Thursday, April 23, 2009

St. George And The White Horse

(Click the photos to enlarge them - it really makes a difference)

Today is St. George's Day, the national saint of England. 

It's only a guestimate, but I'd have to think that 75% of English people wouldn't have a clue about it and yet they'd have no problem knowing the date for St. Patrick's Day.

Anyway it's not for me to have a moan (as I'm not English !) so instead I'll explain the reason for this post title.  As dragons are few and far between in England these days, I went off for a trip yesterday to see a white horse instead.

You see, I was sitting here at home wanting to go somewhere local and as you can imagine, finding somewhere new to visit is very hard. Then the midday local news came on tv and they were running a piece about the best views in Yorkshire and mentioned a place called Sutton Bank.  I'd never been there before and so I looked it up on a map and thought........that's the place for me. 

About 45 minutes later I was approaching the picturesque village of Kilburn which is overlooked by Sutton Bank, an escarpment famous for The White Horse cut into it's side.  The cutting was done in 1857 and given our habit of vandalising everything in this country, I'm quite amazed it's still there.

Here is yours truly not looking much like a farmer at all - with said white horse up and over on the left.

See the little house in the middle of the photo ?  Well I thought it looked so lovely that it deserved a close up all to itself...and here it is.  The owners like to tour as well as there is an RV parked next to the house. Yes, these are obviously my kind of people.

I then drove a bit further along the road towards the car park closest to the climb up to the white horse and took another photo of it - the horse that is and not the car park.

When I parked up, avoided the ice cream van that always seems to be at such tourist locations and started up the steps, I soon realised I wasn't as fit as I thought I was.  Mind you those steps went up almost vertically so I have to think there is another way to get to the top as those in wheelchairs, old people and obese Americans would never make it. I barely did and had to take a break about every 4 steps and even then I could feel my heart pumping in my ears - which isn't where it should be at all.

At the top and after another short rest with a large brandy for medicinal purposes, the walk became much easier.  This photo shows the level path along the top and you can see a small part of the horse on the right.  I think the view is looking Southwards as it was mid afternoon and the sun was over on the right !

It's often difficult to capture certain views with a still camera but hopefully this next photo gives an idea of the height I was at and the lovely Yorkshire scenery way below me.  This was the Vale Of York laid out like a beautiful green carpet complete with farms and dry stone walls enclosing sheep filled fields. 

Try saying that with a lisp !

This next photo pulls back a bit to show more of the top of the escarpment and it also shows some walkers making their way along the side of the airfield (to their right) which is the home of the Yorkshire Gliding Club. I'll post glider photos on another post as for now, I just want to concentrate on Sutton Bank.

This penultimate shot shows a man kindly standing at the edge, looking across at one of the gliders taking off.  I felt it shows the height once again and as I'd not brought a tripod with me, it had to be demonstrated by a stranger and not me.  After the first photo in this set, that's probably a good thing.

Finally I've added a panorama shot but it's not much good as it was a quick hand held effort and in order to upload it on here, I've have to reduce the quality so much that when you enlarge it, it doesn't enlarge much at all. It's just made me want to return to Sutton Bank with a tripod and do it properly.

So there you have it.  Sutton Bank in God's own county, Yorkshire.  Well worth a visit and I'm sure St. George did just that 1700 years ago when out looking for dragons to slay.

"Look, faithful serf, that seems like a good spot for creating a white horse."

"Brilliant idea, your saintship, sir.  That'll get you remembered for sure."

"Ok but not today. Maybe I'll see to it on the way back."

Sadly for him, his ye olde GPS sent him an alternative way on his trip back and the rest is history.


Daphne said...

One of my very favourite views - it's just stunning and there are some lovely walks round there too. Can I just add to your reminder to click on the photos to enlarge them?- it's SO well worth it!

Jennyta said...

Gorgeous photos - almost as nice as north Wales! Just one question - how did you take a photo of yourself?

Silverback said...

Self timer and a handy fence post.

Katherine said...

Ah! What a lovely day! Wish I'd been there. That's just the kind of thing I like to do.

rhymeswithplague said...

What beautiful countryside! Never knew about the white horse on the side of the mountain. I wouldn't relish climbing those stairs, though....

Jay said...

Stunningly gorgeous!! I love the views and the white horse and the house and everything. The steps are most picturesque and gave rise to one of the funniest things I've read today:

"I could feel my heart pumping in my ears - which isn't where it should be at all."

Hahahahaha! But I know that feeling! LOL!

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