Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Zooming Around!

In September 2002, a friend and I decided to 'zoom around' i.e. complete a sponsored ‘Castle Trail’ to raise funds for a new building on our Girl Guide campsite. The site was called Ashley, and the mascot was a rabbit, so of course we had to take ‘Ashley the Rabbit’ on our trail. Our aim was to visit 15 castles in a 12-hour period.

'Ashley' at Sandal Castle, Wakefield
We planned the route carefully and set off at 7.30am, heading from Manchester over the Pennines into Yorkshire. We were held up by traffic jams near Leeds, and by roadworks outside Wakefield, and so we were half an hour behind schedule when we arrived at Sandal Castle, just outside Wakefield. Time for a quick photo, and we were off again, to take Ashley's photo at Pontefract, Spofforth, and Knaresborough. At the latter, we attracted some curious glances as we had to park on the main street because there was no place to park near the castle. People must have wondered what we were doing carrying a large rabbit with us!

The next castle, Ripley, was closed, but we took a photo near the main gate. Then it was north again to Middleham, and a quick break for a soup and sandwich lunch at the Richard III pub in the main square. By this time we had done 128 miles and it was 12.15pm.

On again to Richmond Castle in North Yorkshire, and then into County Durham to visit Raby Castle, the home of the Neville family (and the birthplace of Richard III’s mother, Cecily Neville), Barnard Castle and Bowes Castle.

We then headed west into Cumbria, stopping at Brough, Appleby, and Brougham castles (which had all belonged to the Lancastrian Clifford family - boo, hiss!). Our final stop in Cumbria was at Penrith Castle, where a little girl in the park surrounding the castle was very excited at seeing our large rabbit!

We changed our plans slightly at this stage, as we’d intended stopping at Kendal Castle, but that involved quite a long detour off the motorway, so we continued south to Lancaster Castle, which we finally reached after going around the one-way system twice, and also ending up in the bus station at one point.

Last stop at Clitheroe
We still had some time left, so although Lancaster was our 15th castle, we decided to take a detour to Clitheroe. All went well until we reached the country lane leading to the town when we got behind one of the ‘Isn’t it a lovely evening? Let’s go for a drive’ drivers, who went about 20 miles an hour. However, we made it to Clitheroe for about 6.30pm, and finally got home at 7.25pm, just within our deadline, and after a 329 mile round trip!



Our route

Many thanks to you all for joining me on this A-Z tour
of 15th century England.
Look forward to seeing you here again,
hopefully sometime before next year's April A-Z Challenge!



  1. Phew, put the kettle on, Paula. I am exhausted just reading your adventure. Love Ashley, he's a cute bunny! :)

  2. I remember hearing about your trip with Pat, never heard any more about it though. Great to see where you went, is this where the richard lll obsession came from? Adele xx

  3. Glynis, it wasn't as exhausting as it sounds, in fact it was good fun!

    Adele, this was actually a follow-up to our tour of various Richard and 15th century places during the previous 3 years! The Richard obsession goes back to my teens!

  4. Sounds like great fun, wish I had been there.

  5. Wow. I wish I were able to take a trip like that. Living in Canada there is a wee bit of a castle shortage LOL When I lived (briefly) in England I thought I'd be there for a long, long time so I didn't feel a rush to see all the castles. More's the pity. *sigh*

    Congratulations on completing the Blogging from A to Z challenge with your sanity intact :)

  6. Great ending Paula, loved this challenge!

  7. Margaret, it was a fun day but of course we didn't have time to explore any of the castles on this trip.

    Rhonda - we have so many castles here, I've probably visited 100 or more, but there are plenty I haven't yet seen. Many thanks for visiting :-)

    Claudia - Thanks, I've really appreciated all your comments this month.

  8. What an awesome trip and I love the rabbit. Congratulations on completing the A-Z! Loved taking the trip with you!


  9. What a lucky rabbit to see such beautiful castles. A nice way to end the challenge.

  10. What fun with the rabbit and all the castle hopping.

    Thanks for taking us on a journey back in time this month, Paula. I really enjoyed your posts.

    Congrats on finishing the challenge!

    Cattitude and Gratitude

  11. Thanks, Kathy, Suzy and Cate - we even sat the rabbit on the back seat of the car - with his seatbelt on!

  12. You really did zip around. Plus, you zipped through many castles in the A to Z Challenge. Congrats!