Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Beautiful Yorkshire, part 2

I am so sorry that I didn't write this post earlier. I started already last week but I just didn't manage to finish it. School holidays started again and we drove the children to my parents and spent some days there because it's been my mother's 65th birthday. But now I will continue with my post about our beautiful trip to Yorkshire.
On Saturday we decided to go again to Bolton Abbey. The weather was wonderful and we were eager to take a good walk on this gorgeous ground. What an awesome scenery! What a glorious day! It felt so me walking through the fresh green grass, looking at the ruin, the sheep and the river Wharfe. My heart was filled with happiness that J and I had the chance to spend some precious time together in such a beautiful place.
After a good walk we went back to our car and drove through the wonderful Wharfedale heading north. I wanted to see Wensleydale, especially Bolton Castle. The further we went to the north, the worse the weather got. When we reached Bolton Castle a rough wind was blowing and dark clouds appeared.
 Bolton Castle was built in the 14th century and it was damaged in the English Civil War, but much of it remains. It has never been sold and is still in the ownership of the descendants of the Scrope family. Several movies and television productions have used the castle as a location, including Ivanhoe, Elizabeth and All Creatures Great and Small.
St. Oswald

The solar
Mary, Queen of Scots, was brought to Bolton Castle in July 1568 where she spent six months under custody. During her captivity she and her retinue took over the Solar and the whole of the adjoining rooms and two large bed chambers in the tower directly above. The Solar was a family sitting-room, in which Mary is said to have spent hours gazing out of the window and writing long, desperate letters to people of influence.
This is where Mary is said to have put her glass to heat up her wine.
Mary's bedroom
When we went up to the roof a cold wind was blowing, a flock of crows was screaming and dark clouds were gathering at the gloomy sky. I could imagine how life would have been some hundred years ago in this chilly and rough castle. The hills covered with dark forests where you could find bears and wolves. My overactive and vivacious fantasy bubbled over and I could feel the desperateness and distress Mary may have felt when she was under custody in this castle. 
Up on the roof
Veeeeeeery chilly, indeed!
We went down again, visited the stables, the kitchen and several other work spaces of the castle but soon we wanted to leave this place to find some warmth. We were chilled to the bones. On the one hand I somehow felt sad and emotionally shaken, a very strange feeling, on the other hand I was so impressed and fascinated by this castle. But we definitely needed something uplifting. So we continued our drive through Wensleydale and made a stop in Askrigg. Yes ASKRIGG, the village where the series 'All Creatures Great and Small' was filmed!

When I was a child I just LOVED watching an episode of this series, snuggling on the sofa. I even read the books though I have to admit that I like the TV series much better than the book. Because of this series I wanted to become a veterinary surgeon for many, many years. Childhood dreams ...

We had a look at the house where James Harriot 'lived' and were lucky that there was a nice small tea room right next to it.
I had a strong Yorkshire Tea and a scone with clotted cream and jam. This really lifted up our spirits.
After our break we continued our way. I asked myself if there was any opportunity to buy some Wensleydale wool or yarn. It is quite known here in Germany and I couldn't understand that there was no sign, no shop that offered this wool. But I read that there was a creamery that made Wensleydale cheese and so we headed to Hawes. 
The landscape is soooo beautiful! I didn't do any crochet on our way because I had to look around all the time. I took so many photos on the way, here are just a few.
We reached Hawes shortly before the creamery's closing hour. We just popped in for a quick tasting, bought some cheese and left again. But Hawes is a nice little town worth a visit, as well.
And even here the Tour de France had passed and the cyclists had fighted for the climber's jersey. You could find the 'polka-dot-bikes' just everywhere!

Again, a long post about our travel. But it is my last one, promised. We really enjoyed our short trip on our own (without kids and dog). It is something very special and luxurious for me and I am very thankful that once in a while it is just possible to do something 'couple-like'.

Next time I will tell you about two give-aways I have won. Yes, this is not a typing error, I really won two give-aways the last week! And I will write about my ongoing crochet projects, as well.  

And until then....


Sunday, 5 October 2014

Beautiful Yorkshire, part 1

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last two posts and a warm welcome to my new followers. I hope that you'll enjoy reading my posts. As promised I want to write about my wonderful Yorkshire experiences.

I just had a look at all the pictures I have taken last weekend when my husband (I will call him J from now on as it is the first letter of his name) and I travelled to the Yorkshire Dales for a short trip. It's been our 16th wedding anniversary and usually we do not go in for something special (just a good meal in the evening and some flowers for me :-)). But this year my mother had time to take care of the children, the dog and the house and we used the opportunity to get away for some days. 

Since I had seen the photos of last year's Yarndale I had told J that I would love to go there eventually. And as he is a perfect planner (if it was possible he would love to plan our holidays for the next 20 years...), he booked two flights to Manchester and told me to search for an accommodation. I was so excited! It is really something extraordinary for us to go an a holiday just the two of us. Since we have children (my son is 11 years old) we mostly travel to the Netherlands or to Denmark because it is just the easiest and the most inexpensive. I wracked my brains where I would like to stay the three nights but looking at the prices I soon realised that a good B&B would be best for us. Finally I came across the Bondcroft Farm, a lovely B&B in Embsay just on the outskirts of Skipton.

