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HOWE STEAN GORGE

Had a fabulous day out at Howe Stean Gorge near Pately Bridge in Nidderdale, N. Yorkshire, easier this month.  The cafe hangs out over the gorge and has glass in the floor so you can gaze down at the gorge below, whilst drinking your coffee.

Theres activities that you can book but we just did the gorge walk which was great fun.  Its narrow and can be slippery – theres ropes to help you – theres caves and tunnels – you have to be reasonably fit.  The photos below help tell the story.  The scratch marks you can see on the rocks on one of the photos are made by otters-unfortunately we didn’t see any.

 

 

https://www.howstean.co.uk/families/visitor-attractions/

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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.


THACKRAY MEDICAL MUSEUM LEEDS

Mike and I visited this medical museum, housed in the old workhouse building next to St. James’s hospital in Leeds.  It’s over 20 years since we last visited and its had a bit of a revamp.  Lovely cup of tea and scone in the cafe before we even started.  The ticket will enable us to visit as many times as we want in the next year.  There’s a lot to see and take in.  The workhouse became a military hospital during the first world war.  What I found particularly interesting was the history of the health of the inhabitants of Leeds and how it has advanced.  Anybody who wants to go back to the “good old Victorian Britain” needs their head examining!

Below are a selection of images of some of the information boards. 

 

http://www.thackraymedicalmuseum.co.uk


CAERPHILLY CASTLE

http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/caerphilly-castle/?skip=1&lang=en

Wales has the best castles!  We spent a few hours exploring this one – the largest in Wales.

This medieval fortress was built mainly between 1268 and 1271 by Gilbert de Clare. Known as Gilbert ‘The Red’ because of his red hair, denoting his Norman heritage, he built the castle to take control of Glamorgan and to prevent the Welsh Prince Llewellyn ap Gruffudd from achieving his southward ambitions.

The design of the castle is based on a concentric ring of walls, something not seen in Britain before. It also has an extensive ring of water defences and huge gatehouses. This mammoth stronghold remains a striking testament to the Anglo-Norman domination of the area.

Though the focus of many Welsh attacks, Caerphilly Castle has remained a formidable fortress and perhaps one of the greatest strongholds of all-time. Even the efforts of Oliver Cromwell’s roundheads failed to break the Castle’s boundaries, though they did leave a rather remarkable scar – the famous leaning tower, which has leaned 3m out of the perpendicular since 1648.


CARDIFF CASTLE

http://www.cardiffcastle.com/about-the-castle/

Above is the link which will take you to the official website of Cardiff Castle if you are interested in it’s history.  Below are photos that I took on my visit with my iPhone 6+.

It has to be one of the best castles I have visited.  It developed from an old roman fort, to the Motte and Bailey castle in the middle, with the more recent walls encompassing it and the medieval style 1866 update of the castle lodgings.  The double outer walls allow passageways within which were used as air raid shelters during the second world war.

Fabulous views from the top of the old castle and luxurious rich furnishings and decoration inside the castle apartments.  Well worth the entrance fee.


CARDIFF JAUNT

A friend and I got a deal to Cardiff for a few days this February.  Its one city in the UK that I’ve never visited, even though I’ve been to South Wales for holidays a number of times.  I was really impressed.  I’ve always thought that nowhere beats Leeds for shopping, apart from London – Manchester comes in close – but Cardiff was brilliant.  There a fantastic array of places to eat and drink.  I reckon it has more lovely arcades than Leeds too.  The photos below show the city centre and the dock area, which has been regenerated and where where the Welsh Assembly resides.

The first seven are in the city centre.  The eighth photo is of a building in the dock area that reminded me of some of the buildings I saw in New York.  Eleven and twelve are of the Welsh Assembly buildings.


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


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/


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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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.