A Diary from the Dales - Part 3

Saturday and our original - albeit rather loose - plan was to get the bus into Leeds. I’d never been apart from a fleeting stop at Elland Road many moons ago and wanted to have a look around. The fact that we could get a bus direct from Ripon helped too and with it passing through Harrogate on the way it might have made for a nice journey.

We learnt though, through the wonder of social media that fellow caravanner - ‘Caravan Larry’ - real name Phil was staying on the Moors and a meet up was arranged for after lunch. Originally we were going to hook up in York but Phil wanted to head over our way which was fine by us. We were going to spend the morning ‘mopping up’ the bits of Ripon that we still wanted to see.

WP_20160326_11_12_17_ProFirst on the list was the Workhouse Museum - set, funnily enough in an old workhouse. We’d parked up, handed over the very reasonable two quid for a days parking and were just crossing the road to the museum  when who should appear but Caravan Larry himself with Mrs Larry and three little Larry’s.

Introductions made we headed into the museum and spent a pleasant hour and half or so wandering around. It served as a stark reminder of how tough life must have been if you were poor or fell on hard times in the early 1800’s.


It was universally agreed that lunch was next on the agenda and a newly discovered Wetherspoons duly obliged in Ripon’s Market Square. of course the chance to carry out a little more ‘research’ was too good to miss.

We had a great time with the Larry’s but it was soon time for us to part ways. Hopefully we will see them at a Twittercamp real soon. For those that like to cook in their caravan - or anywhere really - you should take a look at Phil’s website  - In My Caravan Kitchen - for recipes and some truly scrumptious looking meals - all prepared and cooked in the ‘van.

The Workhouse Museum is actually one of three - and a combined ticket gives you access all three - the second of which was the Courthouse Museum which we called into on the way back to the car. You get the chance to sit on the magistrates bench - and don a wig, act as a witness or even the defendant. Information boards give you the history of the courthouse - in action as a Magistrates court until 1998 - and some of the sentences handed down - many of which were deportation to Australia.


Sunday - and with forecasted to be appalling - and not even shopping to fall back on thanks to it being Easter - we decided to stay put. After a late start, Trev indulged in a bit of housework - or should that be ‘van work - while I sat in the dinette in front of the laptop and bashed one out. A blog that is. In fact several. As well as the main blog, there’s my Ale Archive where I keep a log of all the different beers I’ve tried. There was some catching up to do there as well thanks to the extensive er, research during Twittercamp. In the end quite a productive day. And the forecasters got it right too.

WP_20160328_13_33_41_ProMonday and our last full day in Ripon in particular and North Yorkshire in general. We completed the Ripon  trilogy by visiting the Prison & Police  Museum. Much of the displays and artefacts are contained within the cells themselves. There’s opportunities for kids and kids at heart to dress up and as you will see there is even an chance for you to get your leg over - a motorbike that is. Mind you with my repaired lace up leathers back in service that was easier said than done! Worth and hour or so of your time and easily reached from the market square.


With grocery shopping duties completed after a sneaky lunchtime pint and toastie we retreated to the comfort of Patsy as the weather once again turned sour.

Tuesday and time to head south a bit for our next stop in the Peak District, near the village of Longnor a little south of Buxton. With an expected journey time of a couple of hours or so, and not being able to get on our pitch until 2pm there was no rush to leave, so for once we weren’t up at silly o’clock getting packed up.

We really enjoyed our stay in Ripon - a great little site in a great little city. Access from the main roads was easy which made getting out to explore easy too. The sites facilities were immaculate and the laundrette was very reasonably priced at two quid a load and just a pound for the dryer. Ditto the WiFi at just eight quid for the week with no data limit and up to two devices at once. TV reception was good and mobile reception was ok - no problems on Three but Vodafone was a bit weak at times.

I drove the first part of the journey south and it’s fair to say I got the easier, if less, well, interesting half of the journey. Trev took over a little before we turned off from the M1 and all was good until we got through Bakewell, when the roads shrank considerably. Think single lanes with occasional passing places and steep twisting bends and tight hair pins and you’ll get an idea. A delight if there’s none of the boys in blue about with their Kodak’s and you can be sure nothing’s coming the other way - not so much fun with a tonne and a half on the back and trying to dodge pot holes to boot. It seemed to go forever and Trev must have changed gears more times than Lewis Hamilton. At last though the the signs came in to view as we passed through the village and knew we weren't far away. The turning to the site itself appeared from nowhere and necessitated a sharp WP_20160329_15_41_28_Proleft hand turn up a rather steep slope. Sadly Patsy’s tyres weren't the only part of her anatomy that came into contact with the tarmac and her rear right hand corner came out a little worse for wear with the black plastic being split in a couple of places and the end of the awning rail twisted underneath. Annoying but one of those things. We’ve since removed the twisted section of rail and taped up the plastic and it already looks a lot better. The metal skirt that runs down the side was unscathed and there appears to be no damage elsewhere. I’ll look to get it sorted at some point and maybe even have a go myself but there’s no rush.

