Showing posts with label yorkshire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yorkshire. Show all posts

Sunday 19 June 2016

Where is the map?

For a few years Cathy's wanted to see the wildflower meadows of Swaledale in full bloom. So I booked a campsite between Muker and Reeth.

Friday 17 June 2016
I finished work at lunchtime and after preparing the van we drove north up the M6. The traffic was kind to us, although once on the minor roads, the satnag decided to take us over the top of the hills along ever narrowing lanes. We were in this part of the world last August, when we stayed on the Usha Gap campsite in Muker and many years ago we'd enjoyed some great holidays in a cottage in Grinton with our children and our old friend, Chris.  The Scabba Wath campsite was poorly signposted but we eventually found it, pulling into a slightly sloping pitch that needed levellers.  There was already a group with a caravan and tent and a couple of crazy dogs. Cathy cooked some pizza this morning and we had this with some salad and a glass or two of red wine. After dinner we had a short walk across the road and over the bridge, walking down to the river Swale and a little up the road towards Grinton. There were hundreds of rabbits hopping about, including some very flat ones on the road! Back at the van we sat with the sliding door open, watching the sheep settle down for the night, but the rain closed us down and we had an early night to read.  It was a quiet night and we both slept well.

Saturday 18 June 2016
We didn't wake until 0830 - almost 12 hours in bed! That's what a week at work does to us. After breakfast Cathy went to pay and ditch rubbish, while I packed everything away. We drove down to Reeth. We wanted to visit the bakery where in previous holidays we'd stocked up on lovely food for our walks in the hills ("two of them, three of them, four of them!"). With a couple of pasties, some fruit cake and shortbread, we drove back passed last night's campsite towards Muker and the Usha Gap campsite. I popped in to the farmhouse to pay for a night and we pitched up in the small area next to the river.  With our rucksacks packed with lunch, flask and water the last thing was the map.  "Where is the map?" I asked.  Cathy didn't remember packing it, so I must have left it somewhere at home - my bad!  But I remembered our route from last year, which started with walking through the famous wildflower meadows of Muker.  The sun was out and so we managed to take some great photos as well as stand to soak up the colour. The route took us along the river before climbing towards the remains of Crackpot Hall. We stopped further along, by a waterfall, for our lunch.  The Reeth bakery food and our tuna rolls went down very well and with renewed energy we walked up to the small hamlet of Keld.  There's a small, basic campsite here, quite high up and with great views.  I'll think we'll give it a try next time.  Dropping down we joined the old corpse road, where in the past they carried coffins over the hill to Muker, soon climbing with great views all around.  As we reached the top and started our descent, we stopped and sat on the grassy hill for a cuppa.  The Farmers Arms in Muker provided a well deserved pint before the short walk back to the van.  Cathy had a lie down while I used the campsite's clean, hot and very welcome showers. Back over the road I wound out our awning - the first time we'd used it since it was fitted last November - then prepared and cooked our meal of chicken pad Thai, washed down with a bottle of chilled Leffe. We ate outside but the midges were starting to give us some grief, so I washed up across the road while Cathy sorted out the van.  We spent the rest of the evening sat in the van, enjoying the occasional sunny spell while reading.  I think we'll soon be asleep!

Sunday 19 June 2016
A grey morning and the midges were still battering at the windows and skylights to come in! After breakfast we drove up over the Buttertubs Pass and stopped in the village of Ingleton. There's a good walk to the waterfalls but at £6 per adult, we thought this was a bit steep. After all, it's not as if it costs a huge amount to maintain!  So instead we returned to the van, grabbed a picnic and walked back to sit at a picnic table by the river.  There's a small, heated outdoor swimming pool in the village which looked lovely - next time.  Back home we gave Nido a good clean inside and out and I emptied his garage ready for his habitation service tomorrow.

River Swale - looks low

Wildflower meadows - Muker, Swaledale

Sunday 6 September 2015

Blue skies

Sunday 6 September 2015

This morning it's blue sky, hot sunshine and no breeze - must be home time!  It was cold in the night so Cathy flicked on the heating for half an hour before I made a brew.  I took my mug outside, enjoying the peace and quiet.  While Cathy sorted out the inside of the van, I set up for breakfast outside - toast (using our new dry frying pan method - I think I had it too hot as Cathy's was better!), fried chorizo and baked beans.  We're just about out of fresh food and little milk, so it was a last day improvised breakfast, eaten outside in the sunshine with huge views - this truly is an amazing place.

