Monday, August 25, 2014

The Ouse, the Ure, and the Ripon Canal


We left York once we had sent Ellen on her way and continued our travels on the non tidal part of the River Ouse. Then, a funny thing happens.

As you travel north you will go past the Ouse Beck.  Just north of the Beck this exact same river, no turns, no nothing, suddenly changes names and becomes the River Ure.  We followed the Ure until, because of the need to bypass a weir, we entered the Ripon Canal.  Traveling to its end, we are now moored in the town of Ripon, as far north into Yorkshire as the canal now travels.

Ripon is home to a stately, impressive and strangely elegant 7th century cathedral.  To think such a building could have been built 14 centuries ago amazes me (even with the changes made over time).  A testament to man's spirit,belief in his God, and desire to glorify that God.

In the center of the town market square stands this 300 year old, 90 ft high obelisk, towering over everything around it.  Markets have been held in this square for hundreds of years and are still a part of the city's attractions.

Every evening at 9pm the city's official Hornblower sounds the 'Setting of the Watch' to assure everyone that they are in safekeeping for the night - a ritual that has occurred every night for over 1,100 years. Every evening the Hornblower blows his horn at the four corners of the obelisk in Ripon Market.  Such a ritual was common across Britain for centuries but now only Ripon continues to do so.  It adds to the town's old world charm.

The horn has become the symbol of the city and represents Ripon on the Harrogate borough coat of arms.

City of Ripon, coat of arms

Ripon abounds with many quaint medieval streets (filled with fascinating shops and tearooms), and both Georgian and medieval buildings. My "job" tomorrow is to take myself off to visit this charming town and its wonderful buildings.  It's a tough life. :-)

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