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Photographer's Note

I love ruins. Love. So visiting at least one of the ruins of the great abbeys of Yorkshire was very high on my priority list. I debated between Fountains, Rievaulx, and Whitby Abbeys for a while before deciding on Fountains. I think I made the right choice.

Fountains Abbey is the only one of the great ruined abbeys of England (to my knowledge) that is a World Heritage Site (along with the adjacent Studley Royal Water Gardens, which makes no sense to me--I wasn't all that impressed by them). It's one of the biggest ruined abbeys, if not the biggest, and definitely one of the best preserved. We spent a good hour and a half wandering the ruins, and that was far too little time.

The day we visited Fountains Abbey was the worst weather day of our entire trip. It started raining at about 3:00 in the afternoon and rained basically straight through until early the next morning. I'm actually glad it did. When we got to Fountains, it had just started raining, and people were leaving in droves. Within 15 minutes of getting to the ruins, we were the only people left, and we saw no one else for the next two and a half hours we were at the site.

It was really cool--and really creepy. My wife found a couple of tombs in the ruined floor that were slightly ajar, and we found a staircase leading down into the dark that we didn't dare go anywhere near. But perhaps the creepiest thing was hearing the angry-sounding doves cooing ominously as we were in a beautiful little chapel at the site. I've never heard creepier doves. :)

Three years ago when my wife and I visited Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, we were impressed by how old the ruins at Cliff Palace were--until we considered that the University of Oxford was older. Fountains Abbey is even older--founded in 1132, dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539, and standing as a ruin ever since.

This shot was taken in the rain, with my umbrella covering the camera. Fortunately there was no wind. I had to play with the highlights and shadows a bit to pull up the detail, but I think it turned out pretty well.

jwmunro, feather trouve(nt) cette note utile

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Additional Photos by Clark Monson (cdmonson) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 383 W: 51 N: 1013] (5272)
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