21-23 September: A first taster of the Yorkshire Dales

Author: Mrs A

Location: Jervaulx, Richmond, East Witton and Middleham, Yorkshire, UK

Our accomodation was located beside an old 19th century house, Jervaulx Hall, which has the ruins of an old abbey on its land. Mr A, our friends John and Catriona and I had decided to take advantage of the fine weather to do a long walk, starting at Jervaulx abbey, just around the corner from where we were staying.

Jervaulx Abbey – Cistercian abbey dedicated in 1156 to St Mary

Substantial work has gone into ensuring the ruins are safe for visitors, given the abbey is privately owned and managed. The grounds are well cared for, giving a balance between sculpted lawns and natural wildflowers.

Old doorways frame lovely views across the countryside
The walking team looking fresh and energetic at the beginning of the day
Buddies since the age of 12, John and Mark loving the walk…but don’t mention the chilli-red shorts!

We did a fabulous walk, taking us across bridleways, footpaths, across styles and down quiet country lanes. The scenery changed all the time, ranging from green rolling hills with almost-too-perfect trees dotted throughout, through ancient woodland, across rivers and into little villages and past castles.

We felt so privileged to have such a glorious autumn’s day
Our path winds through harvested fields
Reaching our first village
Blackberries to sustain us on our journey
Giant stepping stones across a river
Crossing a style in an old woodland
Just loving the scenery
A lovely autumnal scent hangs in the air, a mixture of moss and decomposing leaves

We’d walked about 17km before we reached Middleham Castle, a welcome sight given we hadn’t eaten breakfast and it was long past midday!

We smell lunch in our future…
Middleham Castle – built in 1190 and the childhood home of Richard III

We found a suitable pub in the village which was still serving food, and ordered refreshments. There was a brief discussion about getting a taxi back, but we bravely pushed on.

Mr A shows a burst of energy seeing the pub!

We concluded our walk having clocked up 21km (13 miles) the longest we have hiked in a while, (but paling into insignificance when compared with some friends who are managing upwards of 30km daily). We all felt we deserved dinner at the local pub that evening.

Sunday was more of the Yorkshire weather we had expected, the clouds hanging low and grey. After a fine full English breakfast we all drove over to the nearby town of Richmond.

Strolling the streets, still displaying the flowers of summer

Richmond was founded in 1071 by the Normans who built a castle in the town – there are castles all the way up England built by William the Conqueror’s people – this within five years of the Battle of Hastings. The town built up around the castle and looks like it has changed little in that time…other than the cars – the town centre full on this Sunday afternoon. We wandered down to the river.

Mr A and the lovely Catriona
It’s been a while between cat photos – this little chap was begging for strokes from everyone
The River Swale
The mist hanging over the River Swale
The waterfalls tinted with the tannins of autumn leaves
It doesn’t take long for the rain to start again

After the rain started we found shelter in a tea shop before a fun evening back at the apartment.

The sun returned for Monday, our final morning in Yorkshire. Catriona found a walk a short drive away in the village of Wensley.

The entranceway to Bolton Hall, a grand driveway with gatehouse
Bolton Hall – built in the late 17th centrury
Still some autumn colour about
Loving the autumnal day
A beautiful wizened oak tree beside the River Ure
More autumnal colour – rose hips and acorns
Walking team
Bolton Castle – 1378-1399

It was just a 6.5km walk this time, a chance for some fresh air and to stretch the legs before we bid each other farewell and went our separate ways, John and Catriona going back to Nottinghamshire while we went further north into County Durham.

It was a fantastic three days in North Yorkshire, giving us a taster of the beautiful walks and scenery there. We loved the villages, the culture and endless miles of hiking options. This is one area we will definitely be back to visit.

18-20 September: Exploring northern England

Author: Mrs A

Location: Harby & Newark-on-Trent – Nottinghamshire, & Ripon -Yorkshire, UK

Wednesday: We left Milton Keynes early and by 9am were in Newark in Nottinghamshire dropping Truffy off at our dealer for some warranty work. One of the reasons we love Fuller Leisure is that they’re a small, friendly family business, and they don’t hesitate to loan us a little runabout for the period of the service. We took the opportunity to drive into Newark-on-Trent, just a 20 minute drive from the dealer.

