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Pie Jesu Domine…

[This entry refers to a day trip taken in March 2009. As requested, I will be going back and blogging the trips I only posted vlogs about January – April.]

Tim wanted to go to Narrow Gauge North, which is a show for people interested in Narrow Gauge modelling. Tim usually goes up with the Axholme and Lindsey area group of the 16mm Association. The group usually plans to attend the show in the morning, and then the afternoon at a railway site. This year, it turned out that Narrow Gauge North was the same day as the Diesel Gala at the Abbey Light Railway. The narrow gauge railway will take you from one end of the park all the way down to Kirkstall Abbey. Rides cost £1.

I was pretty excited, since we hadn’t yet gone to any abbeys, and the abbey at Kirkstall is in quite good shape.

We spent a good portion of the day down at the railway, as it was their gala we were attending. We took a round trip visit as soon as we got there, then hung around checking out the engine shed and watching as they pulled out all sorts of old diesel engines. I wasn’t super excited (since I’m only a casual fan of diesel trains), but Tim was pretty excited. We even managed to make cameo appearances on their video of the day (watch the first video. I spotted Tim at 3:13 for sure, and a few other times I saw people in the background that might have been us. Mark is in the video frequently, as well).

Later on in the afternoon, I asked Tim if we could go up and explore the ruins. Of course, we rode the train up (on a one-way). There’s a decent sized information center that also has a museum attached. We didn’t have time to go through the museum, so after a stop at the toilets (it’s really a theme with me/us), we headed outside to walk around on the grounds.

Kirkstall Abbey was built over the course of 75 years in the late twelfth century. The Abbey was surrendered to King Henry VIII in 1539, and in 1671, it was partially demolished to use the stone elsewhere, including the steps of the Leeds bridge! Tim tells me this was a pretty typical occurrence, and apparently many homes built in the late 1600s contain stone archways taken from former abbeys and churches. The Kirkstall Abbey opened to the public in 1895.

Many of the sections have boards telling you what area of the abbey you are looking at – kitchens, dormitories, etc. Some of the sections are intact with roofs and walls, while other sections are open-air. I was floored to find out I was walking on stone and touching walls from the twelfth century! There just isn’t that type of history in the United States, and perhaps is one of the reasons I love traveling in the United Kingdom more.

Tim and I took the railway back across the park just in time to watch Mark get driving lessons from one of the drivers! He had to drive it in the back and wasn’t allowed any passengers, but after the driver showed Mark how to control things, he hopped off and let Mark run it back and forth by himself!

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(photo by Tim)

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(photo by Tim)

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For more photos, see: http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/uk-trip-2008/kirkstall-abbey/

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