Using Leeds as a base we did some day trips in the area but before I get to that I thought I’d just show a few other highlights of Leeds.
We rely heavily on our Lonely Planet guide and the internet to work out what to see when we get to a new place, but neither of them pointed us in the direction of the canals – that took a casual conversation with a lady in a shop. I love canals and narrow boats, so we hastened along and it didn’t disappoint. It is part of the Aire and Calder navigation system and I am surprised I hadn’t realised it’s in Leeds as Mark and I watch the Jonathon Sergeant “Barging round Britain” series on DVD when we’re glamping. We must have watched it thirty times and I still didn’t twig. Anyway we didn’t miss it which is a relief.
It’s a very pretty area, having been gentrified in recent years. On the way back we passed through one of the arcades and found this window in the Ted Baker shop.
I’ve seen these before, but it’s still nice to see.
One of our day trips was to Harrogate. I don’t think I had any expectations about Harrogate, so it was all a pleasant reveal. On the way we passed these rather odd spheres. I was rather intrigued and assumed they were some sort of communications installation.
They add a certain something to the landscape, but we figured they were something serious as the fence around the installation is covered in razor wire, which can be seen through the leaves in the above photograph.
We passed a sign saying RAF Menwith Hill, which I googled. I expected some sort of secret squirrel installation but our old friend wikipedia told all. It provides communications and intelligence support services to the UK and USA. This is a communications intercept and missile warning site. Apparently it’s the largest electronic monitoring station in the world. Fascinating!
Harrogate was a must place to visit. It is described as the quintessential Victorian spa town and so it is. It also has a strong connection to Agatha Christie as she hid out in Harrogate when she left her husband, which was probably a pretty daring thing to do in 1926.
We found so many fascinating buildings. but the one that we were most interested in was Betty’s, a rather amazing looking tea rooms. This is the queue to go in and it didn’t diminish the whole time we were in Harrogate.
Mark’s happy place is in a bakery and this one was glorious. Delectables were purchased.
I was taken with these pretty fondant fancies, but he turned his nose up at them. How could he resist a pig? or a cauliflower?
Delicious things in hand, we continued with our meanderings. From memory this was one of the spa buildings, now a museum space.
They had an exhibition of wedding dresses, but this is the one that caught my eye. Recycling at its best :D!
I have a penchant for quirky pub names and The Fat Badger is up there with the best of them! It was in a beautiful building too.
Our main reason for going to Yorkshire was to visit Pateley Bridge, which is where Mark’s paternal family are from.
This is allegedly the oldest sweet shop in England, having been established in 1661. It was really charming, there is even a fireplace in the shop and I can imagine that in the days before other heat sources, they had an open fire in the winter. How lovely would that be?
I used to listen to Mark’s dad talk about Yorkshire and Pateley Bridge and I confess that my hearing was slightly impaired by my southern English bias. Well, all that has changed. I now see that Yorkshire does indeed deserve the title of “God’s own country”. I was helped in this view by the beautiful weather and those endless cherry blossoms.
This is more town than village, and it is so pretty.
This is the high street. It was quite busy as we visited on Sunday. The endless cars get a bit tedious, but I did manage to wait to take this photo until there was a lull in the traffic.
One of the places we visited was Skipton. This mounting block caught my eye as I’ve never seen a stone mounting block before. Allegedly (I use that word a lot), it was used by Richard III, who either had a really tall horse or he was a really short man. This is a high mounting block!
One of my favourite things about Skipton is the canal that runs through the centre of town. This was a water powered corn mill, providing a service to local people who would bring their corn to be turned into flour, and it was later extended to turn rags into paper, but is now some sort of homewares building.
You can see how the mill was sited on the edge of the canal.
I can’t resist these low bridges with the alluring view through the other side.
The narrow boats here are in beautiful condition. It’s interesting the see the mix of old and new
As we wandered through the countryside, I constantly sighed at the views, enjoying enormously the fields defined by beautiful dry stone walls
and it seems as though every single field has at least one black lamb in it – this one had black twins! It fascinated me.
Onwards to Malham Cove. This is a huge rock amphitheatre that is ringed with vertical cliffs. Apparently in the wake of the last Ice Age, this was a waterfall to rival Niagara Falls – seems quite incredible. I understand that it’s full of rock climbers on holidays and high days.
There is a lovely walk along a little river with a little stone bridge.
Mark was busy taking my photo when there was a stampede of calves down the hill headed right for him. My heart was in my mouth, but they leapt into the river for a drink. They were fairly tame and we got quite close to them.
The village of Malham is very pretty and afternoon tea was had in the pub. I have to say that even I was hot with that fire going and they kept stoking it!
I’m including this photo as it was taken in the most wonderfully named “Giggleswick”. I wish I lived somewhere called Giggleswick. It sounds so happy!
Another town with a waterfall right in the middle is Hawes, in the heart of Wensleydale country. Yes, cheese was bought!
We drove right across the Yorkshire Dales to the Tan Hill Inn, which sits absolutely in the middle of nowhere and is the highest, as well as the most remote, public house in England. This Inn has got quite a bit of accommodation and it’s clearly aimed at all the people who hike round the Dales.
Here is the view from the Inn – there is absolutely nothing else within cooee!
This brings our Leeds adventure to an end, and we prepare to head closer to the coast and the Yorkshire Moors.
I thought I’d finish with a fun fact – I used the word “cooee” which is such a common word in Australia. It is an Aboriginal word from the Dharug people near Sydney and it means “come here”. Anyone who has used the word with hands cupped round mouth knows that it can carry for a very long way.