canal ride, Skipton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Coach Street Bridge, Skipton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Canal, Skipton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Swans and ducks in the canal, Skipton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Swans and ducks in the canal, Skipton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

After my wandering around I headed to the Castle Inn Pub for a wonderful feed of Roast Beef dinner with Yorkshire pudding & vegetables. Then I got caught out in the rain, running much of the way back to the guest house, occasionally darting under the eaves of shops as I went. My clothes were rather soaked by the time I got back, but at least I could put them on a radiator to dry as I took a lovely bath. The next morning, I took another wander through the town, and found a market set up along High Street and I browsed through a few stalls before heading back, signing out and heading to the train station to head on to Manchester via Leeds. I thought I might get to Halifax to do some exploring but that will have to wait until next time as the train station in Halifax doesn’t have a place that I could store my suitcase as I roamed about.

Skipton Train Station, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Skipton Train Station, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Manchester, Wednesday, 24th July
I didn’t have much of a chance to do a lot of wandering around Manchester, but one of the key things I wanted to see was the Manchester Town Hall, of which I’d also seen in Last Tango in Halifax (first scene of the first episode). I loved the architecture of the building, inside and out, and if you’ve gotten this far, you’ll notice I have a thing for arches, doorways and bridges, so you’ll see that in the following pictures. Alas, I wasn’t there in time (which was about 1pm, I believe) for the Town Hall Tour, which is something I would have enjoyed I think, judging by the architecture of the building. I’m beginning to think that my list of things to do next time is getting longer by the day.

Manchester Town Hall Cafe, Manchester, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Manchester Town Hall Cafe, Manchester, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Lobby Staircase, Manchester Town Hall, Manchester, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Lobby Staircase, Manchester Town Hall, Manchester, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Street Cars, Manchester. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

Street Cars, Manchester. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 24th July 2013

I ventured around the town for a walk, heading over to Canal Street for a drink and a chat with a couple locals before heading back to the hostel to relax for a while and get some rest before heading up to Edinburgh the next day.

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Galivanting in Oxford

Sunday, 21 July 2013

I had issues with access to my photoblog which is now finally fixed, and I’ve combined both original posts into one. This is large post full of pictures so it may take time to load.

Pam and I headed off to Oxford about noon and it was a bit of a challenge on the roundabout just just before Oxford as the Sat-Nav voice directions was telling us one set of directions and the visual directions were a little different (and ended up being the more accurate). Then once in to Oxford it had a bit of an issue with finding New Road. I’d been to the Malmaison Oxford hotel before (May 2006) but my cousin had never been, so it was a fun experience to share that with her. We were on A-Wing – which, if you’re a Bad Girls fan, it was HMP Larkhall’s G-Wing and we were on the first floor. The old prison, HMP Oxford, was closed as a prison in 1996 and was used for various filming locations up until 2003 upon which it was bought by Malmaison and converted to a hotel. More about this later, as we are doing a tour of Oxford Castle.

The advertising for the place keeps with the `prison` theme:

This time we’re taking no prisoners.
You’ve been bad. We know. It’s time to pay for all those second-rate hotel rooms, the third rate room service, oh, the travel inn express lodge travesty of it all. This time you’re going down. Guilty as charged.
Imagine a prison that’s a hotel. (I’m sure you’ve stayed in a few). Now imagine a prison that’s suddenly a luxury boutique hotel in Oxford, destination brasserie and hang-out for high-life hoodlums. Pinch yourself. You’re doing time at the Mal.

We got in the room and my cousin remarked that she could stand getting a 20 year sentence if it had been as posh as this. 🙂

I took some photos as we explored the premises, and this time I’ve got a much better camera so the pictures are clearer.

Malmaison Oxford, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

Malmaison Oxford, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

Malmaison Oxford - A Wing, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

Malmaison Oxford – A Wing, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

A Light in the Room, Malmaison Oxford, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

A Light in the Room, Malmaison Oxford, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

Exercise Yard, Malmaison Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

Exercise Yard, Malmaison Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

After we settled our things, we headed off to the Eagle and Child pub for some supper. Had a lovely dinner of a lamb shank and fresh vegetables, and a couple bottles of Dandelion & Burdoch (which we very rarely get in New Brunswick except around the Highland Games time the end of July). I’d hoped that we might be able to get a punting boat ride that evening but they’d already closed, so we decided to do that on Monday now. Instead, we went to the adjacent pub for a glass of wine before heading back to the hotel. I took a few photos of some interesting scenic areas of Oxford that I found interesting.

Thames River Oxford, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

Thames River Oxford, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

The Royal Blenheim, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

The Royal Blenheim, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

Frewin Court, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

Frewin Court, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

Arched Doorway, Museum of the History of Science. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st  July 2013

Arched Doorway, Museum of the History of Science. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 21st July 2013

There was music playing outdoors as we headed back to make for an enjoyable meander in the nice warm weather. The late evening was fairly quiet as we stayed in and relaxed.

Monday, 22nd July

We started the day with a lovely continental breakfast before we did the Oxford Unlocked tour of Oxford Castle (on which grounds the MalOxford hotel is also located). It was really interesting getting the history of the castle and prison as it changed over the hundreds of years that it was a prison; at times quite gruesome for the prisoners. We quite enjoyed the tour and I was able to get some interesting shots of a few rooms.

