We have been putting Hattie’s new air suspension and hydrolics to the test over the last couple of weeks and taking in some more of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside staying on some fantastically uneven grass sites just to make sure that everything works as it should !
I’d like to say that we have been lucky with the weather but we are starting to feel a little sorry for the farmers as they are unfortunately already starting on their winter feed for the dairy cows as the grass is so dry.
Saying that, our last day in Ripley was wet. We had already decided to do the walk over to Masham, a lovely village and home to both the Black Sheep and Theakstones breweries so we just got wet but were rewarded by The Black sheep brewery bar and restaurant – which has been done out really well, something for everyone …. wine, gin, beer and even coffee and the food looked pretty good too! Theakstones was a bit more rustic, but there was still opportunity to buy a beer or two and while we did so the sun came out again to help dry us out!
Waking to another corker of a morning we both set off on hilly runs in opposite directions, heading off after breakfast an hour back south to Otley where we had booked in at the Plantation CL (£9 a night no elec). The entrance was lined with low hanging and narrow fitting trees so poor ‘ol Hattie took a little bit of a scraping …. before the owners told us we could have come in the next entrance up which was much more Hattie friendly …. needless to say we went out the other way!
We parked up in our little field and sorted ourselves out before heading off into Otley for a little look around and to find a pub to watch the World Cup 3rd/4th playoff. Not having been to the area before we hadn’t quite appreciated that the 1.5miles that we were outside Otley were almost vertically downwards …. or should I say upwards when walking home… I think that we had sweated off all the alcohol consumed by the time we got back to motorhome so we can call it a ‘cleansing’ location!
Otley itself sits on a river and is beautiful. It is a market town but just has that lovely feel to it of normality but a little bit quirky. We had decided to visit it because it had a food festival on on the Sunday – to be fair it was probably a bit more like a large farmers market but we were not disappointed, the Yorkshire folk know how to do good food, whether Pork Pies, Scotch Eggs, Sausages or Sweet Potato fudge… it was all exceptional…. and that is without mentioning the Cider, Gin, Vodka and other bits!
We left Otley contentedly happy to return and explore the area more, moving all of 25 minutes down the road to Ilkley where we were staying at another little CL (Hall Croft, £15 per night) just a mile outside the town. The weather had temporarily turned and we were met with a good downpour of rain to help bring the evening in and freshen up the air.
Although we have benefitted from many a bar b q over the last few weeks it was actually quite nice to ‘pretend’ it was cooler and enjoy a lovely Cassoulet and a Fish Pie …. obviously not together!
The area surrounding Ilkley is stunning, as Ilkley itself sits in a valley so although we opted for a quick trip into Leeds on the train on Tuesday, we quickly returned to our natural habitat of walking, doing a wonderful circular walk on Wednesday out to Addingham then up onto the Ridge before walking back to the Cow and Calf rocks and down into Ilkley before coming home.. totting up 20km, then on Thursday we ventured along the river which was part of the Dales Way … another 21km… all lovely although the search for the Ilkley brewery left us a little disappointed as there wasn’t any shop or bar to check out or buy the produce.
To finish our little tour in Yorkshire we had booked ourselves a spot at the North Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival which is held at a farm about 2.5 miles outside Skipton…. Hatties’ first Festival … as far as we know anyway!!
We sat in the queue to get into the field, looking jealously over to our right as a double decker bus happily entered the main exhibitors field whilst we were tousled by the trees dangling down, slowly scraping along the roof. We made it through to our field without damage where we parked up, dropped anchor – better known as the hydraulics – and watched as the everyone else around us set up caravans/tents as the rain started to fall…. it was only light showers but still good entertainment!
Friday night was a quiet affair as most stalls were still setting up but we ventured out for a wander around, a couple of drinks and to listen to some music…. all very calm.
On Saturday whilst being watched over by surrounding neighbours we both did our morning exercise routine before heading into Skipton for a walk around. Skipton is a pretty little market town with lots of interesting shops and cafes, being a Saturday we had a walk through the market and stopped for a coffee before heading back to the festival for lunch.
The festival was in full swing by the time we got back and it was difficult to choose what to eat for lunch but after a couple of trips round all the food stalls we settled on BBQ Ribs … Keith had a rack of Pork ribs and I had Short Beef ribs, both with chips and coleslaw… proper finger lickin’ food.
We had sat by one of the demonstrations to eat our lunch and just as we had finished the chef came round with a nice bit of Venison and Ciabatta – perfectly pink which led us nicely into the rest of the afternoon which was spent enjoying the tasters from the different stalls – Gin, Cheese, Cake, biscuits…. and much more, not bad At all!
James, Gail, Amy and Jack came to visit us on the way back from their holiday up in Northumberland so we got to do a second taster on the Sunday enjoying quality scotch eggs, and a pulled jackfruit burger amongst other things!
Unsurprisingly a large number of the campers left by Sunday evening which meant that getting out on Monday morning wasn’t too bad. This time though we remembered that we could actually use our Air Suspension to lower the vehicle by a few inches and do a bit more of a limbo under the trees…. still not perfect but much less of a scrape than on the way in.
The journey back to Holyport was long and hot but problem free. We hadn’t quite appreciated how much cooler it had been up North in comparison to the South but by lunchtime we had hit 30 degrees and were glad to get out of the motorhome by the time we arrived.
It’s nice to be back in our field although it is very yellow, the cows seem happy and my run is much less hilly so my legs are too! Along with the normal chores and Hattie’s mechanical service, we took the mum’s out for lunch to Tom Kerridge’s Hand and Flowers this week and it surpassed expectations – proper posh pub grub in a lovely environment!