Day tripping round the Yorkshire Dales

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. IMG_3485

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. IMG_3487

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.IMG_3502

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. IMG_3520

There is a lovely walk along a little river with a little stone bridge.IMG_3531

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.IMG_3535

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!IMG_3563

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.




26 thoughts on “Day tripping round the Yorkshire Dales

  1. Thank you for the lovely photos and descriptions! It’s always great to see that that sort of historical geography and nature are still there.

    The cooee amuses me, since this weekend at the big national tarot conference in New York City, Ethony (originally from Australia) was speaking and told us that if we ever acted up too noisily or didn’t come back from the break in good time, she’d do her loudest cooee into the mic and then we’d be sorry. Fortunately it didn’t come to that!

  2. Thanks for the reminders of the beautiful parts of Yorkshire . I have a story for every place you mentioned! Enjoy the rest of you wanderings.

    1. I am not surprised that you have a repertoire of stories for all these places. I cannot believe how much I am loving Yorkshire.

  3. As a Brit, your tour is making me feel patriotic (a feeling that has been in short supply of late)

  4. I love everything in this post: the narrow boats, the calves, the sheep and even this incredible “bra” dress! Looks like you’re making the most of your time there. A side question for you: is the driving easy? Richard and Benjamin had had a bit of a rough time, especially with driving on the left side of the road. They also found that the roads were very narrow with lots of round-abouts, something we are not used to in America.

    1. We aren’t finding the driving too difficult. Of course they drive on the same side of the road as us, which makes a difference. The roads are narrow and there are roundabouts constantly. We have them at home, but not as many, so we aren’t fazed by them. Mark does most of the driving, with me “co-driving” as nothing flusters him – he doesn’t care if a truck pulls up behind him honking its horn – whereas I freak out a bit. I navigate, which means I interpret the Google directions.

      1. This is fabulous that you two always go along so well, even in the most potentially conflictual situations, case in point driving in the UK! xxx

      2. Mark is exceptionally calm of course, but with Google maps and me helping, the navigation has not been a problem. The speed of the cars (they hurtle!) can be a bit terrifying, but we just plod along enjoying the scenery and ignore the mad gesticulations of other drivers!

  5. You’ve seen some wonderful parts of Yorkshire and great that you got to Malham. If you are going near Whitby I highly recommend B&B The Grange at Fylingthorpe run by an old friend of mine Paul Laverack (just ranked 4th best B&B in the world!).

  6. You have such great pictures and descriptions. So many wonderful things to see!! That’s some wedding dress!! lol I can’t believe the candy shop has been there for hundreds of years. Every single picture and description was a total delight.

  7. I too have a story for many of the places you have visited. Have you ever had a canal holiday? We used to go every year when the children were primary/ early secondary age… such a great holiday, slow pace, friendly folk, quiet backwaters, like stepping back in time. Have you come across the channel 4 TV series Great Canal Journets with Timothy West and Prunella Scales? Just wonderful.
    We had to stop the holidays when the girls’ mobile phones and hair straighteners wouldn’t work!!! When we’r had a few years of Majorcan holidays as the children were deprived!

    1. My Mum and Dad used to have a punt on the river at Henley, but I have never done a canal holiday and I am desperate to do one. I haven’t seen that TV series, but will track it down. I had to laugh at the needs of your daughters and the way they shaped your holidays!

  8. OK: wonderful as usual. Richard III was in fact a man with scoliosis of the spine. A proper hunchback, not Shakespeare doing a number on a non-Tudor king. Richard’s remain were found recently when a car park was built over the unmarked grave, which was once part of a monastery. Of course, Henry VIII extinguished the monastery and whatever records there were of Richard’s burial were lost…..

    R III was a master strategist, a very able man, and it turns out, probably the rightful heir. Modern research suggests Edward IV, his brother, was not the legitimate son of his putative father, and with Clarence deceased, RichardIII was next in line…..

    If a man with a bent spine needs a mounting block, I say, let him have one…….

    1. Oh yes, thank you, I had forgotten all that detail about Richard III. I wasn’t really having a go at him, simply musing about the mounting block as it’s quite different from the norm. Interesting to think about what UK would be like had the rightful heirs had ascended the throne…

  9. I am loving your travelogue. We are hoping to trip to England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland next year so I am very busy taking notes! I will have to start sewing my capsule wardrobe, though I quite like to travel light and pick up items along the way.

    1. I used to travel with an empty suitcase and just buy clothes as I went, but as I haven’t bought any clothes for six years, I now have to make them all, and so the travelling wardrobe has to be carefully crafted. I always get it wrong though!

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