Thursday, December 16, 2010

Touring the fens – 12 December 2010

The previous evening's red sky proved right, and we enjoyed a circular tour around an area of the fens, north of Bourne. It was easy to see that this area had been snow bound recently, and as we did the tour, many minor roads still had icy snow covering them. Fortunately others had travelled them already, so we felt confident to follow. A white ribbon of road seemed much more picturesque to follow, than endless grey.

The first cute village was Irnham, with lovely cottages and a frozen village pond. From here we drove north to Sleaford, which has the oldest church stone spire in England, and excellent coffee! Nearby is Heckington, which has the only eight sailed windmill in the UK.

Travelling around the fens we came to the church in Gosberton where one of the gargoyles is an elephant. We wondered how they even knew about elephants when this was built. The vicar wasn't able to help us with the age of the gargoyles, but did direct us to the back of the church to see an unusual decoration. He didn't explain what it was, so it took some searching, but we found it - a man mooning, the stone mason must have had a sense of humour! A grotesque in every sense of the word.

The highlight of the day was a visit to see Belvoir Castle decorated for Christmas, but on the way we detoured to revisit the Clipsham Yew Hedge. The has an annual clip in September, and consequently was looking even better than our last visit Easter 2006

The castle looked marvellous in the gloom of a late winter afternoon, mainly lit with the twinkling lights of many Christmas trees. There are many stunning rooms in this large castle, but our favourite would have to be the ladies drawing room; this elegant room looked really appealing. Choirs were performing in many rooms; combined with the lights and Christmas decorations, it was quite magical.

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