We arrived safely in Askrigg. It’s beautiful here, of course, but in a different way than Lllangollen or even Stafford. The buildings are all light colored stone, as opposed to the red brick or white painted buildings we’ve seen elsewhere. There are no hedgerows, either, all stone fences, and the sheep have black faces.
When we arrived at our B&B, Brian had a package waiting for him that included some wonderful information on the Walker family. A distant Walker cousin sent it here for us. We hope to get to meet her tomorrow.
After having tea with our host at Thorngill House we walked the church cemetery and found some possible relations but no Walkers. More tomorrow…
Today, we woke up to rain. The view from our window wasn’t very promising. So we had our traditional English breakfast but vegetarian style. How is it vegetarian, you ask? We wondered that, too. Soy sausage and bacon and no butter on the mushrooms. So it wasn’t too Weight Watcher unfriendly. Of course we kind of blew it later but, oh well. Because of the rain, we stayed in a little longer until the sun popped out. Weatherwise, the rest of day was beautiful. As my “cousin” Janet says, you just learn to carry an umbrella everywhere.
Once the rain let up we walked through the town toward the churchyard again. The stone pavements get a bit slippery after a rain. It made me wonder how long that pavement had been there and who walked on it.
When we looked last night, and then again today, we didn’t find any Walkers in the churchyard, but found lots of collateral family names. We were told later in the day that his ancestors, James and Dorothy Walker are both buried there but they have no tombstones.
We drove up the road to Aysgarth and discovered a huge cemetery there. It is attached to the St. Andrews church. Again, we didn’t find any Walkers but lots of collateral lines. So we know we’re in the right neighborhood.
After the cemetery, we stopped at Castle Bolton for lunch.
Askrigg and surrounding towns are in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The area is commonly called, The Dales. It is like no place I’ve ever seen. The hills are similar to the foothills of the Rockies but they are lined with perfect stone fences for miles and miles. We saw lots of people hiking the hillsides. And of course, there were sheep.
At 4:00 we had tea and scones with Brian’s 5th cousin Terry and his wife, Jill. Jill has done most of the research on the Walkers in the area and wrote a chapter in a book on the Walkers who left the Dales. We had a wonderful afternoon with them. We left with lots of photos and a CD of scanned old letters. We even saw one photo of a 5th cousin who looks amazingly like Brian. He even has a white beard. Will have to contact him sometime.
So far, the best part of this trip has been meeting the cousins. Mine, who we met in Llangollen, Wales and then Brian’s today. Being in the landscape of our ancestors is enough to give you chills but when you stop and think about how their DNA is still around, still walking the same streets, in you and your cousins it really makes you feel like part of the “Great Circle of Life”. (OK, that line isn’t original, it’s stolen from the Lion King….but you get the idea.)
Tomorrow – Scotland.