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Fountains Abbey

 

Had a lovely afternoon at Fountains Abbey, near Ripon.  Really nice cafe/restaurant.  Typical National Trust shop and entry price!  I thought £13.50 was rather steep for entry to say the least.  Very keen to get you to join the Trust but I will not ever do so whilst they allow FOX HUNTING on their land.  It disgusts me!

 

In 1132, 13 monks came here to start a simpler life. Over 400 years later, when Henry VIII demanded the closure of the Abbey, the monks left behind the most complete Cistercian abbey remains in the country.

The abbey’s beginnings

The abbey was founded in 1132 by 13 Benedictine monks from St Mary’s in York. They’d grown fed up of the extravagant and rowdy way that the monks lived in York and so they escaped seeking to live a devout and simple lifestyle elsewhere. This was how they came to Fountains. 

By the time three years had passed the monks had become settled into their new way of life and had been admitted to the austere Cistercian Order and with that came an important development – the introduction of the Cistercian system of lay brothers.

Introduction of the lay brothers

The lay brothers (what we would now call labourer) relieved the monks from routine jobs, giving them more time to dedicate to God rather than farming the land to get by. It was because of the help of the lay brothers that Fountains became so wealthy through wool production, lead mining, cattle rearing, horse breeding and stone quarrying.

Idleness is the enemy of the soul. For this reason the brethren should be occupied at certain times in manual labour and at other times in sacred reading.

– From St Benedicts Rule

It wasn’t all plain sailing

Bad harvests hit the monks hard and they also had to deal with raids from the Scots throughout the 14th-century, which led to economic collapse. This was only made worse by the Black Death which struck the country in 1348.  

Despite its financial problems, the Abbey remained important. The abbacy of Marmaduke Huby (1495 – 1526) marked a period of revival and the great tower built by Huby symbolises his hope for the Abbey’s future.  

The Dissolution

The Abbey was abruptly closed down in 1539 in the Dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by Henry VIII, and the abbot, prior and monks were sent away with pensions.

 

 

Fountains Abbey today

The estate was sold by the Crown to a merchant, Sir Richard Gresham. It remained in private hands until the 1960s, including William and John Aislabie who designed Studley Royal water garden of which the abbey became an integral part of. The National Trust bought the estate from the West Riding County Council in 1983.

The information here was taken from the National Trust website

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Studley Royal Deer Park

Had an absolutely fabulous day at Studley Royal Deer Park.  The weather was perfect.  Cool and autumnal but brilliant sunshine.  Did a four mile circular walk taking in beautiful views, plenty of deer, birds, water and awesome trees.

I originally went hoping to see some rutting deer, but all was quiet.  It looked like all the herds were already established.  I think rutting is at its height in October, so maybe I was too late.  I did get some nice photos though, including a white hart.

Saint Mary’s church.

 

The deer .

 The Trees.

 

Ripon Cathedral in the distance.

Some shots around the park.

 

And my walk.

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My soul has been filled again until next time.

Leaping Salmon

These are the three best images I got from watching the amazing spectacle of Atlantic salmon leaping up Stainton Force in Yorkshire.  They were taken with my iPhone.  Not the best photos but just glad to capture something of what I witnessed.

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Apparently starting their journey around October, these mighty fish swim from the Atlantic Ocean, some from as far afield as North America, up rivers to their spawning grounds in order to lay eggs and have them fertilised by the males.  They traverse many objects and falls of great heights.  As they jump you see their tails flipping away, I suppose to gain hight.  Some falls have man made ladders in order to help the salmon on their way, such as at Pitlochry.  

http://www.atlanticsalmontrust.org

http://ribbletrust.org.uk/galleries/gallery-map/

COLDSTONES CUT

On Wednesday I visited Coldstones Cut near Pately Bridge Yorkshire.  What a very interesting place.  Its Yorkshires biggest and highest public artwork.

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It was so windy and wild and quite exhilarating.  Below are the explanation boards and a link to the website.

http://www.thecoldstonescut.org

Below the sculpture and quarry is the original site of the Toft Gate Lime Kiln

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Nidderdale is one of my favourite dales.  If you love walking, history, rivers, wildlife, nature, picturesque towns and villages its the place to be.

Wimbledon 2017

I have been watching Wimbledon since I was a kid. My mum played tennis when she was younger and my dad often took my brother and me to play at the local tennis courts. But my memory only goes back to 1977 when at college we watched Virginia Wade win the ladies championship.  Since which time I have watched every year.  I love rugby league and enjoy football but To me tennis is the ultimate sport.

