I live in a camper van with a West Highland Terrier for company.
My passion is creating images but it is a work in progress.
I am always willing to share what knowledge I have and can be contacted through the comments on this post or e-mail ADRIAN

Wednesday 9 November 2011

BOAT PEOPLE (09/11/11)

This post is dedicated to Keith at CALDECOTTE LAKE. The river Wear that almost makes Durham an Island is home to dozens of oars people. They have little lights on the boats and row about by day and night. I was hoping for some long exposures but the lights are very small and don’t show up. The rowers are just practising here before moving down to Milton Keynes, where I'm assured they will row about all night. If you want to hear  Keith's appreciation and admiration of these fine athletes a Sunday post of his is your best option.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    This is the Durham Cow………..A legendry beast.

(In 995AD a roaming cow is said to have led Lindesfarne monks to the final resting place of St Cuthbert, the site where Durham Cathedral stands today.

The legend begins when Viking raids on Lindesfarne forced the monks to flee the Island, taking the body of St Cuthbert with them to the mainland. Travelling around the North East of England, the monks did not know their destination and came to a halt near Chester-le-Street, to Durham’s North. Upon settling here the monks were bewildered to find they were unable to move St Cuthbert any further, when a vision of St Cuthbert appeared, asking the monks to take him to Dunholme – The Hill Island.

The monks had no idea of where this place was until they overheard two milkmaids talking of a missing cow. One told the other she had seen the cow over on Dunholme. On learning of their destination, the monks found they were now able to move St Cuthbert and they followed the milkmaid searching for her cow, towards Dunholme.

By this good luck they found Dunholme - The Hill Island – a peninsula formed by a tight meander of the River Wear. Thus it seems this roaming cow had led them to find the final resting place of St Cuthbert, which became the site of the majestic Durham Cathedral.)

There is a stone set in the ground near it which recounts the above tale. Unfortunately it is too foggy to read it so I lifted the above from the Durham Cheese Companies web site.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    Durham Cathedral. The weather is awful. It’s damp, misty, drizzly but surprisingly mild. Photography is a hopeless task.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Boat People. I never realised how many different types there are. One person ones, up to eight seaters, nine if you include the shouter and steerer. In between they also have ones with one blade per person and ones with two oars per rower. Then they have Dragon Boats with paddles not oars. It’s all really very fascinating. I forgot to mention that many boats also have a shouter on the bank. He or she pedals parallel with the boat bawling instructions. It does provide interest to what would be an otherwise depressing wander. 

It looks as if it may brighten up later, I’ll try and do Durham by night in any event.

Stay dry.


  1. Yesterday i forgot to tell you that i like the cow (you didn't!)and the shot where you got the cathedral between its horns. I like this sort of legend even if they have been completely fabricated for religious purposes as they now bring a little bit of humanity in our big cities!
    You did well with yourphotos though as yesterday was a mi-se-ra-ble foggy-drizzly day!!!!I just hate this weather!!!!!!

  2. Much the same wx conditions here Adrian. Great statue, makes a change to see one that actually looks like something these days.
    Look forward to some piccies of the dragon boats. They sound fascinating.

  3. That's an interesting tale Adrian, any idea why they used such an emaciated cow to illustrate it though?
    So,I guess Durham is another destination that's been struck off Keith's holiday list then?...[;o)

  4. Dee Bee, the cow is fine but what is an Indian or eastern native doing in this god forsaken spot. Perhaps they got it cheap! Today is little better weather wise and it's just turned cold.

    John, I don't like towns........I've only seen a Dragon Boat out of the water. They are big and flat, like a long punt. They don't look like a dragon.....I'll take a snap of one.

    Trevor, my first thought was that bronze is expensive but a fat cow would use less. Can't help I'm afraid.
    Keith would love it here. Plenty of Kingfisher, well two. They spend their lives dodging boats!

  5. Hi Adrian...Just what I love a good laugh to start of my day...to bad it had to be a good friends expense lol!! ; }
    I can't wait to hear Keith's take to that!! lol!

    Great "tail"on the Cow (pun intended)!!
    Hope your weather improves I would like to see a close up clear photo of the Cathedral..it looks like a beauty!!

    Stay out of the rain..

  6. Exquisite photos, shame you didn't get the nighttime on your camera.

  7. Grace, Keith is a born again athlete, and rowers man and a joggers man and bicyclist man. He knows where I'm coming from.
    We oldies have to keep fit and it's up us to help young ladies in Lycra into boats.
    Bad punctuation intended.

    Bob, it's not easy here.If I want to be happy with them I need light Either just before dawn or just before dusk. Their traces were crap. At 30s exppsure I'll tell them to put bigger lights on. I'll try harder tomorrow. All the best.

  8. As an exile from a happy life in the North East (happy life in the south now but often homesick) I appreciate the picture of Duraham in dullness.

    Have never seen the cow - lovely sculpture. Hadn't heard of the Durham Cow - lovely tale.

    (Reminds me of Cadmus deciding where to found Boeotia. Cows as urban planners.)

  9. My canon is at the ready, awaiting these boat people, should they make it here.

  10. I like your use of all the technical terms - like shouter and steerer - it's very educational. Fingers crossed for better weather for you.

  11. One of the things I learned from my wife was that sculling is different from rowing. With sculling one person has two oars and with sweep rowing each person has one oar. Sweep rowing is therefore presumably always done with more than one person in the boat or you'd just go round in a perpetual circle - a pointless exercise and something I do a lot.

  12. Lucy, I suspect the cow designed the cathedral. It looks as if it did.

    Keith, don't be mean. They can hardly fit on this bit of river, so many of them.

    John, They do make a heck of a racket far more than a coxswain ever does......some boats seem to have a loudspeaker on.

    Graham, thanks. Another of life's mysteries solved. Now I only have to work out why rugby is so much quieter than football. There are eight less of the latter but all twenty two seem to spend more time shouting than kicking.

  13. Nice shot of the beast.
    The last time I was here, I couldn't get a shot of the beast as there were loads of kids climbing on it & I was meant to be leading a walk at the time. Instead I concentrated on the Pagoda in the background and ended leading the walk ... from the back instead !

  14. Jay, the best place to lead anything from is the back.