Wednesday 22 May 2024

Ripon and The Moors

 May 21st.   Fine clear day but definitely cooler.

This morning was an earlyish departure for a lengthy drive.   Final destination is Keswick but we plan to take a scenic route and go via Ripon.  Lady Satnav was duly programmed and guided us through yet more roundabouts and a mixture of roads until we were told to turn left onto the M1, The North.   

As the opposite direction was clearly labelled The South, I am taking it that another M road somewhere has starting and finishing points of The East and The West?

I was amazed at the huge roof spans of some of the warehouses visible off road.   One was labelled Amazon.   We have nothing that size or scale back in New Zealand - another sign of the huge population difference.  The well designed roading system too, with roundabouts and traffic signals funnelling traffic every which way through complex and sometimes gigantic intersections.   At one point we followed a dual carriage way running north, parallel to the main highway.  The southbound was on the far other side.   I’m no civil engineer but this seemed an excellent method of avoiding exits to smaller towns cluttering the main routes and of carrying traffic more quickly between major centres.

Ripon is apparently famous for its Cathedral which we didn’t visit but to which Lady Satnav assumed we wished to go.   So we turned her off and followed instinct yet again finding a pay and display right at the town centre.  Both in desperate need of a cup of tea we aimed for a large historical looking coffee shop.  It was first and foremost a bar, but did serve coffee and as we found, excellent tea.   This time we shared a toasted tea cake and were singularly unimpressed.   Little Sister described it as a fruit bun!  Nevertheless it  served the purpose and renewed our energy levels.   Then we wandered the town centre.

The impressive town hall is at the top of the market square which is surrounded by metal bollards.   Currently these are decorated as soldiers, sailors, and airmen as part of the town’s preparations for the 80th Amniversary of D Day on 6 June.   The Red Poppy Knitters of Ripon must be a formidable group as despite there being no yarn store in the town (yes, Little Sister was disappointed) almost all the shops had a window display of knitted ‘memorials’, there was a Hunt The Hero to find the knitted replicas of the townsmen who had gone to Dunkirk and bollards, railings and even post boxes were adorned.

Despite looking in several shops and asking in several more I couldn’t find any picture postcards.   This didn’t seem to be a sign of the times with digital photos and social media but rather a sign of the depressed and worn out air to the town.  I asked in several shops but all they could produce were generic ones of the Yorkshire Dales and a couple of Richmond which is 26 miles away.

We did find a quaint little independent bookstore and had a delightful browse around their well curated stock.  No purchase though - suitcase space limits are good for budgets!

Then we consulted Lady Satnav and set out across The Dales for Keswick.  At one point I saw a sign saying Ravensworth and I thought of The Yorkshire Shepherdess books and TV programmes I had so enjoyed.   I think her farm was Ravenseat and was much more remote than the area we were in.

A good road and spectacular views.  We climbed slowly and enjoyed the scenery.  Traffic was steady but not heavy.   On this road for the first time we saw Rest Area signs but there were no service areas.   Of course there were pubs in profusion along the way.

The names of some of the towns were familiar from my reading and I was pleased to see the statement gates of Barnard Castle.  The signs were in fact fun reading.  A Sutton Howgrave and a Howgrave.  Scotch Corner took our fancy but we turned there and never got to see what was so Scotch about that particular corner.  At the top of The Moors, Little Sister stopped briefly as the Mercedes with its infinite variety of sensors and warnings has given up on ‘Audio Device Not Connected’ and has now produced ‘X minutes since last rest stop’. At this point mileage was 1661 so we have travelled 1161 miles since Manchester Airport.

Soon a sign Welcome To Cumbria and we were on the slow downward slope to the Lakes.   I wanted to call at Appleby-in-Westmoreland but we weren’t sure how far off the A66 that was and being tired we carried on.

After the open roads of The Moors it was a shock to come into Keswick with its narrow streets, many cars and row upon row of Guest Houses.  

Our accommodation had advertised free parking but that really only applies if there is space on the street.   

Little Sister parked temporarily in a ‘disc required’ parking area and I went to check in.  Then we drove around the block, parked on pavement to unload suitcases, turned the corner to look for parking and Little Sister expertly parallel parked into a tight spot on the wrong side of the road.  She’s a whizz at parking but is picking up bad habits here in the UK.  We walked back to the Guest House to find, thankfully,  that the owner man had carried our cases up the two flights of narrow stairs to our charming attic bedroom with another “bathroom in a cupboard .”  All of this contained in a cupboard the size of a double wardrobe!

After dinner we walked the town centre to orientate ourselves for tomorrow but right now we both need a good rest.


Maggie said...

Yours sisters description of a teacake is spot on :-) We love them toasted with butter, although you can eat them un-toasted with butter too.
What amazing yarn bombing, shame your sister couldn't find a yarn shop.
You will be able to cross another supermarket off you list whilst in Keswick, Booths. It's a bit more upmarket that Sainsbury's or Tesco 😉

Clare-Aimetu said...

Another super day exploring our country. Teacake are a bit of a hit and miss, some places are delicious toasted with lots of butter, others are flat and not so nice. I hope you try the Kendal mint cake.

Leonore Winterer said...

All these knitted decorations are amazing! I wish there was such an active crafting community where I live.