We'll be making our way home in a couple of hours, back to clean the van inside and out, put everything away and prepare for back to work.  Nido's booked in to A&E tomorrow to sort out the water leaks.  We've had a really good week in Yorkshire, mainly good weather for this part of the country and time of the year, just a couple of days rain.  We've stayed in some lovely places, had some great, sometimes challenging walks and I cycled some of the Tour route I rode with Ray last week.  Again, it feels like we've been away much longer than a week, we've really relaxed and enjoyed our last holiday before our next holiday in July next year.

Saturday 5 September 2015

Peaceful Gordale

Saturday 5 September 2015

We slept well last night, no doubt due to the inky darkness and quietness.  Cathy went off to walk up to the end of the gorge to take some photos, while I put the kettle on.  We tried a new trick for breakfast - making toast in a dry frying pan on the gas ring.  This worked out fine so if we want toast in the future when not on EHU, we have the option.

We left for our walk at about 1000, turning left out of the campsite and up a steep road - got the blood flowing!  At the top we crossed the hillside, passing the site of a Roman marching camp, although there was nothing remaining to see.  We eventually met the road we walked on yesterday, not far from Malham Tarn, this time taking a slightly different route than yesterday to bypass Malham Cove. We stopped on the way for lunch, sat on the limestone pavement.  We reached the road and walked down into Malham village, which was busy with walkers and others eating and drinking outside the two pubs.  This morning we did the equivalent of searching down the back of the sofa and cobbled together about £12 in change - this meant we could do some shopping, not that Malham has much!  But we found a bottle of Italian red in the gift shop cum café, so bought this plus a packet of crisps each - last of the big spenders!  We followed the road back to Gordale Scar and the campsite.

It was much busier on the campsite, but mainly with what appeared to be day trippers in their cars - bit strange for a campsite. El Nido was closely surrounded by about 6 cars - a large group of Middle Eastern people - men sat on a rug making tea on an open fire and the women separately, behind a windbreak, with lots of children running about, clearly enjoying the freedom and adventure of the countryside.  We sat outside with a brew, but these families were very noisy, also playing loud music, making it hard to enjoy the peace and quiet of the campsite and the surroundings, so we sat in the van to read and try and get some quiet time.  The clearly enjoyed their BBQs and it was good to see families out enjoying themselves, but a little more respect for those around them would have been nice.

Dinner tonight was vegetable fried rice, cooked outside but eaten inside due to the cold, although clear evening.  Once we'd washed up and it was getting dark, we took a walk to the end of the gorge to see and hear the waterfall in the fading light.   Our noisy neighbours left at about 2230 and we stepped out into the cold and very dark night to look at the stars - amazing with no light pollution.

No better bath than a Radox bath in the sunshine!


Friday 4 September 2015

Gordale Scar - Amazing!

Friday 4 September 2015

My buddy Dave Bonas reminded me this morning that it's 36 years to the day that we joined the Royal Navy at HMS RALEIGH at the tender age of 16 as Junior Assistant Writers (2nd Class) - you couldn't get any lower than that!  Where has the time (and our hair and six-packs!) gone?

El Nido is parked at the campsite at Gordale Scar.  This is an amazing place, a deep, steep-sided limestone gorge with several waterfalls.    We woke quite early this morning and were up and about by 0800.  I'd not slept well - ill in the night - so I felt a little out of sorts.  All packed away, waste dumped and topped up with fresh water, I paid for our stay - we'll definitely return to Kettlewell.  The drive took us over the hill tops, along narrow, winding and very steep roads.  Luckily there were plenty of passing places so that made it less stressful on the driver - me!  We drove straight to Gordale Scar but I forgot to stop at the Farm Shop to get some Yorkshire Chorizo, chicken and wine - my bad.  I thought we'd be able to get some groceries in Malham during our walk - another poor assumption!

