Albion, ancient sites, Archaeology, Books, Photography, sacred sites, TOLL, travel

Discovering Albion – day 10: Back to St Andrews?

scotland trip jan 15 013Yes, we were heading back to St Andrews… no, not the one in Scotland, sadly… though I would, given half a chance. In fact, I mused, I could pretty much never come home given a camper van and some way to make enough to survive… I should have been a gypsy… I was daydreaming. And while I have nothing against that at all, I probably shouldn’t be indulging whilst driving.

scotland trip jan 15 009We were going back to St Andrew’s church… the one we had passed the previous evening. The one that had stuff in it. A brief foray on the internet had produced the information that it held “some remarkable Jellinge style Viking/Christian crosses”… I liked the plurality of that… as well as an “internationally significant Anglo–Scandinavian Collection of funeral carvings and other artefacts.” Not to mention a Saxon tower on a Norman church and some intriguing stained glass. As a final stop, it sounded perfect. It was a beautiful morning. And there was an eighth-century cross inset into the wall of the Saxon tower… not that we knew it at the time, I only noticed it today on the photos…

scotland trip jan 15 010The church building is open daily from dawn to dusk, and is a beautiful place” it said. Except it wasn’t. Open, that is. And we’d lingered over breakfast… we were in no hurry after all. But the door was shut. The way barred. We were being frustrated at the last hurdle. A local lady kindly informed us that the keyholder lived down one of the back lanes and would probably be along soon, so we lingered a little amid the snowdrops, then drove into Pickering in a futile search for a place to get the headlight fixed. Then we came back… and it was still locked.

scotland trip jan 15 012So what could we do? There were no keyholder contact details and to be fair it was a Saturday morning in January. We simply turned the car for home, deciding to take the long way back, cross country, instead of the direct A roads and motorways. We weren’t even certain we would be able to get into back Sheffield anyway. If the local weather sage in the New Inn was to be believed, the snow had fallen and more was forecast. We would meander and see what happened.

Image: Doc Brown Click the link to see what else we missed :(
Image: Doc Brown
Click the link to see what else we missed 😦

We waved to the distant spires of York Minster as we passed. They rise above the plain, high above the ancient walls of the city, towering above even the modern buildings. One of these days we would have to go there. But not today. We still had no headlight and needed to get it replaced long before the light could fade. We stopped at a garage… purely because a hawk was hovering in front of it. I tried unsuccessfully to get a decent shot then went in and asked for the nearest place to get the light fixed.

scotland trip jan 15 014“Oh,” said the assistant, “there’s a Halford’s in Selby.” Which, of course, was just a mile or two down the road. And now we had a reason to stop there. I knew Selby well. Once I had known it very well, in fact. My great-grandmother had lived there for a while and so had an early boyfriend… at a boarding school just outside the town. There had been the stock auctions where my father bought pigeons… and then, there was the Cathedral. A very special place. It looked as if, thanks to the hawk, we were going to get our grand finale after all…

scotland trip jan 15 018

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