As the nights get colder, the sun sets earlier, and the city fills with timely tourists and spooky tales of old, I joined a special wall walk to gain a new perspective on the ancient mysteries of York.
To celebrate York Ghost Week, the Friends of The York Walls Society are hosting a series of spooky twilight tours of the ancient York walls.
Unlocking the gates for a rarely allowed after-dark wall walk, the tour offers a unique glimpse of the dimmed city with many creepy tales from its long history along the way.
The tour began with music echoing from Boothham Bar’s vestibule as a guitar and a fiddle joined us to orchestrate our walk.
Our storyteller emerged with a tipped hat and looming voice, ready to lead us newly appointed ‘Sherriffs of the wall’ on our nightly duty to protect the city from “Scots, Norse or rowdy apprentices from the University.”
And yes, as per the laws of old York, we were apparently allowed to shoot any Scot we found.
Orders received, guns aready, warned of ghosts – we headed out onto the walls, which were alight in fairy lights for the occasion. With the shadowy walls guiding our path, scathing trees reaching out above our heads, and York Minster gleaming beside us, this journey around the outskirts of York was primed for magic and spooky tales of gore.
Making our way around the walls we stopped at various candle lit locations to hear our resident York storyteller regale tales of Romans, Vikings and gun powder plots (oh my!).
Lantern in hand, our engaging storyteller brought such tales of war, invasion, execution and betrayal to life, with a good few light hearted laughs along the way.
I particularly enjoyed learning about Margaret Clitherow, and her impassioned final moments… as well York’s interesting link to the England’s most famous traitor.
With storyteller, lantern, fiddle and guitar guiding our ancient path, we really were treated to a fabulously atmospheric twilight wander. And, all for £5 – the price of the pint of ale our storyteller recommended we locate after the tour’s end.
The York Walls ‘Twilight Tales’ offer a perfectly short and (not so) sweet journey into York’s darkened history from a wonderful mystifying storyteller… and a incredibly special glimpse of walls less travelled.
The half hour tours are running until Thursday the 2nd of November, with tickets avaliable at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/twilight-walls-2023 .
For more details head to https://yorkwallsfestival.org/ .