29 May 2015

Up the tower

There is a funny superstition in Durham.
One that is passed around the students, old to young as they enter this historic university.
"Don't climb the Cathedral Tower before you have finished your degree". For the simple reason that if you do, "you won't get a first".


I don't know if my American friends have the same grading system at university? Here you can get a 3rd, a 2.2, a 2.1 (generally the most common mark and what most people aim for) and the top mark, a first. 

Now don't get me wrong, some students do climb the cathedral tower before they finish, perhaps because they don't want a first anyway, perhaps because they aren't superstitious.
I'm not superstitious at all but for some reason it had never come up to climb the tower before this point. I just don't think it is the 'done' thing! It's funny how these superstitions become tradition, even if you don't believe in them!


Anyway, once I finished my final exams and the boy had come to stay, I declared that now was the time I would climb the cathedral tower.


The boy came with me and it was impressive that he did because a steep 325 step spiral staircase is no mean feat when you have asthma. Ironically he was less out of puff than I was when we reached the top! The staircase was also incredibly narrow so if one person was going down as you came up, the two parties had to press themselves against opposite walls and clamber over each other. It made for quite the experience!

The view from the top was superb. We could see all angles of Durham from the surrounding countryside and we spent a good half hour taking photos and admiring the view as we pointed out different landmarks.


It was such a fun way to celebrate finishing my degree. Superstition or not, i'm glad I waited because it felt like such a fitting end to my academic studies!

15 comments:

Ruth said...

I think that's a lovely tradition ... I must ask The Brainy One if he waited 'til the end to make the climb (he took a first)!

Louise said...

It was worth the wait...gorgeous views. I'm not sure i would have been able to get up there x

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

It's fantastic, Abi. I'm so glad you waited for that climb - it seems more like a rite of passage that way. And how awesome that your boy got to join you. Congratulations for the completion of your studies! It's been an honor to follow along and cheer you on from this side of the pond! xo

debs14 said...

Very wise to wait! Fantastic views and lovely photos x

Maggie said...

That is a great tradition and well done on finishing. Great photos too.

scrappyjacky said...

Absolutely wonderful views.

Lizzy Hill said...

One of my fave things to do when we go OS...not really having church towers in Australia.....& that view looks fabulous! I think the spiral stairs and the crammed narrowness is part of the fun! We did the church in Rye....absolutely worth a go if you're down that way ever ;) Do I hope you got a first? If you want one, then I hope you get/got one!!!

Lizzie said...

Great views!! It's good that there are traditions (if not superstitions). What a climb - but so worth it. And worth the wait too?
I hope you do get your First, Abi - you've worked so hard! X

Julia said...

Beautiful pictures Abi and beautiful views too!

Karen said...

What fun! And simply gorgeous views!

Sian said...

Wow! The views look amazing and I hope that climb brings you all the luck in the world

Mary Lou said...

Congratulations on your degree & the climb. Both are going to give you great views. Oh yes, most Canadian universities have a GPA out of 4.0

Lady Ella said...

Congrats this end too - fingers crossed for results day :o)
Does this mean Time for Tea will be coming back? ;o)

alexa said...

Lovely photos of you both! And how nice that you have a new and memorable experience to share ...

Miriam said...

Such wonderful pictures of Durham & the pair of you. x