On Thursday, the 25th veeery early in the morning we drove to the airport of Hamburg and 1,5 hours after departure we stood at Manchester airport. We had booked a car at the airport and J bravely got behind the wheel. "Why on earth do the British have to drive on the wrong side of the street?", J uttered once in a while concentrating hard on the traffic. 

We didn't want to stay in Manchester for long but I wanted to take a look at Chinatown. Since I studied sinology when I was a young woman, my interest in China has never ceased and I was curious how it would look like. But this was a real disappointment. If you visit Manchester and if you are interested in China and if you love Chinatowns all over the world, don't go to Manchester Chinatown. There is nothing to see except the archway. 
No crowded groceries, supermarkets or furniture shops, no Chinese decoration, nothing that is so typical of Chinatowns. After a short walk we decided to leave Manchester for the countryside. 

Our first stop was Haworth, a village famous because of the Brontë sisters who lived there. I have always wanted to visit the Haworth Parsonage since I read 'Jane Eyre' and 'Wuthering Heights' when I was about 17. 

I wasn’t disappointed. We arrived in quite an awful weather - the sky was gloomy and the air was filled with drizzling rain -  so there were only a few tourists strolling around. We had the chance to see the parsonage when there were only a few people.
Haworth Parsonage

I was quite amazed that there was so much of the furniture that had actually belonged to the Brontës. Often, museums just have furniture which is of the correct period in them so it was really wonderful to see the real things, including the sofa on which Emily died. Many, many personal belongings are on show. Letters and books, study boards, art work, dresses, shoes, jewellery, hair and sewing boxes. The house is beautifully decorated and I can highly recommend visiting it if you are interested in the Brontës.
The one thing that surprised me was the size of the place. I had always imagined the parsonage to be really big as it looks very impressive in photos. In reality it is much smaller than I had thought it to be and it must have been quite a squeeze to fit 6 children, parents and a servant into it. Parsonages are usually huge, so I guess Haworth must have been a very poor parish.
A sign showing the gate
used by the family to access the church from the parsonage
St Michael and All Angels Church

After visiting the Parsonage we had a look at the graveyard. It was incredibly beautiful and terribly sad wandering around the graves. The village had awful sanitation in the early 19th century. Most of the water that ran into the town came in through the earth of the graveyard. Disease was widespread. There were long tomb stones filled up with the names of family members who had died in quick succession - the average life expectancy was only age 22! Can you imagine living in a house surrounded by this? It's no wonder many of their stories were filled with such sadness.
 Then we strolled around the village. Haworth is so sweet! A wonderful village with small, interesting shops, nice pubs and tea rooms. Worth a visit, even in rain!
Gorgeous flowers blooming in the rain

 In the afternoon we headed for Embsay to settle down in our B&B room. I forgot to take any photos of it but it was a nice, comfortable and (most important for me!!!) quite accommodation. However, I would like to say a few words about the 'full English breakfast'. My dearest British friends, I have to admit that this is nothing I can recommend. Sausages, bacon, black pudding and an egg - who is able to digest so much animal protein in the mornings? The second morning I asked lovely Elaine just for a small portion of scrambled eggs and tomatoes. She also offered fresh fruit, yogurt, muesli, toast and home-made jam and marmalade. All in all very delicious and absolutely sufficient for me. It has been a really comfortable stay there.
Morning view from our window

The next day the weather didn't get better. So we decided to explore the countryside by car. We headed for Grassington, a little market town in Wharfedale. We passed Bolton Abbey, and the Linton waterfalls but as the rain got worse and worse we didn't stop. We just followed the route, admiring the landscape.
The Priest house at Barden
When the rain ceased we reached the small town of Grassington in Upper Wharfedale. Centred around its small cobbled square is a selection of shops, pubs and the village museum, offering food, clothing and gifts.

 I love this dwarf's face carved into a tree trunk!
So true and so beautiful!
 The sun was coming up and we decided to do some hiking. Not a long, strenuous walk but a little tour. We drove to Malham, a small village surrounded by limestone walls and with a stream running right through the middle of the village. We decided to take the walk to Malham Cove, a huge curving amphitheatre shaped cliff formation of limestone rock. The vertical face of the cliff is about 260 feet high. The top of the cove is a large area of limestone pavement. Originally, a large waterfall flowed over the cove as a glacier melted above it. But now a stream emerges from a cave at the bottom of the cove.
The way up...

On the top...

Way down again...
Passing many, many sheep...
Because our walking-tour was so enjoyable we spontaneously decided to take the little diversion via Gordale Scar. This is a spectacular gorge, complete with waterfalls, cut right into the limestone hillside. The gorge was produced by water from melting glaciers sometime over the last three million years.

On the way back to Malham we passed 'Janet's Foss', a small but wonderful waterfall and pool in a kind of magical wood. Janet’s Foss got its name from a fairy queen in folklore (by the name ‘Jennet’) who was said to reside in the caves behind the falls.

On the footpath we discovered a tree stump that has become home to hundreds of pennies to make a wish with Jennet 'the queen of the fairies...
I could go on like this for ages but I think I have to stop now. Family time! The other part of our trip will follow soon, I promise. 

Have a super Sunday,