Having got sited and thirst quenched with a cuppa we made a brief excursion up the road to Buxton to get our bearings and scour the supermarket for the stuff we’d forgot yesterday!

So, Part 3 done and dusted. Stand by for a good look around Buxton, a journey through the dales and a visit to the city of steel…..


A Diary from the Dales - Part 2

Our tales from the dales continues - roughly where we left off….


The howling wind nearly took the doors from the car as we exited and scurried across to the Tan Hill Inn. Low wooden beamed ceilings and a roaring fire greeted us, but we were far from the only ones there. Many walkers had clearly been braving the elements and had stopped off to dry out, recharge and re-fuel.

The line up of ales was impressive - eight hand pumps all with ales on, so clearly they must be doing the business. The food that was coming out looked - and smelt - pretty good too. We’d got food in for later but decided a couple of bowls of chips wouldn’t hurt - purely for research purposes obviously. Let me tell you now, they were delicious. some of the best I’ve ever had.


I wasn’t driving, so ordered a second pint, which of course meant a little visit to another part of the pub before we left. On the wall above the loo was a poster giving some info about the pub. sadly these days I need to learn back a bit further to get it into focus - the writing that is. Anyway, the pub is not connected to any mains services - it generates it’s own electricity, has large gas tanks and get’s its water from underground. Accommodation is available in the form of rooms or dorms and you are welcome to bring your caravan or motorhome and camp in the car park. Mind you, towing Patsy all the way up here - on the road we took anyway - is not something I would relish.

I would have happily stayed all afternoon, working my way through the beers but there was more to do and see so we headed off, thankful that the rain was beginning to ease.


We returned the way we came, passing back through Reeth, then turning right and heading south, arriving in Leyburn to something approaching sunshine. To say that Leyburn was another typical North Yorkshire town is a bit lazy, but there were similarities - sturdy looking stone buildings surrounding a large market square and plenty of independent shops. No shortage of pubs either, but we resisted.


Last stop of the day was Masham - home to not one but two breweries - Theakstons and Black Sheep. You’ll find it hard to believe but we didn’t visit either. Don’t get me wrong - I enjoy all their beers - but we’ve been around a brewery before and you’ll find Theakstons & Black Sheep ales here everywhere anyway. The town itself was worthy of a stroll around though which we did.


All in all, a cracking day. Our first venture into the dales rewarded us with some terrific scenery, from stark weather-beaten landscapes to picture postcard towns. And a couple of decent pints too….

Clear blue skies greeted us on Good Friday and after breakfast we joined the queue of traffic at the nearby National Trust property - Fountain Abbey and gardens, just a couple of miles up the road. As members, we got in ‘free’ of course but there were plenty coughing up the thirteen quid to get in too.

I could waffle on here, copying and pasting text from the Trust’s website telling you all about the history, but instead I’ll let the pictures do the talking.




While the Abbey itself is impressive, the area and surrounding gardens and lakes are wonderful too. On a warm day it would be a great to bring a picnic and spend the day, it was fantastic.




We were there quite a while - and were walking for most of it, following the various paths up and around the whole site. This was our only planned activity for the day but with the weather set fair we decided to continue west and into the dales to see what they looked like with the sun out.

Pateley Bridge was the first stop and a welcome one as it was clearly time to refuel - this time on tea and delicious scones, but not before negotiating the narrow high street that had doubtless claimed a few wing mirrors in it’s time.


Heading off, the road got more interesting, particularly when we turned right on to the B6160 and headed north. The scenery of course was fantastic, but I was having just as much fun giving Rosie a little bit of a work out. Steep climbs, tight bends and plunging descents that just deserved to be driven enthusiastically - as long as you could guarantee nothing was coming the other way of course. Sadly, all too often we got stuck behind some flashy sports car with an old codger at the wheel who was oblivious to the mounting queue behind him as he trundled along at the speed of a shopping trolley. Nevertheless it was very enjoyable and the scenery, in the bright afternoon sunshine, was wonderful.


Our drive brought us back into to Leyburn, then across to Bedale before heading back to base via quick pit stop in one of Ripon’s hostelries. Thirsty work this sightseeing you know…..