Wednesday 31 July 2013

My Yorkshire Holiday - Part VI

The Friday of my week in Yorkshire is quickly told - you'll understand why in a minute.

One of the leaflets my sister-in-law had collected for me was about Knaresborough, a small town not too far away from Ripon. I'd been through there many times on the train, but never stopped to have a look around, so on the Friday morning, my niece and I checked bus timetables and worked out that we'd have two hours to explore the place between our arrival and the next-to-last bus going back.

Two hours does not sound much, but Knaresborough is small and compact enough for that. For me, the ride on the bus alone was worth it - the scenery between Ripon and Harrogate is just so beautiful, and my niece (who rode that way to go to school for years) pointed out her favourite houses to me.

We arrived at the central bus stop in Knaresborough just after 1.00 pm. Our first stop was the oldest chemist shop in England, where I bought a little gift for RJ (it was his birthday the week after my return to Germany). Then, we were ready for a bite to eat and thought to just grab a quick sandwich before further exploring the town.

Well, yes, that was the idea. We found a café, ordered and paid our sandwiches inside, and then sat at a table in the courtyard. And sat... and sat... and sat.
I should have gone in earlier, but I waited half an hour before we both agreed making a sandwich could never take that long (and the café was less than half full), so I finally went inside and asked very politely if we could please have our sandwiches now.
The girl behind the counter made huge, astonished eyes - had we not been served yet? No, we had not... She apologized profusely, claiming a misunderstanding between her (who had taken the order and the money) and the other girl (who was supposed to be making the sarnies). She promised to get our food to us as quickly as possible. I went back to our table, and 10 minutes later, we had our food.
Well, by the time we left the café, we had about 35 minutes left for all of Knaresborough before our bus would take us back to Littlethorpe!

Yes, the town is small and compact, but not THAT small and compact, and 35 minutes is of course nowhere near enough.
We only managed to walk to the grounds of the ruined castle, a pretty park with a great view. On the way there and back to the bus stop, we looked at shop windows and the old buildings surrounding us. Several walls had painted doors and windows on them (trompe l'oeil), and my leaflet told me that many Georgian buildings had bricked-in windows to avoid window tax; a group called "Renaissance Knaresborough" sponsored them being reinstated in the shape of these painted panels.
For lack of time plus the many people walking around, I did not take pictures of any of the beautifully painted windows, but you can see some examples here.

We caught our bus back home, and while I did regret not having had more time in Knaresborough, it will be a good reason to go back next year.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

My Yorkshire Holiday - Part V

The visit to Pateley Bridge had been a lovely day, but I wanted to do more walking the next day. Before I arrived, my sister-in-law had kindly collected a bunch of leaflets and brochures for me, so that I could choose my activities for the week. One of the leaflets was from the Ripon Civic Society, describing a walk named the Monks Walk.

Every year when I come back to Ripon, I make sure to fit in a walk to Fountains Abbey. Last year in May, I described that day out in three posts, starting here. I know the route well enough now not to need a map anymore, but the Monks Walk took a different approach on paths I'd never walked on before, and so I decided I was going to do that on the Thursday of my week in Ripon.

The walk starts from the market square and leads along the river for a while. It was cool and shady there:
The leaflet describes the walk well; there is room for error only in one spot, where I followed the geography I had in my mind, knowing the general direction where I knew Fountains Abbey was, and with the option of simply retracing my steps a little and using my familiar route. The description at that bit said to take the left fork of the path - but the path kept meeting many different paths, criss-crossing each other between fields and meadows, and not just one clear fork.
I did end up at the right place, though, near Hell Wath, and from there on, the description was once again unmistakably clear.
It was the hottest day of that week, sunny and bright, and walking through woodland was welcome. I did not meet a soul until I reached the entrance gate to the Fountains Abbey grounds, where I came across a young couple carrying a picknick basket and later a group of girls resting in the shade. Following their example, I sat under a tree and had my own little picknick before I walked on.
This part of the grounds is called "Valley of the Seven Bridges", and it is as romantic as it sounds. What is normally a shallow river was now almost completely dry - I'd never seen it that way before! 

The Monks Walk led back along the long, straight road between Studley Royal / Fountains Abbey and Ripon, but left that road at a certain point to go across the grass and to a gate in the wall.
I'd never walked there before, and liked the different approach to the small village of Studley Roger.
The rest of the walk back into Ripon was the one I know well.
Combining this walk with walking from Littlethorpe (where my sil lives and where I was staying all week) into Ripon, and later back from Ripon to Littlethorpe, once again I walked for about 10 miles that day, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Monday 29 July 2013

My Yorkshire Holiday - Part IV

The day after the adventure walk, my sister-in-law, my niece and I were up for some less strenuous activity and decided to visit Pateley Bridge, a tiny market town of about 2.100 inhabitants a short drive from Ripon.

As you can see from the pictures, it really is a very pretty place, and we spent an enjoyable day there, walking along the river (only a short stretch, though!), exploring the high street shops, having lunch at The Willows, and visiting the Nidderdale Museum.

The museum is all about life in the dales, and exhibits are presented not chronologically, but according to topic: there is a room dedicated to education (set up with original furniture like an old class room), fashion (with some very pretty dresses from Victorian times through to the 1950s), law & order (with a court room set up as well as a typical room in a work house), agriculture (with a dairy room, smithy and many more), daily life (with a typical Victorian parlour, an old farmhouse kitchen, a small village shop) and religion (with a lot of information about the Wesleyan church).
The museum is run by volunteers who are most friendly and helpful if you need any additional information. We loved how everything was set up so life-like, and I think I want to go back there some other time (preferably on a cold, wet day when indoor activities hold more appeal).

Pateley Bridge claims to have the oldest sweets shop in England - of course, that one was a "must" for us to see!

On our way back to Ripon, we stopped at a dairy farm where they make and sell their own ice cream. It was delicious, and most welcome on what had been yet another hot, sunny day.