02
Dec
11

York Minster in snow

The train from London to York, stuck somewhere half-way, finally lurched forward again after a 90-minute delay.  The safety gate at a level crossing had frozen in the upright position, so the train could not proceed until it was freed.  As the train limped in to York station under heavily laden skies that were once again starting to unload their burden, I figured I was lucky.  I could have been stuck back in London, and who on earth would ever want to be stuck there…?

As I hauled my bag to the hotel about 15 minutes away, passing groups of happy teenagers who looked like the weather had kept them away from school for the day, I started to realise that I had a rare opportunity that afternoon to take some urban winter photos in a place I’d never been before.  Every 15 minutes it would dump like a day-long blizzard, then suddenly clear up.  There was hardly a whisper of wind, so the tree branches were feathered beautifully.

After dumping my bag at the hotel I headed straight for the old town and York Minster, the second-largest Gothic Cathedral in Europe after the colossal Cathedral in Milan.   There were a few people about, but hardly any traffic braving the snowy roads, so it was fairly quiet as I padded through the streets and over bridges, pausing to take in a few sights on the way.

I came across more of the teenagers I’d seen earlier by the station.  They were making the most of the snowfall.   A few of them had climbed over the gates on the ancient wall encircling the old town to pelt snowballs at drivers and pedestrians below.  Others dragged sleds up the steep slopes of a castle and spent the afternoon whizzing down the embankment.  Some didn’t even bother with a sled.

The sun was now low in the sky about a half-hour before dusk. I found myself alone in the immense churchyard, making a slow circumnavigation of the cathedral as the sun played off the snow draping the spires.  Though I’d read how spectacular it is inside – much of it reconstructed after a devastating fire in 1984 -  I left that ’til later, savouring the late-afternoon light and contrast with the brilliant layering of snow.

Enjoy the slideshow if you don’t mind this technical problem I ran into:  I tried to remove from the slideshow the two photos already published above, but couldn’t figure out how.  Still have a lot to learn about this blogging thing.

Monday: frozen out of the Yorkshire Air Museum.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


5 Responses to “York Minster in snow”


  1. December 2, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Snow is beautiful when it falls. It’s only after a day that it gets ugly.

    • December 2, 2011 at 9:40 am

      True, but you should see what the accumulation of 6 months of frozen Montreal boue looks like. Spring there can be as short as three days, so suddenly all the stuff people have causually tossed in snowbanks the whole winter suddenly get exposed to a warmth that feels like summer. The sight is bad enough, but the STENCH is unbelievable.

  2. December 2, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    The tree photos are amazing. Snow looks especially beautiful against a blue sky

  3. December 3, 2011 at 1:51 am

    I didn’t realize York Minster is so large – it’s also very beautiful, and your photos are just so fine. You made a good choice, staying out there in that snow and light for our enjoyment!


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