We arrived in Harrogate to visit Adam and Zena after a leisurely drive of just 2.5 hours. The day was sunny and warm, and we had a nice afternoon chatting in their conservatory looking out over the field and watching a red kite circling overhead. Walking into town in the early evening we passed though a park hosting a food and drink festival. The Tour de France came through Harrogate in 2014, to commemorate the racing is a stunning depiction made in stained glass by Caryl Hallett, and also a huge wood carving on permanent display in the centre of the town. We were heading for Konak Meze, a stylish Turkish restaurant where we enjoyed a fabulous meal with great Turkish wine and attentive staff. Heading home by taxi, we were soon tasting one of Zena’s favourite cocktails – espresso martini – this is made from coffee, vodka and Kahlua (a coffee liqueur), and very good it was too!
Heading out by car next day we had decided on a fossil hunting trip to Staithes a few miles north of Whitby. We were lucky to have a partly sunny day and made our way down hill through a quaint and pretty village where we had a pub lunch before walking by the harbour directly onto the beach at low tide.
Dramatic towering cliffs clearly showed the various lawyers of sedimentary rock, your eyes could follow the different colours and see fault lines altering and interrupting the longitudinal lines. Soon we were discovering small fossilised remains of squid and many clam shells, occasionally partial imprints of larger organisms and what looked life plant life too. Walking across rocks and boulders making our way to the far side of the bay, there were many fossils to look at and we were all quite engrossed with our discoveries.
After a couple of hours and much scrambling up and down rocks, trying to keep our feet dry and not wanting to slip, we had walked some considerable distance and made our way into yet another bay to head inland.
A mighty steep, uphill scramble ensued, much sweating and panting as we made our way along a tiny track between the stumpy bushes and brambles. In places we had a rope to help us up the really bad bits, deep steps had been dug out of the mud with timber added to create an easier way up, and near the end was a form of ladder in 3 sections leaning into the steep hillside that you had to traverse on all-fours! After at least 30 minutes of this last stretch, we finally reached tarmac and after gathering our breath, headed off across a field footpath, we arrived back at the car in 40 minutes. What an achievement, an exciting and different day out.
Unfortunately Zena had to work next day, but Adam took us to Ripley Castle near to Harrogate which was very interesting. We had a look at the surrounding walled gardens which still had much colour in the long borders, well kept lawns, tropical plant collection in the hot-houses, vegetable garden and rare fruit trees. There was a lakeside walk through picturesque parkland complete with an illusive herd of fallow deer, conspicuous by their absence! However, we didn’t walk in the park because we wanted to have a guided tour of the castle and it didn’t disappoint.
This Grade I Listed, country house was built in the 14th century with a tower at one end, part of it was destroyed by fire and is now Georgian. Belonging to the Ingleby family since 1308, surviving plagues, civil wars, religious persecution, involvement in the Gun Powder Plot, two world wars and numerous recessions, they have lived at the castle for 39 generations. The Georgian part of the castle has lovely light and spacious rooms with many portraits of the Ingleby family, great pieces of furniture, china and interesting artefacts. The tower luckily was not damaged by the fire and survived with all the wooden panelling around the walls. It was much darker inside than the previous part of the castle, however, it was very interesting with massive stone fireplaces and smaller windows. The first floor room had a secret ‘priest hole’ hidden behind the panelling and just big enough for a man be concealed. Sir William Ingleby was a Royalist and fought for Charles I at Marston Moor. The battle was lost to Oliver Cromwell who was a Palimentarian, he spent the night at Ripley Castle so William hid in the priest-hole and was never found. A fascinating day out with beautiful garden and grounds. No photography was allowed inside the castle but I hope you get the idea!
During our stay in Harrogate, Bessie had a rest on Adam and Zena’s drive while we stayed inside spending time together after our days out.