Lanercost, Cumbria.

9th July 2012. Here we are 200 miles out of out usual ‘manor’, north east of Carlisle and the nice town of Brampton. Indeed, should you visit Brampton, be aware that the Howard Arms is everything you could want from an old coaching inn – we stayed there last night. But this morning we are the village of Lanercost – which is more famous for its ruined Priory than its bridge. Still, we found the bridge interesting. You can still walk over it; but cannot ride a bicycle over it…

Happily, we do not ride – or even possess – a bicycle these days; we fell off it once about 4 years ago & ‘lost our nerve’. Just as we have ‘lost our nerve’ about driving cars on the wrong side of the road – that occurred in 2003 about 40 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri, when we misinterpreted a service road as one-way & nearly had a head-on collision. Did you know that in a case such as the above, both drivers will serve in the same direction, thus almost ensuring, rather than avoiding, a collision? A few moments’ thought will show you how it happens time & again. Just thought I’d chuck that in as possibly useful info. But once more I digress…

This helpful plaque tells you pretty well all you need to know about the bridge.

And here it is. Presumably horses can go over it? No vehicles are allowed; but a horse is not a vehicle, is it?

Here is the starkly functional but doubtless efficient new bridge, seen from the moss- and lichen-encrusted parapet of the old.And here, the old bridge, with its two arches, enjoys its serene repose over the River Irthing.

Here is Lanercost Priory, seen here through part of its once-splendid gatehouse. The Priory Church was allowed to survive as the local Parish Church.

The soaring stonework of the rest of the Priory retains so much magic even without a roof…