Friday, 12 June 2020

Knaresborough

Years ago when I was in the cycling club at York University we used to pass through Knaresborough on the way to the Yorkshire Dales. Not sure I ever really stopped in the town until a couple of weeks ago. The first day we stopped was cloudy and grey. I took a few photos, but realised Knaresborough (like anywhere else) would look so much better under blue skies. The next weekend, we woke to sunshine and drove to Knaresborough before 8:30am - nice and early to avoid crowds. There's a car park just off the A59 by the river Nidd opposite a pub called The World's End. Good place to start. Just cross the road and you're onto Waterside, a quiet street which runs along the river Nidd. Well, certainly quiet at 8:30am!

Knaresborough Waterside

Knaresborough Waterside and Viaduct

(above) It doesn't take more than a few minutes walk until you can see the viaduct which carries the railway - the viaduct was completed in 1851 and certainly adds a certain something to the town. We keep walking along Waterside ...

Knaresborough Viaduct

And a bit further ...

Knaresborough Viaduct

A beautiful river view in the early morning light! A little further and the street is right up against the sandstone rocks.

Knaresborough

Up above the river on the east side is Knaresborough Castle with a couple of narrow stairways leading to it from the riverside road. We first continued along this road, reaching Low Bridge (photo below), after which the riverside road changes name to Abbey Road.

Knaresborough

We walked a little way along Abbey Road admiring some very very nice houses and flowers on both sides of the river. Almost every house we saw made us say "I'd love to live there!" Part of the road near the bridge is very narrow, as below ...

Knaresborough - Abbey Road

Knaresborough Flowers

Heading back the other way, a quick detour up to the castle and one of the best views in any town, anywhere!

Knaresborough Viaduct and River Nidd

Knaresborough Viaduct - View from the castle

Early morning was a great time to visit, hardly anyone around. We'll surely be back in Knaresborough again sometime soon!

And we did! Decided to head to Knaresborough for sunset - see photo below ...

Knaresborough Sunset

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Aysgarth Falls

We visited Aysgarth Falls in the summer of 2018 while on holiday in the UK from Thailand. We'd rented a small house in Swaledale for a few nights and spent the days exploring the Yorkshire Dales. Aysgarth is on the River Ure in Wensleydale. To get there from Swaledale is a drive over the hill, either over Buttertubs pass via Hawes or over Cross Top which leads to Askrigg. Both are great roads to drive or cycle!

We parked at the official car park/visitors center - cannot remember the parking fee, I think about 4 pounds. From there paths lead along the river Ure with views of different sections of the falls. There are no big drops here, but a series of falls along about a 1km stretch of river. It's another of these places I want to visit again - when there is more water! The summer of 2018 was very hot and dry. Compare this to Hardraw Force waterfall which we visited in August 2019 after higher than average rainfall.

But anyway - it's pretty at Aysgarth!

Aysgarth Falls

Aysgarth Falls

Aysgarth Falls

One advantage of the lower water levels - we could walk along sections of the river bed which might otherwise be underwater. The river bed is covered in potholes caused by small stones or debris caught in eddies eroding the stone river bed.

Aysgarth Falls

More information, opening hours etc. - look on the Yorkshire Dales National Park website.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Brimham Rocks

I remembered the name Brimham Rocks from my childhood. Did we visit on a family holiday once? We certainly had a couple of Yorkshire-based holidays when I was young. I have also certainly cycled near here when I was a student at York University. Back in November 2019 we were looking for a day out, not too far from York and some friends suggested Brimham Rocks. I wasn't sure about it really - just a pile of rocks? But anyway, less than hour to drive from the east side of York - it's about 30 miles away, or about 10-12 miles Northwest of Harrogate. Brimham Rocks is just outside of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and there are some more roads around there I'd like to explore.

Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks is a National Trust site, and I reckon it gets quite busy. We went on a cold day, mostly cloudy, but got sunny later - and the car park was pretty full when we arrived. There is no entry fee, but there is a parking charge of £6 per car. Very reasonable. And then it's all about the rocks. Suggest printing a map of the area before walking around - see here. We spent about 90 minutes here - would have been longer, but it was a little cold for us!

Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks

(above) There's a little cafe at the far end of the site, and we bought hot chocolate as the sun came out on a cold day.

Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks

(above) View across the rocks from just above the cafe.

Brimham Rocks

So there's a place we'll visit again, maybe on a long summer day as part of a day out in that part of Yorkshire around Nidderdale.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Buttertubs Pass

The Yorkshire Dales will be mentioned a lot on this blog! I just wrote about Tan Hill Inn which is to the north of Swaledale, heading up hill out of Keld. If you head out of Keld and drive a couple of miles, just after Thwaite there's a turning to the right heading up hill, signposted 'Hawes'. This superb road heads up and over the hills to Wensleydale. Before Hawes you can stop at Hardraw Force Waterfall. And before that, up in the hills you find the Buttertubs.

Buttertubs Pass, Yorkshire Dales

(above) The Buttertubs and the road heading back towards Wensleydale

What are the Buttertubs? A geological feature - limestone potholes by the side of the road. They are apparently about 20 meters deep, so you don't want to slip and fall in. And the name Buttertubs? Farmers on the way to market (before the days of cars), heading over the pass, would store butter there on hot days because 20 meters down in the potholes it is always cool.

Only parking space for a few cars here. There are some potholes on both sides of the road. I mean, it's not the kind of place you are likely to spend hours - more like a few minutes and a few photos!

Buttertubs Pass between Swaledale and Wensleydale

(above) at the Buttertubs, view of the road heading towards Swaledale

The Buttertubs, Yorkshire Dales

(above) Our kids checking out the Buttertubs

The Buttertubs

(above) You probably shouldn't do this, not the best idea to be clambering around here.

But it's not just the potholes, not just the actual Buttertubs - it's a beautiful drive over the hill between the dales. These pics were taken in summer 2018 when the weather was amazing. Many years ago I cycled over Buttertubs pass .. several times. I am sure I have a photo somewhere from those days. A great road for a bike ride! Well, most of the Yorkshire Dales is good for a bike ride!

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Tan Hill Inn

In the summer of 2018 we made a family trip from Thailand to England and I suppose the success of that trip made us decide to make a permanent move in 2019. We had nearly a month in England and 5 nights of that were spent in Yorkshire. We had 3 nights in the Yorkshire Dales, staying in a little house in the tiny Swaledale village of Gunnerside. Weather was great and it was mid summer so the sunset was very late. One evening the time got to after 8pm and I was looking at a map, thinking of where to visit the next day ... and saw Tan Hill. Only about 11 miles away, and Google Maps estimated a drive of about 25 minutes via Keld. Let's go!

Easy drive along Swaledale to Keld and then just west of Keld, turn north on a narrow road called Stonesdale Lane which heads up and up into the hills. Despite being summer time, the roads were empty. We loved the drive up to Tan Hill. The scenery is wild and open in this part of the world.

Drive Up to Tan Hill Inn from Swaledale

(above) View on the way up to Tan Hill from Keld

Tan Hill Inn is known as the highest pub in Britain, sitting at 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level. It's pretty remote and in winter often gets snowed in. They have their own electric generator and I can imagine it's not always easy to run the place! We got there about 9pm with the sun still up, but it was chilly on top of that hill. We did try to sit outside for a while ...

Evening Pint at Tan Hill Inn

But as we were used to Phuket temperatures, we soon found a seat inside by the fire. Yes, even in July the fire was lit!

Inside Tan Hill Inn

(above) Warming hands by the fire at Tan Hill Inn

We finished a drink just in time for sunset, and headed outside again. What a superb setting for a pub.

Tan Hill Inn Sunset

(above) Sunset at Tan Hill Inn

Sunset at Tan Hill Inn

(above) 9:30pm on a July evening at Tan Hill. Yeh, this is on our "must return one day" list. Tan Hill Inn has food and rooms too, lots of information on their website. See you again!