Tuesday, 19 August 2014

From the lonely river to the big city

Stop me and buy one – ice-cream boat on the river
Wow, what a culture shock! We stepped out of the boat at York's Museum Gardens an into crowds the like of which I've only seen on my way into a Wembley England match or the January sales in the West End. The place is rammed. York is by far the biggest place we've been in since, well since we were in London last winter. Big and busy with foreign tourists and families on school holiday days out.
Crowds throng The Shambles as everywhere
We had an enjoyable two hour saunter up the Ouse from Naburn Locks, passing big houses, big plastic boats and the usual ramshackle collections of liveaboards, but mostly scaled up from canal size to big river sized. Now this is what I call a river; plenty to see on and around the water – including a wonderful wire sculpture of an angler on Naburn Bridge and an ice-cream boat that came past us.
Naburn Bridge with its big wire sculpture

Entertaining variety of liveaboard boats

Including this one,  apparently made largely of stair spindles
Nice gaff, Bish. Bishopthorpe Palace home of the Archbishop of York

It's a long quiet and rural run in towards the city then suddenly you're in it, passing the entrance to the River Foss off to the right and then in quick succession York's three big road bridges. Between the first, Skeldergate Bridge and Ouse Bridge the river runs between rows of old warehouses transformed into apartments and offices and a line of pontoons for the big tourist boats that ply the waterway.
Converted riverside warehouses on the route into the city
 Beyond the final bridge, Lendal Bridge, are the visiting boaters' favourite moorings alongside Museum Gardens and we fortunately slotted into a Harry sized space there. York – like too many cities – does little to serve the boater. There are limited mooring spaces, despite many hundred yards of empty riverside, and no floating pontoons which would be more than useful on a river whose level changes fast after rainfall. No rubbish disposal, no water point, no elsan emptying either. But with all those visitors what do a few boaters matter? Quite a lot, actually, given the number of visitors who enjoy walking the riverbank to look at them.
Arriving at lunchtime, we did the tourist thing and looked at the other boats then wandered around the streets getting our bearings, watching the numerous buskers and street performers and marvelling at the numbers of people doing exactly the same.
This evening we went for a walk around the medieval city walls. There are two miles of walls linking the various old city gates, with just a few gaps that have to be bridged by pavement. When we were halfway round we saw a 'dogs not permitted on the city walls' sign and Brian had to be given a rucksack ride for the rest of the way. Not that he complained.
The walls give some fine views of the Minster and amusing peaks into numerous back gardens. It also gave us some surprising wildlife spots too: a hedgehog on a lawn and a sparrowhawk which had brought down a pigeon, much to the entertainment of pub-goers across the street.
Tomorrow we will re-visit some tourist attractions we last went to all too many years ago when we were one of the families with young children visiting York in the summer holidays.

Walking the city walls

Brian gets a ride after discovering dogs are banned

No comments:

Post a Comment