The players have to be amazingly fit both mentally and physically and have incredible skills with racquet and ball.

It is gladiatorial . Two opponents in an arena that holds thousands of spectators so close you could touch them. Two opponents in pitch battle for hours on end.  It is such a mentally intelligent game played in such a sporting way.  Spectators that may be routing for one player but recognise and appreciate skills of the opponent.  

You may hear the occasional frustrated expletive but none of the foul mouthed yobs who scream at players and referees in other popular sports.

Have enjoyed other ATP tours but love grass. Its fast and unpredictable.

ARNSIDE AND SILVERDALE AONB

Its an area of Britain I’ve only just discovered and I love it.  Totally unspoilt so far.

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From Carnforth in the south to Milnthorpe in the north, Morecambe bay to the west and the A6 being the border east.

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If you love wildlife, birds, walking, spectacular scenery, peace and quiet, this is the place to go.

Morecambe bay is stunning and these pictures don’t do justice to its vastness.

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I’ve visited twice now and will return many times, having found a brilliant caravan club CL site.  When we arrived the first time there were deer running in far fields.  We’ve seen an osprey and curlews from our caravan pitch.

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Arnside is one of the places time forgot.  It has two pubs with great beer and food.  Great views, a railway station and plenty of nice walks. What more could you want Its lovely.  Oh and location is recently for where Nick from Coronation Street got stuck in quicksand.  You can cross Morecambe Bay from Arnside to Grange Over Sands at the North side, but at your peril if you do so without a guide to show you the way to avoid the quicksand.

IMG_5989This walk up Wharton Crag gave some fabulous views of the whole of Morecambe bay .  It was also here at the start of our walk that we saw peregrine falcons nesting in the disused quarry.

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Leighton Moss RSPB reserve is nearby and is well worth a visit.  Highlights for us when we went were Mash Harriers and a heron eating an eel, which was quite a task.

We visited Heysham on the coast just below Morecambe and found this really interesting chapel.

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As for Morecambe, lets just say I’d give it a miss.  I know they are trying to regenerate the place but it is pretty much dead.  Had to have a photo with Eric though.

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Motorcycle ramblings

So, I went to Harrogate today to pick up some Levis I had ordered from Debenhams – lovely 28mile round trip in mostly sunshine – and got to thinking about the best gear to have on myself and my bike.  I like the look of my bike as it is:

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It’s got nice clean lines and is uncluttered.  I don’t want to put a windscreen on – I’m not a speed freak – I like my fairly leisurely rides.  65-70mph is my max.  I think I will put some engine bars on for protection more than anything and a little more chrome won’t hurt!  But luggage is a bit of a problem.  Today I used a rucksack but I could do with a box or something that fits on the luggage rack that is lockable but can be detached by me if I want.  I think the box would detract from the bikes good looks but would be useful.  I will have to have a look around.

I’m very happy with the Knox body armour vest which frees me to wear any jacket over the top.

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And love the versatility of a flip helmet.

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Next we come to the problem of security.  I have a heavy duty chain and lock and an Oxford Screamer brake lock.  If I can, I try to chain the bike to something and if i don’t want to carry my helmet around, I link it to the bike with the chain, which is not really ideal if it rains, but then I’m a fair weather biker on my Virago. 

Oh and by the way, a motorcycle can park anywhere a car can without paying!  Just don’t park in a bicycle area, you will get a ticket!!!

Recharging my soul

I’m a humanist so I regard my soul as my inner being – the place where all the components that make me me live.  My soul has felt a little degraded recently along with my confidence.  Not sure why …………….could be an age thing!  But today, today its been rejuvenated.  How????  Very simple……….my trusty Virago 535 and the Yorkshire countryside.  What more could you want?

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A 67 mile round trip to Malham in North Yorkshire.  Originally, I decided to go and see the peregrines at the Cove.  Peregrines at Balham Cove,  So loaded my bike with my heavy camera rucksack with my Canon 7D with large zoom attached and set off.  However, when I got there, after a lovely cup of coffee and carrot cake, I took the path I thought led to the Cove, but yet again my memory mis-served me and it was the path to Janets Foss.  So didn’t need the rucksack! Doh!

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It was a lovely walk though.  So peaceful, gorgeous sunny weather and lots of birdsong.

