Every year, at the start of December, I get a Monday off work. Actually, this year, it was the last Monday in November. It’s intended as a Christmas shopping break, which is anathema to me, and I habitually moan about it, but despite my indifference to the idea, since the inception of this one day holiday, I’ve had a string of great days out.
This year was no exception. Happily, TBH, being part-time, gets a Monday off every fortnight and this fell on one of those Mondays. So she had transferred the booking she made for a night away, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, to the Sunday night after Storm Arwen.
We stayed at the Wheatsheaf at Carperby, in the Yorkshire Dales, which was very welcoming and comfortable, with nice beer and lovely food (if somewhat limited for vegans). On the Sunday evening we sat in the bar watching the Ladies’ Darts Team play a match and played cribbage ourselves, before retiring to our four-poster bed. (Don’t think I’ve slept in one before – can’t say I noticed any difference!)
On the Monday, the landlady was happy for us to leave our car in their carpark whilst we went for a walk, so we set-off from there, across the snowy fields and through the snowy woods…
…to Aysgarth Falls on the River Ure.
I don’t think I’ve ever been here before, which given that it’s about a forty-five minute drive from home is a bit of an oversight.
TBH left me at Middle Force, because she didn’t want to watch me scuttling around on the snow covered banks taking photos – she was worried I would fall in. When I eventually tried to catch her up, I couldn’t work out where she’d gone. It turned out she’d found a rocky little scramble which took us down to the bank of the river. A broad shelf of limestone, wet, icy, snowy, uneven – essentially an accident waiting to happen – gave a route back up toward the falls.
Could I resist temptation? Could I ‘eck!
The steep, rocky bank here was dripping wet and where the water was running down the rocks anything below was liable to have acquired a thick coating of ice. Twigs….
Even blades of grass…
From Lower Force, we climbed away from the Ure and across the fields towards the village of Castle Bolton, which is dominated by Bolton Castle.
I’m almost as much a sucker for castles as I am for waterfalls, and so was once again snapping away like a loon.
Bolton Castle is remarkably well preserved for an English Castle, most of which were ‘slighted’ during the Civil War. I shall definitely have to come back to have a proper look around at some point. And a peek in the church too.
There’s a very direct route from Castle Bolton via West Bolton back to Carperby. The wind had picked up and it was now bitterly cold. I really should have stopped and put more layers on.
The tea rooms at Yore Bridge had not yet opened when we got there, and Castle Bolton didn’t have anywhere serving refreshments (though I think the castle has a restaurant in the tourist season), so once we got back to Carperby, we drove to Hawes for a very late cafe lunch, then hurried home to meet the boys from the train.
Not only had I enjoyed the walk enormously for its own sake, I was also pleased that I’d had no obvious Covid fatigue hangover, and I’d had no problems with my Plantar Fasciitis. I’ve had issues with it for years, on and off, but recently it had been much worse. I’d seen a physio who had me working on a programme of stretches and I was pleased that they were seemingly having a positive impact. (And continue to do so.)