As a treat, I had arranged for a weekend away and, as expected, trains were involved.

On Friday morning, my other half and I drove to Coleshill Parkway to catch a train. Nothing too special there except that the train we ere catching was number 6233, Duchess of Sutherland, which would be whisking us up the East Coast to the city of York.

The special train arrived at 08:50 and we made our way to coach H and our allotted seats. The train left a couple of minutes later heading for Tamworth and Derby where further passengers were picked up.

About three hours after leaving Coleshill, we pulled into platform 10 at the impressive York station.

We would be rejoining the train the following day giving us around twenty fours hours in this historic city.

First port of call was the nearby National Railway Museum (NRM). Our last visit to York, as part of a “Yorkshire by Steam” holiday was on the only day of the week that the NRM was closed – great planning, eh?

Today, being a Friday, was more successful and even better the museum was fairly quiet enabling us to have a good look around the many exhibits including the record breaking Mallard.

On 3 July 1938, the A4 class locomotive Mallard raced down Stoke Bank at 126mph to set a new steam locomotive world speed record. That record still stands.

After our tour of the National Railway Museum, we made our way to where we would be spending the night, a small pub about half a mile away.

It was a hot day and Sue needed a little lie down so I left her ‘resting’ and made my way into York.

I was soon at Micklegate, one of four medieval gates to the city and ascended a flight of steps to the top of the city wall from where I commenced an anti-clockwise circuit of York.

The walls encircling the city were originally started by the Romans but just about everybody else has had a hand in their construction concluding with the Victorians. About two miles of masonry still exist.

I had been recommended an establishment called “The House of Trembling Madness” so headed there.

A good choice as the eccentric establishment had a fine choice of real ales and bottled ciders. The room in which we sat had eleven beers on tap (literally taps sticking out of the wall behind the bar) whereas another room which was being entertained by a band, had another dozen or so.

After a few beers (even Sue had a couple of ciders – she’s not a big drinker) and some very tasty grab, we made our way back to our lodgings.

Surprisingly, the pub in which we were staying was eerily quiet for half nine on a Friday night. In fact it was so quiet that the barman told us he would be closing the bar at ten – just time for a jar or two.

I made my way around the walls which did involve a few sections that were actually wall-less.

From the North of the city a got a great view of the Minster – a bit different from the usual shot from ground level in front of the main door.

Parts of the wall were very popular and hence busy whereas some sections I had to myself.

About an hour after starting, I was back at Micklegate.

Having “done” the walls, I made my way back to the digs for a shower and change of clothes before returning to the city with my better half for some refreshments.

After a good nights’ sleep, I was up with the larks for a pre-breakfast stroll into York.

After breakfast (with Veggie sausage and bacon) we had a couple of hours to kill before our train so jumped the open topped bus for a tour of the city. On the way around we spotted a toy show selling Charlie Bears (which Sue collects) and decided to get off on the next lap then walk back to the railway station.

One thing that we didn’t take into account (mainly because we didn’t know) was that today was York Pride and the streets were very colourful and also full in general.

There was no way we could get through the throng back from the Teddy Bears in time for the train so gave up with that idea.

Instead we just went to the station and after a relaxing Costa made our way to platform 10 to await the Duchess.

Knowing that the train would be the same as yesterday, I calculated where the engine would stop then assuming that each coach would be twenty metres long, I paced back along the platform …

Loco, two support coaches, Coaches A, B, C, D, E, no F, G and finally ours.

I picked a spot on the platform and declared, “This will be our door”

When the train arrived, we watched the loco, support coaches and the rest roll past before the door to coach H stopped less that five metres away.

Impressed? I was !
So was Sue – result.

Our train pulled out of York continuing North with Newcastle being today’s destination.

I was not as impressed with Newcastle as I was with York and I think that Sue was even less so.

I had booked a visit to the castle that was once new and after which the city is named. Sue’s Hay Fever and Asthma were playing up and the thought of climbing over one hundred steep steps to the top would not be entertained.

Instead, I climbed to the ramparts alone and was rewarded with a cracking view of the city.

The rest of the afternoon was spent walking around what is just a city centre full of the usual shops and frequented by multiple stag and hen dos before we boarded the train for the journey home.

The trip back was uneventful stopping at York, Derby and Tamworth before depositing us back at Coleshill Parkway just before midnight.

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