Saturday, 29 November 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Dunsop Bridge

Q2. Whalley Abbey

The initial clues seem to place us in a village called Dunsop Bridge, which lies in a 312 square mile area of outstanding natural beauty, called 'The Forest of Bowland', in the beautiful county of Lancashire. In 1992, according to some of the sources I checked, BT installed their one hundred thousandth payphone in the village. The location of this settlement makes it a candidate for the exact centre of Great Britain and there are photographs of a plaque on the wall of the phone box (which may or may not still exist, as most people use cell phones now) which states "BT You are calling from the BT payphone that marks the centre of Great Britain. It is the 100,000th payphone to be installed by BT and was officially opened on 29 June 1992. The exact centre of Great Britain and 401 associated islands is at National Grid reference SD 63770 56550 as supplied by Ordnance Survey."

The exact centre is not however at the phone box but is given by the grid reference SD 63770 56550 which some sources claim, places it near Brennand Farm and that lies along a northward trail, on the west bank of the river Dunsop. The puzzle author was most likely headed for a three hundred and ninety six/three hundred and ninety five metre (thirteen hundred foot) high eminence to the east of Brennand Farm, called Middle Knoll.

A politician born c 1811, who was appointed chancellor of the duchy of Lancashire, is most likely John Bright. Bright went to several schools between the years 1820 and 1827, Townhead school in Rochdale, Pendarth near Warrington, Ackworth in Pontefract, York and Newton in Bowland quaker school, near Clitheroe in Lancashire. George Birkbeck, who founded the London Mechanic's Institution (which was renamed Birkbeck Literary and Scientific Institution c 1867), also seems to have attended the quaker school at Newton in Bowland.

Travelling six miles or so, south south west of Newton in Bowland, would bring us to the vicinity of Clitheroe castle (built c 11th/12th century, depending on which references you check). Another three miles south, lies Whalley Abbey, which according to English Heritage, was founded c 1296 and was reputed to be Lancashire's second richest, until ol 'Enry the eighth oi am' trashed it, c 16th century).

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