The castle has stood here for over 900 years

We knew nothing about the town as we drove in, but almost immediately saw Newark Castle ruins alongside the River Trent. It’s extremely picturesque, and given it has free entry we couldn’t resist an explore.

The castle was partly destroyed in 1646 at the end of the English CIvil War
Mr A wondering at all the people who looked out from this window before him

Leaving the castle we wandered into Newark’s market place, delighted to find it bustling with market day activity. We picked up some fruit and vegetables before exploring the rest of the town. We just love to buy produce fresh from the local farmers, appreciating the fresh taste as well as the opportunity to support local suppliers rather than supermarkets wherever possible.

Newark Market Place being used as it should be

After some shopping we returned to the car and drove up to our friends’ house in Harby for the night. There we had a delicious meal and shared some of our wine purchases from across Europe….enjoyed post a glass of the 1066 Hastings gin we gifted to Catriona.

Sunset across the countryside as seen from John and Catriona’s back garden

Thursday: My cousin’s daughter Hannah has just started a law degree at Lincoln University, just a half hour’s drive from our friends in Harby. Mark and I decided to drive up there to buy her breakfast and ensure she’s settling in alright. Lincoln is a small and friendly city, reminding me of Chester where I spent my university days.

The view from Hannah’s student room, uninterrupted up to Lincoln Castle and across the canal, walking distance into the centre of town.
Breakfast in Lincoln
Lincoln is a busy buzzing city on this Thursday morning

After farewelling Hannah off to a lecture, we drove back to Newark to pick up Truffy.

Dave debriefing on all the work they’ve completed
Happy customers with Dave ‘Always a pleasure, Fuller Leisure’…

We were amazed how much the team had completed in a relatively short period of time, consistently good. By 3pm we were on our way again.

When you grow up in the far south of England, anything past Watford Junction seems a long way away. Yorkshire, for example always appeared to be a mysterious place with lots of green on the map where people talk with the most intelligent sounding accent in the UK.

Nearly 300 miles (500km) apart – Sussex where I grew up and Yorkshire

So when our Nottinghamshire friends agreed to a weekend away in an AirBnB together in Yorkshire we were quite excited. Mark, Truffy and I skipped our way up the country, arriving in the city of Ripon on Thursday evening. There’s a carpark right in the middle of the city near the cathedral and Sainsbury’s that allows free overnight parking for motorhomes, and £2 for parking all day. It suited us perfectly and we settled in.

Truffy’s home for the night

After a peaceful night’s sleep, we decided to stick around the next morning and explore Ripon. Ripon is the oldest city in England and the smallest city in Yorkshire.

Not seen this many phone boxes
Mr A does a little ‘Black Sheep’ shopping for the weekend (locally brewed ales)

Ripon Cathedral was originally founded in the 660s by Scottish monks and tweaked and adjusted over the years.

Ripon Cathedral

Today it is still a living and active space, with lots of activity and full of people. Despite being an autumnal Thursday morning outside of the school holidays it was busy and bustling with an art and sculpture exhibition. I couldn’t resist a look.

Arches and stairwell to the sculpture exhibition
Many tours around the cathedral going on concurrently. A fabulous space with lots of light for the exhibition
Dating to 1789 a building beside the cathedral is now used as a hotel

Not far from the cathedral is a river and canal, so Mr A and I decided to stroll down. The canal was originally opened in the 1700s and restored in 1996. Today it’s clean with a walkway alongside it with several bird hides looking out towards wetlands.

The River Skell
The Ripon Canal
A bit of birdwatching
The wetlands
Mr A crossing over the canal on our circuit walk

We had a great afternoon’s walk around the waterways before returning to Truffy. We drove off to our AirBnB near Jervalaux Abbey to check in and await the arrival of John and Catriona as the sun set. A great first day in Yorkshire. We will be back!

Truffy relaxing outside the Old Hall
Our accomodation at the Old Hall