I’m still on holiday from work this week, and yesterday I had a day out in the Yorkshire Dales. Pretty much on impulse I drove up to Richmond, through Swaledale and then I dropped down to Hawes and drove back through Wensleydale. I had a glorious day – the weather was lovely (the sun did go behind clouds from time to time, but that just made the landscape look dramatic), and it wasn’t busy.
I was surprised (in a nice way!) to find this stall on Richmond indoor market. It’s a craft market, held on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and the lady had some lovely handknitted shawls hung up, and a nice selection of reasonably priced quality yarns, as well as cheaper/novelty ones ‘for the ladies who come in on the buses’, as she put it! Well worth a visit if you’re in the area. She has a Folksy shop called Woolmouse.
From Richmond I took the A6108 and then the B6270 along Swaledale, and oh, what a perfect road it is. I’ve not been that way before, and it just seemed like the distillation of all that the Yorkshire Dales has to offer. The road winds through the valley bottom, crossing and recrossing the River Swale as roads do in that part of the world, and occasionally passing through small villages, so close to the houses that you could lean out of the car and tap on the windows as you drive past.
I stopped in Reeth, a slightly larger village, which clings to the hillside round a large green.
There’s a lovely shop there called Fatsheep, which sells handmade things, all made in the Dales.
It’s all quite, quite different from Norfolk.
The drystone walls form a random patchwork on the hills.
And in the valley bottoms.
It seems like every field has its own field barn, I must have seen hundreds.
I stopped briefly in Muker, to visit the Swaledale Woollens, thinking they might have interesting local yarn, but it was mostly handknitted garments (lovely and reasonably priced, but not what I was after), there was a bit of yarn, and a price list for more, but I didn’t buy any.
Just before Thwaite I turned left over the Buttertubs Pass, which doesn’t seem to have a road number, but it’s signposted to Hawes just before the village. I was on a mission to revisit the Buttertubs, which are limestone rock formations that resulted in circular holes in the ground, but somehow I managed to miss the completely – either there wasn’t a sign, or I was too busy watching the road, which is a bit hairy in places, not to mention having a fair few sheep wandering around it.
I think they are actual Swaledale sheep – if they’re not they’re very similar.
At the other end of the pass I dropped down into Hawes and had a wander round there, it’s a bigger town (by comparison with the villages!) and does seem a bit like the place that time forgot, with some great old-fashioned shops.
I drove back through Wensleydale, on the A684 and A6108, but didn’t stop for photos as I was in a rush to get back to go to spinning group, but if I’d had more time I’d have stopped at Aysgarth (for the falls), Leyburn, Masham and Jervaulx Abbey, which is an idyllic place – it’s privately owned, with an honesty box at the gate, and it’s not unusual to find you’ve got the place to yourself. Here’s a couple of photos I took a few years ago.
All in all, it was a lovely day, and all the better for being pretty much spontaneous. It’s a drive I’d definitely recommend to anyone in the area, and there are even more places to go I’ve not mentioned.
And the day wasn’t over then! Spinning group is at Grace and Jacob, where I treated myself to these goodies –
A locally made felted corsage for my denim jacket, a felted card by the same lady which seemed very appropriate, and a skein of hand-dyed laceweight BFL and silk which I just couldn’t resist.
Today has Minnie’s annual trip to the vets to have the matts in her fur shaved off. She hates being brushed, and will bite me with very little provocation when I try, so once a year they sedate her, shave her, and charge me £75 for the privilege. I suppose it beats being bitten.
She’s more bothered by the fact that I won’t let her out (it’s raining, she can stay in for today) than by the fact that half her fur has gone. She does look funny though ;)