Great British Journeys: Celia Fiennes' Great Journey (2007)

BBC and Tern Television Series / UK / Historical / Colour / 60m

BBC Scotland explored Scottish history and landscape in this documentary series, focusing on major journeys by significant people in the past.

Here, Nicholas Crane attempts to follow in the footsteps of 17th-century explorer Celia Fiennes to the very top of the great precipice at Blackstone Edge. An acute observer, Fiennes was fascinated by anything new. Country houses, hospitals and spas: the emergence of all these spelled out the march of progress that she thought made England great.

Celia Fiennes lived at roughly the same time as Daniel Defoe. She was born in 1662 at Newton Toney, Salisbury, the daughter of a colonel in Cromwell's army. She is remarkable for the journeys she made, and the account she wrote of them: she rode side-saddle through every county in England, accompanied only by two servants. Although she always lived in the south, in 1697 and 1698 she made two long journeys through northern England and Scotland. She travelled to improve her health, visiting many spa towns, but also for personal adventure. Her account of her travels seems to have been written after her travels had largely ended, in 1702. She described both the great houses she visited and the developing new industries. She died in 1741.

Great British Journeys Celia Fiennes' Great Journey

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