Inside St. George's Tower, Oxford Unlocked, Oxford, UK © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Inside St. George’s Tower, Oxford Unlocked, Oxford, UK © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Old Prison Room, Oxford Unlocked, Oxford, UK © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Old Prison Room, Oxford Unlocked, Oxford, UK © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

An Old Prison Gate, Oxford Unlocked. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

An Old Prison Gate, Oxford Unlocked. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Oxford Castle Crypt, Oxford Unlocked. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Oxford Castle Crypt, Oxford Unlocked. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Afterwards, we headed over to the Magdaline Boat House and did took a row boat out for a hour with a small map of the route used for the rowing/punting boats. It was probably pretty hot out, but once I kinda got the hang of the rowing, it went pretty well. Though as I was the one rowing, I didn’t get much chance to take any photos until we got onto the tributary of the route.

View from Thames River Tributary Whilst Rowing, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

View from Thames River Tributary Whilst Rowing, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Finally, the last thing before we left Oxford, I took a walk around a bit around Radcliffe Camera, the Bodlien Library exterior, the Bridge of Sighs, the Sheldonian Theatre and Radcliffe Camera. Oxford has some brilliant architecture. And I have to come back again as I still haven’t had a chance to see everything I want to see and do. If you’re a fan of the series Inspector Morse or [Inspector] Lewis, you should recognise some familiar locations there.

Bridge of Sighs, Oxford, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Bridge of Sighs, Oxford, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Bodlien Library (from internal quad), Oxford, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Bodlien Library (from internal quad), Oxford, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Bodlien Library Gate Arch, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Bodlien Library Gate Arch, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 22nd July 2013

Hope you’ve enjoyed the photos; I had a fun time exploring and taking the photographs. See you soon!

A Voyage to Epsom Downs and Brighton

I’m a bit late in getting this out as things have been crazy busy and I’m also working with wonky sleep patterns as I’ve been dealing with some jetlag. However, since I am a bit later, I’ll be adding a few more photos. 🙂 I arrived in Halifax, NS on Wednesday late afternoon, leaving my car with my cousin, John, and we drove out to the airport. I got through the check-in and security with no problems and then waited a few hours before boarding time. The flight was pretty uneventful aside from my right knee occasionally bothering me.

Thursday, 18th July

After arriving at Gatwick Airport, I got through Passport Control without problem and met up with my cousin, Pam, and we went back to hers for a bit to relax, take some pictures of her side gardens upon request. This is one of the shots I took. 🙂

Pam's garden, Epsom, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 18th July 2013

Pam’s garden, Epsom, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 18th July 2013

A bit later on we poked around town a bit when we went to pick up her sister, Jean, then in the evening for supper out at The Rubbing House restaurant at Epsom Downs. We had a lovely meal, dessert and company, and I got a chance to see one of the horse races. This photo is one of them heading up to the starting line.

Epsom-Downs race track, Epsom-Downs, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 18th July 2013

Epsom-Downs race track, Epsom-Downs, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 18th July 2013

Friday, 19th July
Either due to heat or jet lag or both, I hadn’t slept well, but I was looking forward to heading out to Brighton a bit later in the day. It was another glorious sunny day, and was warming up nicely. The drive down to Brighton was quite nice, and actually by the time we arrived there the temperatures had increased quite a bit to about 26C. We walked along the waterfront, heading towards Brighton Pier, taking a look at the views and the various vendors along the way.

Brighton Beach, Brighton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 19th July 2013

Brighton Beach, Brighton, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 19th July 2013

Brighton Pier, Brighton, UK  © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

Brighton Pier, Brighton, UK © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

Me on Brighton Pier. © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

Me on Brighton Pier. © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

Brighton Wheel

Brighton Wheel, Brighton, U © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

Aftwerwards, we ventured over to Harry Ramsden’s for fish & chips before heading up through some of the LGBT area of the city and poked through a couple shops, and I found this wonderful painted rainbow mural on a brick wall.

Painted Pride flag, Brighton, UK.  © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

Pride flag

We then ventured up to the Royal Pavilion. It’s a beautilful building and surrounding grounds. We didn’t really have the time to go through the building then but it’s something on my bucket list of things to do during another trip. I did get a chance to take a quick run through a little of the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, which is something else I’d love to have more time to do on another trip.

The Royal Pavilion Park Entrance. © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

The Royal Pavilion Park Entrance. © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

The Royal Pavilion, © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

The Royal Pavilion, © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

The Royal Pavilion, © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

The Royal Pavilion, © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

We also took a walk up through Brighton Lanes shopping district, where I found a lovely pair of purple shoes at the Doc Marten’s store.

My new shoes

My new shoes

By this time we were rather overheated and decided to head back to the house, so we took an alternate route due to potential backups on the motorways due to accidents. We went up to see Devil’s Dyke at Summer Downs and the beautiful scenery of the area.

Devil's Dyke, Summer Down, UK, © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

Devil’s Dyke, Summer Down, UK, © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

View from Devil's Dyke, Summer Down, UK, © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

View from Devil’s Dyke, Summer Down, UK, © J. L. Stapleton. 18th March 2013

Saturday has been a rather quiet day. See you again soon!