The campsite is very informal - no pitches - just go where you want.  The owner is a bit......eccentric is probably the kindest word.  The entrance is full of junk, bags of old newspapers and hundreds (and I do mean hundreds) of empty disposable BBQ trays.  I eventually tracked him down to what I thought was an abandoned caravan; I think he lives in it.  At £10 per night this is a bargain, even with very basic facilities.  So we drove down, found a level pitch, close to the beck and surrounded by sheep and prepared for our walk.

Leaving the van with our rucksacks we walked up the gorge to the waterfall at the end.  The guide said we could scramble up the left side of the waterfall to climb up to meet the path at the top.  Maybe 20 years ago!, although Cathy was keen.  There was an alternative route, back out of the campsite and climbing around the spur of the gorge side, to meet the waterfall path at the top.  We stopped at the summit for lunch, overlooking the campsite, with Nido a tiny toy van down below by the stream, surrounded by sheep.
End of Gordale Scar
On we walked, at a high level with great views all around, before dropping down to Malham Tarn, a large lake.  We walked alongside this for a while before rejoining the Pennine Way and walking through a dry river bed up to the top of Malham Cove.  The view from here was amazing and we enjoyed walking across the deeply-creviced limestone pavements.  We stopped here for a brew before descending via the steep steps to the bottom of the cove.  We walked to the end, with the stream water coming up from an underground spring at the base of the cliffs.  Above us a few madsters were rock climbing.  We followed the path out into Malham village, hoping to buy a few groceries - no joy, just a couple of pubs, tea-shops and a little shop selling not much except for ice cream and frisbees!  So we'll need to make our victuals last for two days.

Top of Malham Cove - great place for a brew and a chill

Cathy's always wanted to walk the limestone pavement
Cooling feet but what she *really* wants to do is wild swim!
On the way back we stopped at Janet's Foss, a waterfall surrounded by trees and with a great swimming pool at its base.  Cathy had a paddle but really wanted to swim.  In the ash trees were about a dozen bee houses made out of books about bees - all a bit beezarre ;-)

Back at the van we sat outside with a brew until the sun disappeared behind the gorge, before preparing dinner outside (pork & Apple cheeseburgers, salad, sauté potatoes) and eating it inside to avoid the midges.  Washed up and locked away, we sat in the van as night quickly descended.  With no artificial light here at all it is proper dark by 2030.  We finished off with some hot chocolate before crashing after another enjoyably physical day.

Boots recovering as the sun sets

Not a bad dining room view is it?

To those free-climbing up Gordale Scar, this is much, much harder! ;-)

Great lunch spot on top of Gordale Scar - can you see Nido on the campsite below?

Thursday 3 September 2015

Hooray - I rode the Cray!

Thursday 3 September 2015

We both slept well after our huge meal last night.  It was a bit chilly in the van (the wind had increased overnight and it was fresher outside), so I put the heating on and snoozed for a bit longer.  I made a brew and also my breakfast - toast and peanut butter, yum! - while Cathy stayed in bed with her tea.  It had been dry overnight but started to spit with rain, but I really wanted to get out on my bike today.  So I changed into my kit, unlocked the bike from the rack and filled my jacket pocket with all the usual cycling stuff - pump, phone, cash, inhaler, banana! 

I turned left out of the campsite and then left again after crossing the river.  This took me on a quiet backroad out of the village and towards Kilsney.  It was fairly quiet with only the odd car, postvan driven by Stirling Moss (they all drive like that!) and one horse, but no other cyclists.  I had intended to cycle over to Kilsney then back along the main road, but realised this minor one would take me all the way to Grassington, so carried on for a few more miles.  I recognised the middle of Grassington from last year and rode out to the main road, back towards Kilsney.  This took me past the Wharfedale Caravan Club site and I was soon approaching Kilsney, with the marquees from this week's show still up in the Velofest fields where Ray and I camped last year.  Opposite is the Kilsney Park Estate, which includes trout fishing where you can catch own.  I stopped to watch some fly fishermen and witnessed one land a lovely trout of about 3 pounds.  Carrying on, I passed the spot Ray and I stood for four hours waiting for the Tour riders and was soon back in Kettlewell.  I carried on, riding up the road through Starbotton and Buckden, where we had a fine sausage buttie and cup of tea in the church hall on our bike ride last year.  From here the road starts to wind up the hillside, getting gradually steeper and windier closer to the summit.  I was starting to feel the effects of the climb, breathing hard and trying to stay in a nice cycling rhythm.  I reached the last big twist and climb, a real kick needed to get over onto the top of Col de Cray again!  I took a photo, sent Ray a quick text then spent a while catching my breath, eating the banana and drinking water.  By now it was getting a bit chilly in the wind, so I turned around for the steep descent.  Unlike Ray, I'm a descent chicken so took my time, particularly those sections of the road that were both wet and covered in cow shit!  But past this I enjoyed the fast, winding descent and was soon back at the campsite, having really enjoyed my 25 miles riding.

