The North East
A good clear run from our site in the Scottish Borders to our next site at Barnard Castle, Teesdale, County Durham. We drove around Gateshead where we briefly saw the Angel of the North a huge iron structure by Antony Gormley. We arrived at Barney, as the locals call Barnard Castle, unhitched and got settled then the weather came in. Luckily we had finished our outside jobs so we were happy to stay inside for a bit.
Barnard Castle is the home of The Bowes Museum. We took a walk from the site through the nature reserve, across the River Tees and into town. A nice market town with plenty of shops and people. Just a little out of town was The Bowes Museum. The Bowes Museum was purpose-built as a public art gallery for John Bowes and his wife Josephine. They were great collectors and wanted to share their collections. The building is in a grand French style within landscaped gardens. Its contents are priceless, consisting of unique Napoleon relics, splendid picture galleries, a collection of old china, clothes, silverware….. In fact a collection of art objects of every kind. The most famous, and expensive single item, is the Silver Swan automaton which is run once a day. This was beautiful. The craftmanship superb, built in 1773 – made by the man who invented inline roller skates apparently. The art collection was varied and it is hard to believe that some of the paintings are over 400 years old. They look so vibrant and new. It’s astounding that such a fabulous building was only ever designed to be a public museum and not a house. The building had many many windows but hardly any were un-shuttered from the inside. We spent a few hours touring the musuem before grabbing a teacake and a cuppa and heading back to the site. Again, we managed to miss the rain. We had barely been back 10 minutes and the heavens opened.
Not far away were the High Force Waterfalls purported to be the highest waterfall in England although Wikipedia disputes this and lists others. Despite this it was a pleasant walk (after paying a minimum of £3 to park for 3 hours and £1.50 to walk to the falls) in a slight mizzle to the falls. We didn’t stay too long as the midges found us sat on the rocks. I would have handed my parking ticket to someone else to use the remaining 2hours 10minutes but as it had our registration number on, I couldn’t do this.
With some time to fill we went to Egglestone Gardens which was listed in my BBC Gardeners World magazine for entry of “2 for the price of 1”. This was part garden centre and part gardens which they open to the public. Through the gardens were the remains of an old churchyard and church. We didn’t know how long the church had been derelict but there were two very substantial trees growing inside the walls; there was no roof. The earliest grave stones we could read were 1770’s and the latest the 1880’s so it had been in use for at least 100 years.
The garden centre had a mini version the Angel of the North so I was able to get my picture by the Angel.
The day before we were due to leave for Leamington, the weather was overcast and rainy and there was nothing in particular we wanted to do. There were places we could go to but nothing that really took our fancy on such a dreary day so we decided to move a day early. I rang the site near Leamington to check they could accommodate us a day early and within half and hour we were packed up and on the road and heading to the end of our Summer 2019 road trip.
When we are back in Cornwall I will be able to go through the photos again and the blogs and pick out the highlights of our tour. We have had a fantastic time and look forward to another adventure.