In addition to all the fun and games surrounding my birthday celebrations we managed to find time to have a look around Ely Cathedral.
It really is a spectacular building outside and in. It has all the usual cathedral features.
Beautiful stained glass….
Laid back Bishops….
The highlight of the visit was undoubtedly the climb to the top of the Octagon Tower. I’ve always been a bit wary of climbing up the towers of cathedrals as they tend to take you up in a group and I’m always conscious that I’ll hold everyone up as I puff and pant my way up the staircase or tentatively easy my way down. The Octagon Tower is different in that it’s split into four manageable chunks. You stop at each level to look at things and have a chance to catch your breath – I decided to give it a go.
On to the next level and we got our first trip out onto the roof.
Up again and we found ourselves in among the beams that support this amazing structure.
Then, to our amazement, the guide opened some panels in the wall and we realised that we were looking down at the nave of the cathedral through the painted angels – incredible!
Finally, after a total of 165 steps, we went out on the roof at the top of the tower and walked around the outside of the lantern. Well worth the effort!
Next on the agenda – a day trip to Cambridge. The Cam Conservators expect you to pay £90 or so for the privilege of visiting Cambridge by boat (and by all accounts it’s not the most attractive way of approaching the city) so we’re just going moor up at Waterbeach and take the 10 minute train journey.