Bike and kit put away, I used the campsite shower then sat in the van (out of the rain) with a pot of coffee.  Cathy had done her usual clean and tidy up so all was in good order.  I set up the iBoost to piggy-back on the BT Fon wifi signal and we had an hour catching up, particularly with our friends who are on a long trip in Spain and were watching some of the Vuelta stages - looked lovely and warm there! I also had an email from Steve at Britstops.  He'd checked with the landlady of the pub we tried and failed to stay at.  It appears they're still involved but perhaps the man I spoke to knew nothing about it.  Lesson learned - always ask for the named contact at any Britstop when enquiring about staying over.

Although it was spitting with rain on and off, we went for a stroll around the village, mainly to stretch Cathy's aching legs!  We wondered around, down narrow streets and lanes, looking at the lovely stone -clad cottages to find a small one with parking for Nido!  We stopped off at the village shop for some milk, marmalade and some Yorkshire curd tart for Cathy; they also had some funny birthday cards that will suit some unsuspecting friends! Back at the van, with it still raining, we had a brew (and Cathy her tart), then I started on this post while Cathy spread out on the cab seats to read.  A little later a small Murvi campervan turned up, doubling the van numbers against the tuggers on the site.  

Dinner tonight is cassoulet, including some Phil's sausages, smoked sausage, chickpeas, puy lentils, passata, onions and garlic.  As we're on EHU it'll be cooked in 'Oska'. We also have the red wine I bought yesterday.  With all those beans, we could be in for a windy night!  We move on tomorrow.  The plan is to try and stay at the campsite at Gordale Scar, but I was unable to book; I phoned and left a message but the owner never got back to me.  So if that doesn't work out I'll do some research later on to come up with a Plan B - maybe a Britstop close by - there is one near there which is a farm shop where they make 'Yorkshire Chorizo'.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Kippered in Kettlewell

Tuesday 2 September 2015

El Nido's at Causeway Croft Caravan Park, Kettlewell, in the depths of Wharfedale.  Ray and I cycled through here (at speed!) last year at the Tour de France.  We camped at Kilnsey Crag and cycled up the first real climb of the Tour - Col de Cray - which took us through this village.

We woke to warm sunshine and had our breakfast sat outside at the CL by Jervaulx Abbey.  All packed up, we drove out, stopping on the way at Berry's Farm Shop, where I bought some large field mushrooms, red onions, local goat's cheese, pork scratchings and brandy snaps - what a mixture - and I only went in for bread which they didn't have because it hadn't yet been delivered!  We started to climb a 25% hill with some 'Go Nido Go' encouragement, pulling over regularly for oncoming traffic. We eventually reached the top of Cray and descended through Buckden and Starbotton to Kettlewell, all very familiar from last year.  We pulled into the campsite and the very friendly owners pointed out the available pitches, electric and facilities and left us to it.  While Cathy sorted out I walked to the village shop for some bread and red wine.  

We'd already prepared our packed lunch and were soon heading out, very quickly climbing the steep hill towards Middlesmoor Pasture.  With a bit of a scramble through the rocks we reached the first ledge and stopped for lunch.  Fortified, we continued to climb, stopping now and again to admire the view (and get our breath back!).  We reached the top and started to descend into the next valley.  Reaching some trees, we faced some serious downhill scrambling over rocks, before stopping in bright sunshine for a brew and flapjack.  As we approached Arncliffe the rain started and stayed with us, on and off for the rest of the day.  Leaving Arncliffe, we followed the path along the River Skirfare and at the hamlet of Hawkswick, started to climb again.  We topped out at Knipe Scar, with a view over the fields in Kilsney where Ray and I camped last year, following the shoulder of the hill around before starting a slippery descent into Kettlewell.  By now the sun was out again and we were drying off.  As we approached the village the heavens opened again though, and we arrived back at the van in heavy rain.  We got the heating on, hung up our wet clothes wherever we could and had a quick beer while the water heated up.  

