And so it was that at nine o'clock on Saturday 15th June a party of nine boarded the CrossCountry train for Ely at Stamford station. Some of us had done the trip before, some had not, and some had hardly ever used trains at all.
People had gathered in very good time in some excitement.We had seats more-or-less together and I had written a leaflet giving some details about things which could be seen from the train as we travelled to Ely:
|Mark worked on his next|
magazine contribution as
as we travelled, including
the first episode of the Swiss
We left the train and gathered on the platform at Ely station before using the ramped subway to get to the exit and then stroll up to Ely Cathedral. The rain began falling gently as we set off, but soon stopped and we arrived at the west front of the cathedral, which was our agreed rendezvous point for the day. There was a programme of activities from which participants could choose: none overlapped so it was possible to do everything if one had the energy, but I don't think anyone tried!
Fixed points in the day are:
- Dinner for those who wish at 18:30 hrs at The Boathouse Restaurant, Annesdale (the waterside, not far from the station), and most importantly the departure of our train home, the last of the day, at 20:15 hrs
- Evensong will be sung in the Cathedral at 17:30 hrs
- Mark will lead a city and country walk from the Cathedral west front at 14:00 hrs
- 10:30 Visit to Cathedral, Coffee at Refectory Cafe
- 12:00 Visit to Oliver Cromwell's House
- 13:00 Picnic Lunch (bring your own, or buy in town) on Cathedral Green
- 16:00 Visit to Ely Museum, the Old Gaol
It was amazing how easily a second, informal, rendezvous point was established in the bar of the Lamb Hotel, especially with the need to dry out after the fen edge walk.
The walk included an opportunity to watch a heron on the water-filled gravel pits and a spectacular view over the water of the cathedral towering over the city. Several trains in their distinctive company liveries were seen on the railway as we crossed over and under it. At about our farthest point from the city the rain started. This time it did not stop for some time and indeed it became fairly heavy at one point. It had been expected, however, and we were all ready for it with hoods, umbrellas etc and continued to enjoy the walk.
The Evensong in the cathedral was delicious, although the psalm was a bit lengthy and made us late for dinner! Dinner at the Boathouse was great, but it was unfortunate to have started late when we had a train to catch, but all went well and we were soon on our way home, "tired but happy," like Rupert Bear at the end of some of his adventures! Indeed, we were a little early at the station and had to wait a bit for our train. The trick was not to fall asleep on the way home and wake up in Birmingham ...
As soon as we were back people were asking for another trip and looking disappointed when I talked about doing one per year. So, two it will be: short ones in the autumn, starting this November with Lincoln for St Hugh's weekend, and longer ones in the spring or summer. How about Canterbury?