Saturday, 19 February 2011

ENGLAND - Yorkshire

Inspired by the television series, “All Creatures Great and Small”, Jayne and I planned a four day trip to Yorkshire. Jayne had also found a lovely book on James Heriot. We were also taking advantage of an offer from the Travelodge chain of hotels. Given enough notice, rooms could be had for under £20. Clean and functional, we chose the hotel at Scotch Corner due to its central location to the places we wanted to visit.

Day 1 - 19/01/09- Richmond & Harrogate
Our first day also included the long drive up from home. Richmond and Harrogate both featured in the television series as substantial towns and looked to be worthy of a visit. Harrogate promised plenty of 19th century architecture, but on arrival disappointed us a little. The blend of old and new did not feel right. We stopped for coffee before walking around the town. Harrogate is a spa town that was visited as a stopover between London and Scotland. Perhaps we had not regarded the town in context.

Richmond however was just what we had hoped for. Perched on the top of a hill, with tumbling waterfalls at the bottom, Richmond was the North Yorkshire town to visit. The square enclosed by pubs, hotels, shops, a church and the castle, had everything a visitor would want. We whiled away a pleasant few hours before heading to the hotel to check in. The impression of the Dales is of rolling countryside, overlooked by windswept high ground.

The hotel was just what we expected – plain but ideally located. In the evening we strolled the half mile down the lane to the nearest pub, the Shoulder of Mutton. The landlord and lady were very welcoming and we ate well. We also made the most of the local Black Sheep beer. Later in the evening as closing time approached, the locals let us in on their evil ways. The dominoes came out. They take the game very seriously!

Day 2 - 20/01/09 - North York Moors
Setting out cross-country, it was immediately apparent that we were the first car down many of the lanes this morning as the snow lay undisturbed from the overnight fall. The Moors seemed a more rugged place than the Dales, looking much more like mountains than big hills. We passed through some attractive villages, making a loop of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. At Helmsley, we stopped for coffee before heading to Goathland, the fictional village of Aidensfield (Heartbeat TV series) and carried on north-eastwards to Robin Hood’s Bay for a leg stretch and a pint at The Bay Hotel.

Continuing north, we visited the fishing town of Whitby where we ate in a pub overlooking the river. This was a lovely town, bustling with activity.

Day 3 - 21/01/09 - Yorkshire Dales

Following the same theme as the day before, we planned to make a loop of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The scenery in Yorkshire proved why it is a popular choice for film and television production. We visited Aysgarth Falls where scenes of Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves were filmed. At Hawes, we stopped for refreshment and made some cheese purchases - Swaledale and Wensleydale. There was also a ropewalk, where we were able to watch machinery weaving twines to make rope.

The Tan Hill Inn is the highest pub in Great Britain, situated on the Pennine Way at an altitude of 1732 feet. Surrounded by snow, it was a welcoming sight. Inside we sat by the fire. It was a very quiet day for them but it was evident that during the summer months, the pub was regularly filled to capacity.

Day 4 - 22/01/09 – York
Our final day would be a visit to the city of York before driving home. It took an hour to drive in to York, but we found a town that was ideally suited to exploration on foot. Our trusty travel book suggested a walking tour of the centre and it took in The Shambles tiny cobbled shopping street, York Castle and finally York Minster which we visited. York Minster is served by its own police force, the smallest warranted force in the country. The route also made for a great pub crawl. We visited Ye Olde Starre Inne (the oldest pub) and the Blue Bell (the smallest pub where the bar was smaller than our lounge). This was a town that you could easily spend more time in, with a number of museums, the river, restaurants and its atmosphere all compelling you to stay longer. Unfortunately, we had to go

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