 Both showered, clean and changed, with the inside of Nido looking like Widow Twanky's Laundry, we left the heating on and walked the short distance to the Bluebell Inn.  This is a typical, local and friendly pub, with an old dog who clearly owns the place! The woodburner was lit and it was very cosy.  We had a beer then ordered our food - shared potted shrimps, then Cathy had the speciality - homecooked meat and potato pie, which was enormous and delicious.  I had a pork chop from 'Colin' - I have no idea if Colin was the pig or the breeder!  It came on a bed of mash with mustard sauce and was both huge and very tasty, very much like the 1/4 of free-range pig we bought a few years ago.  We shared a bowl of veg and at the end were stuffed.  We wobbled back both tired from our long walk and full from great food, back to a bit of a steamy van - it'll be dry in the morning!  I'm hoping for a dry spell tomorrow so I can finally get out on my bike and repeat some of the riding I did with my wingman last year.  Until then, I need to rest this food-filled belly.  I think we'll both sleep well tonight in this dark and silent corner of Yorkshire.

We've got to climb up there!?

Great lunch stop view

I think we're gonna get wet!

Brew stop - overlooking Arncliffe

Grouse Moors


Now that's what you call a meat and potato pie

Colin's pork....or is it Colin the pig?

Still signs of last year's Tour de France celebrations

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Jervaulx Abbey

Monday 1 September 2015

El Nido's parked on a CL at Park House, by Jervaulx Abbey near Ripon.  We hadn't planned to stay here, but more of that later.  However, all turned out well in the end, as we're the only ones on the well-kept site, with views over the parkland of a large estate, with hills in the distance. The RAF keeping flying over at speed in Typhoons - I'm surprised as firstly I thought they'd all still be on long-weekend and, secondly, it's past their tea time!

It rained hard last night and we found more water leaks.  We already have one in the bathroom, which I think is where the water hoses connect to the basin tap, but I can't get to it.  It's constantly leaking about half a mug of water a day onto the bathroom floor.  The heavy rain last night started to leak through the felt covering of the inside of the sliding door.  We've seen this once before, but thought it was because we hadn't closed the door properly, but last night it was was well and truly closed.  I think it's caused by the felt lining overlapping the rubber door seal, so the the felt acts like a wick and the water takes the easiest route - inside the van.  It will certainly need sorting, along with the other leak, so Nido will need to go back into A&E  soonest.  It did put a bit of a dampener on the evening though (pun intended!) and, with the combined effect of listening to the fast-flowing river outside, it's no surprise we both had watery (ie swimming) dreams!

We woke to relatively clear skies, a bit of a breeze and a few clouds scudding across, so it gave us the opportunity to throw open all the skylights, doors and windows to vent the van.  We both made use of the free, hot showers with no push button - a luxury on most campsites and a change from our 'submariner' dhobies in the van.  Feeling (and looking) clean, we enjoyed our breakfast sat outside overlooking the river.   Then it was chores time.  Cathy gave the van a good scrub out and did the washing up across the road.  I had my usual outside jobs - fill up the fresh water, empty the 'loo juice', pack away the seats.  All sorted, with fridge on battery and fully secured, I plugged in the coordinates for our next overnight, a Britstop near Aysgarth.  The 'satnag' sent us the wrong way initially, so we ended up in Keld, where we walked the other day.  We reversed our route from there and stopped off in Muker for bread and eggs, with a side of very tasty homemade flapjack. Shortly after we turned off onto a 25% uphill road, heading over the pass into the next valley.  With a few encouraging shouts of 'Go Nido Go!' he made his way up the hairpin hill, luckily meeting nothing coming down.  It was a bleak hill top, nothing but moor and sheep and we eventually turned into the main road.

