Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Midsummer

Yesterday was the Summer Solstice, the longest day & the shortest night of the year here in the Northern hemisphere (no, I couldn't get to sleep either, and Mikeyfox announced at 5am that he was not only getting up, he was also going to cycle to work*).

To celebrate, we took a trip across the the Trent** (that big ole muddy river) to visit Julian's Bower in Alkborough, North Linconshire. Julian's Bower is a Turf Maze or a Miz-maze (technically a Labyrinth - a single path twisting to the centre), which were once found across England under various names (usually referencing the city of Troy), but now only a handful remain-the Alkborough example is the last surviving Julian's Bower (The name stemming from Julius, son of Aeneas of Troy). The design is based on the Classical (or Cretan) Labyrinth. Luckily this one didn't have a Minotaur waiting in the middle. Phew!
Opinion is divided as to whether turf mazes were constructed for fun or for punishment. After having a go, I'd say they were fun!


The bower is on a hill overlooking the uniting of the rivers Trent (that big ole muddy) & Ouse, and the RSPB reserve Blacktoft Sands (home of the bearded tit. Snerk.).

Below the Bower is the Alkborough Flats, a habitat for wildlife on the edge of the Humber flood bank, home of numerous things tweety, fluttery & migratory, and a lovely setting for an afternoon of ambling about and saying 'Ooooooh' while pointing at things.

*18 miles away. It took him 1 hour 40 minutes. Beer and Tiger balm await him when he cycles home. Nutter.

**One of the peculiarities of the Trent is that it's not easy to cross it. It's a tidal river, and a dangerous one at that, so swimming, wading & paddling across in a dinghy are out of the question. So it's a 20 minute drive down to Scunthorpe to the nearest bridge if you fancy a pint there. Until we get an aquacar.

1 comment:

hybridiumvocal said...

Very fond of this from my childhood and would be a lovely place to visit again for this year's Summer Solstice - did you find it fairly quiet in terms of people visiting in general terms and were there other people there to celebrate?