After a quick two nights’ stop in Beverley to help Keith’s brother and Carly, his wife move some bits to their new house we did a hop, skip and a jump further North, arriving in Leyburn, North Yorkshire…. our first time to this part of the country.
We had booked the Hilltop Farm CS (£10 per night, no elec) for just 2 nights – having extended our stay in Beverley – and despite being a fair way up and a beautiful place, it’s worth mentioning that as a runner who went further up….Hilltop Farm is actually only half way up the hill… false advertising!
Leyburn is a proper little market town and all the shops, cafes and restaurants are located around the market square and although Hilltop Farm is only 500m walk from the center, it was incredibly quiet and the views from the site were lovely.
We didn’t get a chance to explore too far afield but the walking that we did do was stunning with views out along the valley. Once again, we will be back to explore the area further and if nothing else to try out The Sandpiper Inn – which is supposed to be an excellent eatery.
So, after a couple of nights we moved on again and its fair to say that the next stop wasn’t too shabby either. A bit of a cross country wiggle through firing ranges – its all military country round here – and we arrived at Scar Close CL just outside Richmond, North Yorkshire (£18 per night inc).
The weather had started to warm up and although we thought we would have escaped the heatwave being this far North…. even Yorkshire got hit and temperatures rose to the high 30’s for a few days!
We were luckily enough that the campsite was located just next to a National Trust Woodland area that lead down to the River Swale providing beautiful walks in the shade and freshness from the water when there was a breeze. It is fair to say however that when we made it into Richmond everyone and their dog was bathing in the waterfalls….unfortunately, I am fairly confident that they won’t have taken all the bottles and cans they were drinking from with them when they left.
Despite the hot weather we managed to get some lovely walking in and it is a stunning area – just a huge amount of hills if you want to go anywhere! I did have the benefit for once however of my morning run being a slow incline for the first half and then all downhill on the way back… not something that happens often – but a blessing in the heat as there wasn’t any shade!!
On the hottest day we stuck to our side of the valley – which was in the shade all day – for a walk which took us further west of Richmond along the River Swale and then climbing back up the side of the river valley through the forest on the return. We often come accross skittish sheep or curious baby bullocks that think they want to play but this time we found a Ewe on a narrow stretch of pathway who decided to just charge at us with her lambs – thankfully we both managed to get out of the way in time as those horns looked painful and with the momentum she had, she’d have broken limbs…..ours!
An absolutely lovely area with fantastic walking, however it was once again time to move on again after 3 days. So we set off South again, this time into the Yorkshire Dales to a Club Site (Wharfedale Club Campsite, £38.40 p/n inc of elec.) just outside Grassington. It is peak season and the site was expensive but all the same, we are glad we came as it is a beautiful area and all other sites were full.
As you know, we aren’t great fans of big campsites but this one yet again was really well laid out and spacious. Possibly because of its location, it was also incredibly tranquil despite being the beginning of school holidays – evidently they don’t get too many young families as there isn’t a huge amount to do if you don’t like walking and eating. Thankfully we are into both but partook in far more walking than eating out this time… although the local eateries did look good.
No matter which direction we ventured in we stumbled across beautiful views – whether the town of Grassington itself – which is stunningly quaint, the never ending rolling hills or pastureland alongside the river Wharfe scattered with its beautiful cattle… its definately a beautiful area.
As always, three nights pass very quickly, especially when you are surrounded by beauty and it was once again time to move on. This time to a very different location – to meet up with a friend and park up in a big farmers field – full of sheep sh*t – with alot of other campers just outside Skipton to go to the Yorkshire Food Festival.
We had been to the festival four years ago and it was a pretty good weekend with a good variety of stalls selling local produce to buy and naturally, eat and drink. Last time the campsite was pretty full, comprising of two large fields…… this year however, the festival fields were probably twice as big and the campsite three times the size – they must have been raking it in.
Friday night saw a fair few more eatery stalls open than previously along with live tribute bands. Then, from Saturday morning the other two fields opened up – a pretty good turn out and variety of food and music. It was just a shame that the weather was a little ‘showery’ although we were lucky enough to find a tables and chairs both on Friday and Saturday later in the day in a sheltered area to use as a base.
Having not done any of the workshops previously, Keith and I opted for a ‘cook-off’ between a michelin star chef and a local chef and a curry masterclass on the Sunday…. not convinced that we will book in again but that said it’ll be another 4-5 years before we come back! Skipton, as always is a lovely market town on a canal and although this time we only had a quick walk in on the Saturday morning, it still has a certain appeal to it and worth a stop if passing close by.
On Monday morning with the Food Festival over we did a quick pit stop at the local farm shop to restock the cupboards, then moved slightly further west to Drake House CL at the top of a hill – no thats a lie too as it was also only half way up the hill – just outside Clitheroe, Lancashire (£25 per night inc.).
Another lovely small campsite with beautiful views and miles and miles of walking and cycling from the door…. you just need to be prepared to do alot of ascent and descent to go with the beauty.
We walked into Clitheroe on the first afternoon which is roughly 2.5 miles away, then took advantage of exploring the beautiful countryside over the next couple of days – all of which was lovely and very tranquil apart from the odd sheep bleating.
The hill I mentioned previously, of which the CL was roughly half way up, was 1km from the slightly more ‘main’ road to the end of the drive way … then another 600m to get to the CL with 100m ascent …. definately a good warm up in the morning at the end of my 5km run but i’m not conviced I would be able to do it much more than the three days in a row without a break!
Thursday morning and it was time to move on again … so setting off on our way to Staffordshire we got to the end of the drive and about 200m down the hill to come to a halt… one of the downsides of finding CLs in the middle of nowhere, up very narrow roads… we had to wait for a static home to be delivered to the site next door – there was no way we would come off better in a fight with that, we were just impressed that the driver managed to get it all the way up the road although he was literally inching it along.
30 minutes or so later and we were on our way again…. heading south now to a lovely little village we found last year ‘The White Lodge Campsite’ in Great Haywood, Staffordshire (£25 per night inc.). The campsite has a CL attached to it which always appears to be full, although the campsite itself is a small family run site and a pleasure to stay on. In so far as location, it is easy to access and on the junction of two canals, right by a farm shop/cafe, couple of pubs and Shugborough Hall National Trust park…. so lots of lovely walking.
It’s a lovely tranquil place that we could easily see as home, although apparently this part of the country gets pretty cold over the winter and as the latest we have been here is October – when there was a plethora of Pumpkins at the farm shop and it was around 5 degrees in the morning – we may yet change our mind!
As this was originally our meeting point with Kevin and Petra – who have the canal boat but couldn’t make it last year and unfortunately couldn’t cruise over this year either – they very kindly drove over to find us on the Saturday and we found a great pub just along the canal in Hixon to have lunch… proper home cooked food and I am pleased to say that it didn’t disappoint on any level… and the fish and chips was definately in my top 5!
Moving on from eating out – which we have done a fair bit of recently – we do have a couple of new dishes again this month… We have been cooking lots of lovely food if we don’t say so ourselves – not to mention the huge amount of pesto we have been making from random green leaves to go with pittas and BBQ veg!
Spicy Nutty Brocolli and Chickpea Salad
Brinjal Casserole Curry
It was a lovely little trip, exploring both new areas as well revisiting old ones and we have been pretty lucky with most places not being too busy despite the school holidays and the warm weather.