Saturday, June 13, 2009

More of Yorkshire

So on to Tuesday, and not such a sunny start. I had told Martin that enough was enough and it was time he stopped driving and had a chill out day, so the plan was to stay at the cottage, maybe a trip out to the nearby village but mainly NO driving. Well that lasted until about 10 o'clock by which time, we had had breakfast, I had played solitary sudolu, and started a watercolour of the garden in the boiling sun (yes the weather had rapidly changed and it was hot, hot, hot!). Martin was obviously bored too because it didnt take more than a couple of words to persuade him to get back behind the wheel.

Amongst all the hundreds of tourist leaflets I had picked up from various shops along the way, was one describing a 'craft' trail, following a circular route starting at Hawes, 4 miles down the road, we could visit the cheese factory, the felt factory, the sheep dog demo, the waterfalls, candle making, rope works, the county museum and several other wonderful places. Sounded good so off we went.

We started in Hawes where we managed to buy me a hat (purple baseball cap, but at least it kept the sun out of my eyes) and after a quick squizz at the local market stalls, we headed to the rope making demos. Now Mart was facinated but to me it was rather small potatoes since I had already seen the demos at Chatham where the supposedly longest rope making shed in existance still makes ropes. However it was still interesting, although as a working factory there was little to tell us what was going on, we just got to watch the two guys making rope.

The rope making place backed onto the country museum, which also held the Tourist information shop. We had being seeing signs and directions to these all over Yorkshire but had yet managed to actually find one, but it was a little late into the week to find the free information of much use, we still enjoyed browsing all the leaflets and suggestions though. The museum, unlike most town museums was not free to enter, and neither could we see how big it was or what delights it might hold. At £3 a shot, we decided we really didnt want to take the risk of paying £6 to see what might only be a few rusty relics.

Mind you, outside it was perfectly possible to see all this for free, so maybe the artifacts may have been a bit more exciting than a few Roman coins and a collection of someone's 1810 photos.
Before we left Hawes, a must was the Wensleydale Creamery where all the Wensleydale cheese is made.
This was really interesting, first a musuem with loads of cheese and butter making artifacts alongside some old farming instruments and loads of info on how the creamery came into existence from a very well made video presentation, and then into the veiwing room where you could witness the production of that day's cheese being made.

My first few photos were pretty poor as the viewing window was pretty filthy. Then I discovered I could zoom in and get much better shots.

Not expecting a picnic opportunity I had thrown a cold drink, apples, cheese, and some crisps into the car, so before carrying on along the craft trail we sat in a feild, admired the view
and munched our snack as it was now gone 1 o'clock. We hadnt got far around the actual trail but we were having fun. A good job too as the rest of the trail was not quite as sucessful.

Next on the list was the Felt gallery and a waterfall worth photographing. We found the village easily, and parked up. The first thing we noticed was a sign saying that parking within the village was free but they would welcome donations towards the upkeep of the church, written in rather menacing tones. Mmm, strange. The felt museum turned out to be a private house with the upstairs open to the public. It looked rather forboding so we gave that a miss and turned to find the walk up to the waterfalls. As we had driven through the village we had seen a pathway advertised at the local pub. Martin said he could do with a drink so we went in. It turned out the waterfall access (not the waterfall) was across private land and they were charging £5 per person for the priviledge!! Not in this life, mister! We had seen waterfalls in Yosimite for free, much better than you could ever offer, so no thanks.

We had a swift half and got back in the car for the next installement. A drive across Butertubs pass with spectacular views across the Swaledale valley. The countryside up until now had been beautifully manicured, sheep grazing in every field, well kept dry stone walls surrounding pretty stone cottage farm houses. Out here it got a bit wilder,

the walls dissappeared and the sheep wandered in the roads, contained only by the lay of the land and cattle grids. Which invariably meant they wandered in front of cars!! The candle making demo's were suspended throughout June, but by now we were getting pretty tired so we decided to give the rest of the trial a miss and cut across country back to the cottage. Even this took us the best part of an hour as although the roads were good, there was no direct routes, and we meandered back and forth across the dales. We had intended to stop at Asgwrath falls but again the steep cost of the parking detered us and we pushed on for base camp. Finally we arrived back, and although tired we decided to hace one more short excursion to see the lake situated just behind Bainbridge.

Here the roads got very very narrow, and at one point seemed little more than a dirt track, which is where we spotted these little bundles of fluff! Wild pheasant chicks!!

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