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The wild garlic covered the floor, a missile thrush sang its heart out, a dipper in the stream was gathering food for its young residing in a hollowed out tree trunk and a woodpecker drummed in the distance.

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Janets Foss wasn’t as full as normal but this border collie was enjoying the cool water.

Don’t know what a zebra was doing in the Yorkshire Dales!  This pub supplied a welcome cold drink and although I didn’t partake the food looked gorgeous.  I will be back.

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A very short walk just over 2 miles, but can be easily extended by carrying on across the road after Janets Foss and following the footpath to the cove.

I love my adopted county and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

RODLEY WEST YORKS – My Second Home

I taught at schools in the two villages, (Farsley and Calverley), that Rodley is sandwiched between, for 30 years and have friends in the area.  My very best friend Anne lives in Rodley and at the moment I am staying with her whilst building work is completed in my home in north Leeds.

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                         the barge

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                             the owl

There is no decent pub within walking distance where I live and as Rodley has, I have spent many a convivial evening here with my friend and new friends made.  The Owl pub, when run by Gina Howard and her family, has featured large in my social life.  What a fantastic community pub that was – great grub, fantastic well kept beer, live music, quiz nights, used by local clubs and most of all such a warm welcome.  Enterprise Inns should be ashamed the way they treated the Howards and for the eventual complete and utter ruin of one of Rodleys centre pieces, that has never been the same since.

The Barge pub across the road, privately owned thank god, has not had to suffer the same fate and still provides a welcome, good beer and live music and still carry on the successful beer festival at August bank holiday.  Then theres the Crown and Anchor further up the road and the Rodley Social Club with subsidised beer.  There’s also the Railway a short step away along the Leeds Liverpool canal.

 

the railway

the railway

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small but perfect cafe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The    canal………..a great easy walk and cycle, with a couple of nice small but lovely cafes along the way.  Just wish some cyclists were more careful and polite.  

The river Aire runs next to the canal with another lovely walk alongside.

I took my dog, Tetley, for a walk along the river and couldn’t quite believe the vastness of the new Redrow housing estate that is being built – Horsforth Vale.  I believe 500 houses are being built.  I also believe Redrow has won building awards for this site.  That may be all very nice and dandy but what sort of impact is it going to have on the environment and infrastructure?   The traffic along the ring road and through Calverley and Rodley is already very heavy.  The new road layouts at Rodley and Horsforth roundabouts seem to have helped a bit, but with the massive increase in residents trying to get out of Calverley lane it can only get worse.  Then what about schools? Rodley primary was closed about 16? years ago. I know that Calverley C of E, Springbank and Westroyd will have increased capacity, but is that the way forward?  Bigger schools?  Will there be enough places?  How on earth Westroyed can be increased any more on that small footprint of land is beyond me.  

I managed to find this information about the proposals for the site, which is very interesting.      click here
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There’s Rodley Nature Reserve which is a fabulous bit of well managed re-wilding and helps keep nature alive in the Aire Valley corridor.

 

And then theres my friends lovely garden.

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Thanks so much for having me Anne

 

 

 

CALVERLEY WOODS

 

Today I found this  in the woods.  An explanation again from Secret Leeds 

Spackler wrote:
In 1861 the headmaster of Woodhouse Grove School agreed with Thornhill Trustees to lay a pipe from two springs in Calverley Wood so to supply pure water to the school. This agreement lasted 34 years. The small reservoir in the wood still remains.

This extract is from the wonderful ‘Guide to the Calverley Millennium Way’ which is available free in the area. I too had been trying to find out what this well/pond was after stumbling upon it. The little guide has loads on the history of the area and is a credit to those who produced it.

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CALVERLEY WOODS

I have fallen in love with Calverley Woods.  A magical place where my Tolkienesque imagination abounds.  A wonderful playground for dogs and humans, with a interesting history. POWs, fireworks, quarries, stone circles and prehistoric markings.

 

Mighty trees arms stretched wide

Trunks gnarled and smooth

Leaves broad and small

Colours every hue of green and brown

Glades and copses

Paths that wind

Round and round

Up and down

Over roots and boulders

Tunnels of trees and bushes

Glisten in the sunlight and rain

A playground for the imagination.

Below is a small area of the woods.  Check out Secret Leeds for more fastinating history about the woods, including descriptions of the explosion at the fireworks factory from people around at the time.

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