October 23 – A walk around Bath and a visit to Bath Abbey

Royal Crescent and the Circus, Bath

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

As I was perusing the geocaches around Bath I found a challenge very nearby called Higgi’s 60th Birthday cache. It required you to have found caches with the first letters spelling HIGSTER where the caches were all found in a six day period. I checked with ‘project geocaching’ which is a program which allows you to check all your previous finds to see if you have all the requirements of a challenge cache. It is a very handy programme especially when you have found 5610 caches as we have. Anyway, I found that we fulfilled the requirements of this cache between 31/7/2011 and 5/8/2011 so we took an alternative route to the city centre and found the cache.

We walked passed the weir on the River Avon which is quite an impressive and mesmerising sight. We also found a small shop where a guy was energetically making fudge. He had already cooked up the ingredients and had tipped them onto a marble slab to cool adding raisins and rum as flavourings. Once the fudge had cooled a little he began to work the fudge with a scapula to evenly mix the ingredients, to cool the fudge even more and to temper the fudge, as you do in chocolate making. Finally, he shapes it into a long log and the fudge can be wrapped and sold. Not surprisingly this demonstration causes a lot of sales to be made from the 90 flavours which they sell. Mike is not a huge fan of fudge but he did like the rum and raisin.

We visited Bath Abbey which is right in the centre of the city. It is also called The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, it is an Anglican parish church and a former Benedictine monastery built on top of Roman foundations. Three churches have been on this site since 757 and King Edgar, the first King of all England was crowned here in 973. We have been to Bath before to visit the Abbey but it was closed for university graduations so we are glad to be able to visit this time. As with all the cathedrals and abbeys, the initial response is awe and wonder. There are so many wonderful things to look at it is hard to take it all in. We usually like to join a guided tour as you get so much more out of it when someone is telling you about all the important aspects however there were not any available.

The fan-vaulted ceilings are made of stone and are breathtaking. The ceiling bosses are painted and gilded and each one is different. The stained glass windows are fantastic. The building has 52 windows, occupying about 80 percent of the wall space. The east end has a square-framed window of seven lights.

The Abbey has 617 wall memorials and 847 floor stones. Many of these commemorate more than one individual and often an entire family. The Ledgerstone Recording project is an interesting project to read about. The stones are being recorded, lifted, the floor flattened and the stones replaced. The church has two organs and a peal of ten bells. The west front includes sculptures of angels climbing to heaven on two stone ladders.

As always the fabrics inspire me and the altar frontals with the stone reredos behind it, was particularly lovely. The wooden carvings were also beautiful especially the quire stalls and endings.

When one thinks of Bath the immediate thought is of the Circus, which is an entire circle of houses with a green area in the centre with a road all the way around and three roads leading off it, one towards the Royal Crescent. It is impossible to photograph except as from above but impressive to see.

Then we carried on to the Royal Crescent which is a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping crescent. Designed by the architect John Wood, the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, it is among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture to be found in the United Kingdom and is a Grade I listed building. The 500-foot-long (150 m) crescent has 114 Ionic columns on the first floor. In front is a huge park which even at this time of the year had lots of people taking photographs.

On the long walk back we passed a restaurant which specialised in fish and chips so since it was about 4 pm and we had had no lunch, we went in for an early tea.

We did three geocaches today and all three were given favourite points as each were very special places to visit.