Ike tours the Yorkshire Dales – Part 3

After studying the weather forecast, Ike saw it was going to rain non stop for the next 2 days, so he agreed with Heather and Mark that they should visit a castle, not only would it be interesting, but also he could keep his paws (almost) dry! He was happy to lookout of the window and enjoy the misty view along the way.

They visited Carlisle Castle. Ike was impressed by very sturdy, stalwart looking buildings. Carlisle Castle is in Carlisle, in the English county of Cumbria, near the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall. The castle is over 900 years old and has been the scene of many historical episodes in British history. Given the proximity of Carlisle to the border between England and Scotland, it has been the scene of many wars and invasions. During the Jacobite Rising of 1745–6, Carlisle became the last English fortress to undergo a siege. For a few months in 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned within the castle, in the Warden’s Tower. He read that she would amuse herself by watching from the ramparts as her servants played football below.

The most important battles for the city of Carlisle and its castle were during the Jacobite Rising of 1745 against George II. The forces of Prince Charles Edward Stuart travelled south from Scotland into England, reaching as far south as Derby. Carlisle and the castle were seized and fortified by the Jacobites. However they were driven north by the forces of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, the son of George II. Carlisle was recaptured, and the Jacobites were jailed and executed. That battle marked the end of the castle’s fighting life, as defending the border between England and Scotland was not necessary with both countries again united in Great Britain.

In 1851 the barracks were occupied by the 33rd Regiment of Foot, with 10 officers, 150 soldiers, 2 servants and 25 soldiers’ wives and children. The Army moved in to take hold of the castle and in 1873 a system of recruiting areas based on counties was instituted. The castle became the depot for the 34th Cumberland Regiment of Foot and the 55th Westmorland Regiment of Foot. These later amalgamated to form the Border Regiment. The castle remained the depot of the Border Regiment until 1959. The Castle now houses Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life. The museum “relates the history of Cumbria’s County Infantry Regiment, the Border Regiment and the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment and local Militia”. After admiring as much of the castle as is possible in one day, including taking a walk around the castle walls during a brief respite from the rain, Ike then went into the Museum of Military Life, Here he admired and examined as many exhibits as he could, including seeing a Mickey Mouse mask, which were designed for small children during the Second World War. Ike was of course interested in the mouse!

Then Ike and the Mr Men went into Carlisle centre, which is not far from the Castle, to do a little shopping, and despite the rain they reached a very important Earth Cache. Ike learnt from the Mr Men that they had been working towards this cache for 6 months, so they weren’t going to let a little rain stop them – It was the very elusive “X”! The Mr Men told Ike that now they have been geocaching a long time, they can do Challenge Caches. One such Challenge, is to get a cache for every letter of the Alphabet and in order of finds too. So the Mr Men already had most of them, but from April until now they had been collecting letters in order from N to W, so they could get the rare cache name beginning with X in Carlisle. Most people would have likely walked straight past, but the Mr Men knew what to look for, so they showed Ike. They were looking for a xenolith, which is a piece of rock within an igneous mass which is not derived from the original magma but has been introduced from elsewhere, especially the surrounding country rock. There was a very good example in the pillars of the bank at Carlisle. This is an Earth Cache, so no container to find, you visit the location, answer some questions and take photos to prove you were there, and it teaches you about geology, and geology really does rock! After admiring the very striking xenolith, it was time to go home, dry off the paws, and eat dinner!

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