Photoblog: Durham, England

Our third morning in the United Kingdom, we took the train from London Kings Cross Station to Durham, England.

This is where the extra we spent for the first class BritRail Pass paid off. The standard class cars were packed and seemed to be standing room only, while the first class had plenty of room.

And free coffee. Delivered to my big, comfy seat.

I’m referring to my chair. My posterior is neither big nor comfy. And I rarely have coffee delivered to it.

In any case, as we pulled into the Durham train station, the center piece of the town came into site: Durham Cathedral.

Durham Cathedral is considered by most to be the finest example of Norman architecture in the entire British Isles. The Durham Cathedral tower is visible from most anywhere in town.

As you walk up to the Cathedral, the site is impressive. Durham Cathedral is dark and imposing, made of very solid looking stone.

But when you go inside, and walk around the first column so you can see the nave, it takes your breath away. The vaulted ceiling soars more than seventy feet over the floor.

Apparently, there are 325 steps to the top of the tower, and the view is amazing. It was closed when we went, so I didn’t have to decide whether I wanted to climb it.

We visited the Treasures of St. Cuthbert exhibit, primarily to see the Conyers Falchion. This is a sword that was carried by Sir John Conyers, my 27th Great Grandfather.

Legend has it that he used this sword to kill the Sockburn Worm, a dragon that was terrorizing the township of Sockburn, south of Durham. The Conyers Falchion is used to this day in a ceremony to welcome any new Bishop of Durham to County Durham.

Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the Treasures of St. Cuthbert, so I was not able to get any pictures.

The Cloisters of Durham Cathedral was used to represent parts of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies.

Durham Castle was closed for tours when we were there. This was the third castle that had been closed to us. We were starting to worry that it was becoming a trend.

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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.

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