Tuesday, 7 July 2015

On the York Cat Trail: part 1

Cat 17: Chambers

Well, I've finally managed to sort through most of the photos from our mini-break last week, so here's the first installment.

Whilst planning our trip to York, I came across the Cat Trail. Apparently, statues of cats have been placed on buildings in York for over 200 years. They were thought to ward off evil spirits and also to frighten off the rats and mice which might bring plague. As the trail takes you around the streets of the historic centre, it seemed like a good way to see the city. Plus, Chickpea is crazy about cats. And, best of all, it's completely free: a bonus when so many of the attractions are pretty pricey.

There's a great map to download or pick up which shows all the locations and clues for the ones which are harder to spot. So, join us on the trail, see the sights, and and stop off at a couple of other attractions along the way.

Being awkward so-and-sos, we didn't start at No 1 and work our way to the end in a logical fashion. I'll put the cat numbers with each photo so you can see our wayward route.

We started with Chambers (no. 17 - top photo) as he was nearest to where we entered the city.

As we made our way down Coney Street to find the next cats, we came across these two fine fellows outside the church of St Martin.

The clock is also on the outside of the church. The Little Admiral figure on top dates from 1779 and revolves to follow the sun. The clock itself has been restored several times.

We stepped inside the church to have a quick look and to cool off from the morning heat. It dates from the 11th century though much of it was destroyed by bombing in 1942. This south aisle is the only part which remains intact and has been restored.

Thankfully, this beautiful stained glass from the 15th century survived.

It's been joined by more modern pieces like this altarpiece by Frank Roper.

Back out into the sunshine and further down Coney St was cat 16. He should be called Clinton as he was above a Clinton's card shop!

Then a short hop down Low Ousegate to find scaredy cat 11...

and wall-walking no. 12. These two are the oldest, dating from the 19th century. Originally there were nine on this building! Yes, as in cats have nine lives!

To find the next one we had to go out onto the bridge. Here we're looking towards Lendal Bridge, one of nine bridges within the city.

I needed the zoom on the camera to spot lucky 13, who was strolling along a rooftop.

Turning right, we followed the river down South Esplanade, past some very pretty houses, and saw...

...a real moggy! Gorgeous though he or she was, we were on the hunt for two less mobile felines.

 Number 14 was pretty easy to spot.

But number 15 was almost completely obscured by ivy. Thank goodness for the zoom again.

I noticed on the map that we were very close to Clifford's Tower, so time for a break in the trail to pay a visit.

The Tower, which dates from the 13th century, is the largest remaining part of York Castle and has an unusual quatrefoil design.

This is how it would have looked in the late 13th century.

As it sits on top of a large mound, there are great views from the top.

Here we're looking towards the river Ouse which is flowing across the middle of the photo: you can just make it out between the buildings.

The spire of St Mary's, the tower of All Saints (behind the tree), and the unmistakable York Minster.

The buildings of York Castle Museum.

Back outside and time to find cat 10 on the Three Tuns pub on Coppergate. Talking of pubs, are you tired? I think it's time for lunch so we're going to head off to a cafe. Join up with us again for part 2. x


  1. What fun! I'll look out for cats now when I get round to visiting York properly one day!

  2. We aren't too far from York, but I haven't seen the cat trail before. How interesting, I'll make a point of looking for it xx

  3. Cool, this looks a great way of seeing York.

  4. I love York so it was lovely to see your photos. I've seen one or two of the cats on buildings but have never followed the trail - now I want to go again and do that. I used to head for the Cat Gallery on Stonegate where they sold all things cat - don't know if it is still there. Looking forward to part two:)

  5. I shall remember the cat trail when next in York. Great views from Clifford's Tower and quite a climb, but worth the effort. I haven't done that for a long time and probably wouldn't be able to do that these days! I think the cat trail would be more manageable! Looking forward to seeing more.

  6. That looks like fun! Your furry moggie is the sweetest by far. :)