Brian Combs

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Photoblog: Raby Castle

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Our second day in Durham, we rented a car so we could get around. The top priority of the day was to visit Sockburn, but we weren’t going to be able to access that property until the afternoon.

So, in the morning, we headed to Raby Castle.

Raby Castle was built in the 12th century by the powerful Neville family. Joan Beaufort married Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, and Joan is my half 3rd cousin, 21 times removed.

That makes the Neville (other than Joan’s kids), well, no blood relation to me at all, but they’re some sort of cousin-in-law or something.

The Nevilles held Raby Castle until the Rising of the North. They led the rebellion supporting Mary, Queen of Scots, and were stripped of titles and land when Elizabeth I put the rebellion down.

First of all, let me say something about driving in England… Driving on the right side of the road wasn’t hard. We all drive on one-way streets, so it’s not that big a deal.

What was tough was tracking through the lane properly. More than 25 years of driving was screaming at me that I should have the left edge of the lane just over my left shoulder. I kept drifting that way.

The Wife was sure I was going to take the mirror off the car. And, as she was sitting on the left side, she had a good view!

We got the full insurance, but there was a 100 pound deductible. I seriously thought about offering them 80 pounds, in exchange for paying the deductible up front.

In any case, I never hit anything. But I did come close.

The roundabouts are everywhere. We had a GPS, so it told us when we were coming up on them. But they don’t all look like roundabouts. Once, I was through the roundabout before I even knew we were there.

Another time, I missed my turn out of the roundabout. I was supposed to take the third exit, but never even saw the first two.

Some of the country roads are quite narrow, but we were fortunate in that we never came across anyone going the opposite direction when it was that narrow.

So, we made it to Raby Castle, intact, but with slightly elevated blood pressure. We were a bit worried, as the last three castles we had gone to had been closed to visitors.

Fortunately, our luck had turned and the castle was open.

The grounds were immaculate, with perfectly manicured lawns and gardens. There were herds of semi-domesticated deer all over the place.

The inside was just as amazing, although photography was not allowed. There was one disturbing rug, however. It was made from a cocker spaniel, that I can only assume was once a family pet.

Tech Notes: All images shot on my Nikon D200 with either a Sigma 24-70 or a Sigma 15-30 lens. Images were processed in Photoshop Elements.

Written by Brian Combs

August 1st, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Posted in Photoblog,United Kingdom

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