In case you don't know what I am talking about: The Yorkshire Dales are one part of Yorkshire (England's biggest county) and were established as a National Park in 1954. Of course, the Dales themselves have been around much, much longer!
This description taking from the website www.yorkshiredales.org.uk sums it up nicely:
"...some of the finest limestone scenery in the UK, from crags and pavements to an underground labyrinth of caves. Each valley or 'dale' has its own distinct character, set against expansive heather moorland tops.I couldn't agree more - beauty and character, and LOADS of both!
Stone-built villages sit amongst traditional farming landscapes of field barns, drystone walls and flower-rich hay meadows, and show how the area has been shaped over thousands of years by the people who have lived and worked here.
Spectacular waterfalls and ancient broadleaved woodland contrast with the scattered remains of former mine workings and other rural industries which remind us of the area's rich industrial heritage.
Together, nature and people have created a special landscape of immense beauty and character."
Today, as I said, we travelled through three of the many dales (about 10 "main" ones and a number of smaller ones). Ripon, where we are based, is at the edge of Nidderdale. My sister-in-law and my niece kindly sacrificed their day off and took us by car all the way to Hawes in Wensleydale, where Wensleydale cheese comes from - made famous last but not least through "Wallace and Gromit".
You'll see much more about Hawes and the creamery (where the cheese is made) here on my blog when I'll be back home in Germany, where I can transfer the pictures from my camera to the computer.
For now, here are two pictures my sister took with her mobile phone from the car park near the creamery, overlooking Wensleydale:
My sister-in-law chose to take us back to Ripon on a different route, along Wharfedale and through picturesque small towns and villages (such as Kettlewell and Grassington), back into Nidderdale and through Pateley Bridge.
Stunningly beautiful scenery made it a most pleasant drive along the country lanes and roads, some of them so narrow two cars can hadly pass each other.
Now we're back at our cottage in Ripon, ready for a quiet night in, settling in front of the telly to watch "Lewis" and have some genuine Wensleydale cheese with crackers for tea.