We arrived at the Britstop just before opening time and when the doors opened I popped in with my Britstops book to ask if it was OK to stay.  The old chap behind the bar told me they were no longer part of Britstops, which surprised me a little as they only joined the scheme in July (I've since found out that they are indeed still in the scheme but this chap wasn't aware). So we drove off to a close-by CL next to another pub, but they were full.  So, two attempts to stay overnight, two strikes. I found another Britstop that said it could take 3 vans, but the very narrow car park was rammed with cars, so we carried on. Driving along the road, we saw the sign for Jervaulx Abbey and as we passed the car park and tea shop, saw a sign for a CL.  I turned around just up the road and returned to the car park.  I popped into the tea shop to ask about the CL, but it was very busy, so we decided to take our pre-prepared lunch over to the Abbey.  Jervaulx Abbey was home to Cistercian Monks who grew rich from sheep shearing and horse breeding (or was it sheep breeding and horse shearing!?).  They also made a cheese which, over time, became the now famous Wensleydale cheese.  Now in ruins, there's enough remaining to see this was a very large and prestigious Abbey in its day.  I'll google it when home to learn more.  We enjoyed our lunch in hot sunshine before slowly walking around the Abbey - very atmospheric and probably quite scary at night!

Back at the car park, Cathy popped in to see if we could book into the CL - success!  So we're pitched here on electric hook-up, charging all things electronic.  We enjoyed the sunshine sat outside with a brew, until the clouds built and the rain started.  No longer raining, it's threatening more, so the planned BBQ lamb with Greek salad may now be some form of pasta cooked inside - I even 'purloined' some wild majoram from the Abbey for the lamb - it'll keep in the fridge!   We're currently sat inside the van with a G&T, listening to the crows in the trees and hoping tomorrow will bring good weather.  At least we're booked into a campsite at Kettlewell (home of the yellow sheep I saw at last year's Tour) for the next two nights.  So hopefully a good walk, a decent pub dinner and a repeat bike ride of the Tour route for me.  Such are the risks of a holiday in England, where wild-camping is illegal and the idea of an Aire is quickly shot down by the local council (campsite owners perhaps?). 

Eventually the showers stopped and we managed a short walk through the enormous hazel trees to watch the sun set.  It also meant I could cook the lamb chops on the griddle outside and they went down well with the salad and a bottle of Lidl's finest Chilean white wine!  Washed up and all secured, we're now sat inside, heating on, listening to a large murder of crows roost for the night in the surrounding trees.  All turned out well in the end.

Monday 31 August 2015

Chillin' by the Swale

Monday 31 August 2015

El Nido's parked up right next to the River Swale, with the sliding door open and a great view of the flowing river and the hills beyond.  We're still on the Usha Gap campsite, but have moved from the big field to this much smaller grass area on the other side of the road and right next to the river.  I think this was probably the origins of the campsite, just a few pitches as a way to earn some extra income.  But no doubt the popularity of the spot, plus a lack of other campsites nearby, led to the growth.  It was certainly busy for the first two nights, but this morning nearly everyone had left, so we had the big field to ourselves, hence the move for our last night here to experience the 'cool camping' this site is known for.  We're also now very close to the facilities and with so few people camping, will make the most of the hot showers and washing up sinks.

The rain woke us at about 0630 this morning; Cathy had a read while I snoozed on for a while.  I made us a brew and we sat looking out at the campers packing up in the drizzle.  After breakfast we went for a bit of stomp, first checking there was space for us to move to the river pitches.  We walked along the road toward Muker, then turned off to cross the river on a small bridge and climb steeply up the hillside.  The path was hard to spot and we had to cross streams a couple of times, as well as stop for the odd breather, but the views north over Kisdon Hill and the campsite were outstanding.  We eventually made it to the top and followed a track downhill to Muker.  I couple of times I was chatting to Cathy (or so I thought!), only to realise I was talking to myself; she'd found some wild raspberries and was busily and happily stuffing her face!  At least it's a superfood and gave her the energy to walk back to the campsite.

