We were hoping originally to stop overnight on the way back but were unable to get accommodation on the Friday night so we had no choice but to do the journey in one day and decided on a break about halfway. We had breakfast, packed and set off, with Amanda driving, about 10 o'clock. Up through Kirkby Stephen to Brough and onto the A66 towards Scotch Corner and the A1.
Everything was fine until we joined the A1 and not long after we joined the end of a slow moving queue. After about 30 minutes of this we passed a lorry at the bottom of a deep gully leaning drunkenly at about 45 degrees on the gully side with numerous police officers around it. That must have been the accident that caused the queue as the traffic returned to normal after that.
A little later it started raining very, very hard to the extent that even with the windscreen wipers on high speed it was difficult to see. The rain didn't stop until we were near our halfway point, Southwell in Nottinghamshire, a little west of the A1. We chose that because it would give us a couple of hours break and a look at Southwell Minster which we hadn't seen before. Amanda was pleased that she was at the end of her turn at driving.
We went into the Minster Refectory and had some lunch and a rest then we went into the Minster.
Southwell Minster is typically Norman and building was started in 1108. It is considered to be an outstanding example of Norman and Early English architecture.
There was an earlier Saxon church here when construction began and many of the stones of this earlier Saxon church were reused in the construction of the Norman one. The tessellated floor and late 11th century tympanum in the North Transept are the only pieces of the earlier Saxon building remaining intact.
The Chapter House wasn't built until around 1300 but is well known for its carved stone 'leaves'. These carved leaves are very acurate representations of real leaves and there are many different species. They are very intricate and very fragile and one does wonder how on earth these craftsmen managed it.
The ceiling of the Chapter House is also nicely decorated.
There will be lots more photographs when Southwell Minster goes on the main web site.
We spent about 2 hours at Southwell, including lunch, so it was about time we continued our homeward journey. It was my turn to drive and Amanda plotted a route back to the A1 on the map but we'd gone only about a half mile when we joined a queue where nothing was moving. We could see a police car in the distance so assumed the road was blocked for some reason. Amanda could see an alternative so we took a side road only to find that that was also blocked. In the end Amanda spotted yet another, rather longer, alternative and that worked. We had wasted about 30 minutes but were once again on our way to the A1.
It started raining again once we were on the A1 and, eventually, we joined yet another queue where we crawled for another 30 minutes before traffic speeded up again. When we were only about 20-30 miles from home we ran into an absolute deluge and, again, the wipers couldn't cope so we had to slow right down.
We finally arrived home after a journey from Southwell of 4 and a half hours which should have taken no more than 3. I hope we don't have too many journeys like that.