A Walk from London to John O'Groat's eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 348 pages of information about A Walk from London to John O'Groat's.
of its walls are still as entire and perfect as those of Tintern, on the Wye.  It was founded by the monks of the St. Bernard order, in 1131, according to the historical record.  Really those black-cowled masons and carvers must have given the enthusiasm and genius of the early painters of the Virgin to these magnificent structures.  I will not go into the subject at large here, leaving it to form an entire chapter, when I have seen most of the old abbeys of the country.  In looking up at their walls, arches and columns, one marvels to see the most delicate and elaborate vine and flower-work of the carver’s chisel apparently as perfect as when it engraved the last line; and this, too, in face of the frosts and beating storms of six hundred years.  The largest ivy I ever saw buttressed one of the windowed walls with ten thousand cross-folded fingers and foliage of vivid green piled thick and high upon the teeth-marks of time.  The trunk was a full foot through at the butt.  A few years ago a large mound was uncovered near the ruin, and found to be composed of cinders, showing incontestably that the monks had worked iron ore very extensively, thus teaching the common people that art as well as agriculture.  These cinders have been used very largely in repairing the roads for a considerable distance around.

On returning to Thirsk over the Hambleton range of hills, we crossed thousands of acres of moor-land covered with heather in full bloom, looking like a purple sea.  It was a splendid sight.  My friend, who was an artist, stopped for a while to sketch one or two views of the scene.  As we proceeded, we saw several green and golden fields impinging upon this florid waste, serving to illustrate what might be done with the vast tracts of land in England and Scotland now bristling with this thick and prickly vegetation.  The heatherland over which we were passing was utilised in a rather singular manner.  It yielded pasturage to two sets of industrials—­sheep and bees.  As the heather blossom is thought to impart a peculiarly pleasant flavor to honey, I was told many bee-stock-raisers of Lincolnshire brought their hives to this section to pasture them for a season on this purple prairie.

The westward view from the precipitous heights of the Hambleton ridge is one of the most beautiful and extensive you will find in England, well worth a special journey to see it.  The declining sun was flooding the great basin with the day’s last, best smile, filling it to the golden rim of the horizon with a soft light in which lay a landscape of thirty miles’ depth, embracing full fifty villages and hamlets, parks, plantations and groves, all looking “like emeralds chased in gold.”  On the whole, I am inclined to think many tourists would regard this view as even superior to that of Belvoir Vale.  It might be justly placed between that and Wharf Vale.

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A Walk from London to John O'Groat's from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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