Friday, 4 March 2011

Ahh now then Mr Herriot....

Well here's a thing. We've been to Yorkshire for a mini break. And a wonderful break it was too, because Yorkshire has 2 things (amongst others) to recommend it - sunshine and proper cups of tea.

Last Saturday we drove up from Wiltshire (bathed in a monsoon of biblical proportions) to arrive at Harrogate in sun kissed February sunshine. Here we 'supped lad' at Bettys in Harlow Carr Gardens, 'eee it were reet grand' not least as my parents travelled down from Tyneside so we all met up for the day.

Harlow Carr for those interested in gardening is the RHS's northern climate garden, and even at the end of February, its winter interest was fantastic.

This winter glade was absolutely stuffed full of cornus, cornus of many colours.

Cornus 'midwinter fire' was especially vibrant

And then there were more........

......so much to see and well worth a visit if you're up that way. Especially as it gave us a goodly thirst for another cup of tea, mmmm delicious....

My parents then trundled off home leaving myself and herself to enjoy the delights of the Cedar Court Hotel in the centre of Harrogate, for 3 nights. I like hotels, they're anonymous and one can wander about at will, so we nipped out to a tapas bar in town and fed handsomly.

Sunday after a mighty Yorkshire breakfast we pootled off to York and did the tourist trail, coffee, then Yorvik centre (no queues), coffee, York Museum, coffee, York Art Gallery. By complete chance I discovered one of David Hockney's 'Trees' paintings was at the York Art gallery, namely 'Bigger Trees Near Warter'. I'd read about this change in direction by David Hockney, in that he's begun to paint landscapes of his home turf, the East Riding of Yorkshire. So it was a must to see these 50, 3foot x 4 foot canvasses on a single wall. Absolutely stunning and if you are up that way, make a detour to see this free exhibit which is on until June.... details here. When we returned from our visit to York, we rounded off the day with a trip to see the Kings Speech in Harrogate. A great film, and even better as the cinema was behind the hotel, such a treat just to walk to and from the cinema through the deserted streets late at night. We liked Harrogate very much.

Monday was a special day for me too; and Julie. We went to the World of James Herriot museum in Thirsk. I've loved the James Herriot's stories ever since they were published in the 1970's, they still make me laugh out loud now. Some reports had it that the museum had closed, but I'm glad to say nowt was further from the truth. And what an excellent 3 hours we spent in there.

The real Alf Wight (aka James Herriot) - copyright James Herriot Museum

And the real Quicksilvercountry at the same door... copyright, Yorkshire Probation Service.

What I loved about this museum was it covered not only the fictional character of James Herriot, but the real vet, a load of social history, actual sets used in the making of the TV series, and a veterinary museum. Best of all it was a hand on museum..........

........... what Julie had her hands on in this photo is anyone's guess!!!!

Yes well, err, this goat was quite obliging.... full of good health after I'd given it a thorough examination.

Exhausting work being a veterinary..... this was one of the TV sets......

....... as was this, with Julie about to dispense a potion in my direction.

I could even sit in the car used in the series, still in working condition (the car, not me) and if I could have done, I'd have smuggled it out. I've always fancied an Austin 7 to drive around in. Please go if you are in North Yorkshire, it would be a real shame to see this fantastic museum close down. Mind you it's thirsty work this museum visiting ..............

.............. time for another cup of tea then.

Tuesday dawned fair of face, which was good, as this was Yorkshire Dales day. After a bit of a drive around, and a coffee at Kilnsey near Bolton Abbey we headed to Malham to visit the Cove. I last came to the Cove on a school trip in 1977 or 78. A long long time ago. Strange how the mind plays tricks, as I remembered it as a long walk from the village to the Cove. In fact it is no walk at all, and these days on a gravel footpath. I must have had shorter legs as a child.

The weather was perfect, warm for the time of year, blue skies and we both loved the fresh pure air, clear water in the river and given this is out of the main tourist season, empty landscape.

We only saw about 10 people on the walk, possibly as they avoided the area following reports of a strange man loitering with intent.............

..........no wonder Julie had to have a sit down to recover!

One thing that was not in our favour was that I'd forgotten to bring the battery charger for the camera, so the photo above was the last one I could take, which left me with no option other than to use the Blackberry.

I left Julie to sit in the sun on a rock and walked to the source of the river at the base of the Cove. 2 rock climbers were on the face of the Cove, all I can say is better them than me, because when I stood under the overhang of the cove, it is quite intimidating. Any loose rock and I'd have been a gonner......

................ which would have prevented me from completing the walk with a coffee and a celebratory mint choc chip ice cream.



  1. Well, that was thoroughly wonderful. I loved every minute of my tour. Thank you!

  2. Greetings from Finland. This blog is fun to explore, through other countries, people, culture and nature. Come take a look Teuvo pictures blog. Also tell all your friends why he must visit Teuvo pictures blog. Therefore, to obtain your country's flag rise higher Teuvo images to your blog flag collection. Have a wonderful weekend Teuvo Vehkalahti Finland

  3. Next time I am up there I will definatly go there, I love the Herriot books and films. It looks a really good day out.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Thank you for a grand trip Lad!

    Lots of happy memories from your post. We lived in Yorkshire for several years and have gone back for numerous holidays. Harlow Carr Garden is a good place to walk in the winter months. Lots of inspiration for winter colour and form.

    Malham is wonderful. If you ever get the chance to walk up to the top in summer, the limestone pavement and all the limestone loving wild flowers are amazing.

    The James Herriot Museum looks brilliant. One to put on the list for our next visit!

  6. Sounds like an idyllic few days, Andrew. Thanks for sharing and bringing back memories of Harrogate and York and those cakes in Betty's Tearoom (yummy!).

    I would love to visit the James Herriot museum - it looks superb. I loved the books and tv series and, although my daughter has never watched the programmes, she adores the books and is reading the omnibus of his stories for the umpteenth time!

    Great to see the photos of Malham - a place I have always wanted to visit.

  7. Hi all, apologies for the block reply.

    I'm glad my little report brought such a response, hopefully when you visit it will be as good.

    Goosey - if you go to Thirsk, the Black Lion just off the market did us proud with food.

    Shirl - hope all okay, understand why you deleted the comment.

    Dartford Warbler and Ragged Robin, Malham is just fabulous, make sure you drive from Bolton abbey, to Grassington and into Malham from the North, absolutely breathtaking views. Scary, bendy, steep roads mind you at times.