Having moved the van we sat with a brew listening to the river (sliding door shut but galley door open due to the rain).  Cathy went off for a walk along the river and I stayed in to flick through my Camper Van Cookbook and just stare out at the great view as the clouds slowly moved across the hills.  The only downside is that I'd planned to go for a bike ride today.  I was aiming to take the road up to Keld, with some long, steady climbs and downhills, but this wouldn't have been much fun even with spitting rain; although that wouldn't bother me too much, there's nowhere in the van to dry or store wet cycling gear.  So I'll have to save the cycling for another day (I can hear my cycling Wingman - Ray - calling me a "Tart"!).  It rained on and off all day; at the moment the rain on the roof is louder than the y river. Cathy had a snooze while I practised some Uke chords, before cooking dinner - a sort of sweet and sour chicken with rice.  Cathy washed up over the road while I tidied away and swatted away the tiny midges who were now making a bee-line for any unprotected skin.  A large Mercedes selfie turned up, looks like a great van, plus a young chap in a small Romahome with a pop-up roof was parked behind us, with his collie for company.  Now, as the light fades and the rain gently falls, we're cozy inside, reading and thinking about whether to have some pudding with a cup of tea!  Tomorrow we move on, hopefully to a Britstop close by.  We need to ring in advance to check, but first we'll need a phone signal!

Some culinary research

Another great galley-view shot!

Sunday 30 August 2015

Muker to Keld

Sunday 30 August 2015

We were in bed by 2100 last night and didn't wake up until 0920 this morning!  We breakfasted outside, then made a packed lunch and flask, packed our rucksacks and walked back towards Muker.

We again passed thorough the meadows for the start of a 6 mile circular walk to Keld, crossing the river Swale via Rampsholme bridge, this time turning left and following the river along a wild stone track.  We stopped at the waterfalls at Swinner Gill, with the old lead mining ruins, for Cathy to have a quick paddle and cool off; it would be a great spot for a wild swim. We carried on up the track, climbing all the time.  I saw that Crackpot Hall was just off the route, so we detoured off to take a look.  The remains of the Halł had a fantastic view down the valley towards Muker.  There were still remains of the iron range in the kitchen and even the skeleton of the old tin bath!  Apparently the daughter was known as a real wild child, not surprising looking at the surroundings. It must have been a lovely home in its time, but now sadly falling into ruin.  We stopped on the hill above the Hall for a lunch with a view, before carrying on until we reached the junction of the Pennine Way, dropping down to the river and another large and beautiful waterfall.  Crossing the river again, we climbed up to the small hamlet of Keld, where Cathy treated me to an ice cream.  Walking out we found Ruskin's campsite, a lovely small and quiet basic site - one to remember for the future.  Heading out we turned left near the hotel/pub and shortly turned off to walk up the corpse road.  In the past the dead in wicker coffins were carried along this route, over the hills, to the church at Grinton, near Reeth - it took them two days!  Imagine being sat in the pub and someone comes in to tell you 'old Fred' has died - time to sup up and get your walking boots on!   The corpse road took us on a long steady climb up Kisdon Hill, where we stopped at the top overlooking Muker for a brew and flapjack.  After a jelly-leg descent, we were back in the village and a short walk to the campsite.  Rucksacks unpacked, hot water heater on, boots off and a cold beer in hand, it was time to chill out before showers and walking back the Farmer's Arms for tonight's dinner.

The pub was very busy and it looked unlikely we'd find a table, but as we walked in and I ordered our drinks, a group left so Cathy piled in!  Food ordered, we had a flick through the local magazine - lots going on in this close-knit community.  We were asked if we'd mind sharing our table with a group of four - fine by us - two couples staying on the same campsite.  Our food took a while but it was cooked to order, piping hot and very tasty.  Cathy had steak pie, chips and veg, me pork casserole, rice and veg.  The Farmer's bitter went very well with the food! Meals eaten we walked back to the campsite and retired to the van, Cathy reading and me plucking at the Uke.  Another early night, but we're happy to crash out with a full belly and a good book.

Swinner Gill and old lead mine workings

Tin bath on the kitchen floor of Crackpot Hall

El Nido nestled against the dry stone wall

Not sure Cathy knows yet we have to clamber up those rocks!

Glorious lunch stop view, looking towards Col de Cray

At least she freed me later!