We had been thoroughly spoilt with good weather for our trip in Derbyshire and Yorkshire, but finally it changed and we had a grey, wet and miserable morning to drive to Threshfield near Grassington. This campsite scored ‘Brownie Points’ straight away with fresh baked scones and small jars of clotted cream and jam in reception, we just had to have some of those! It was spacious, tidy mown grass and a fancy new shower block giving excellent facilities including hair-driers! Thankfully it only had trees around the edge – and the significance of this is getting a TV signal after days without it. I was already planning a relaxing night with a bottle of wine and hopefully something half decent to watch.
Once everything was set up, the weather was with us again and it was now dry, even if the sky was dull and grey. Walking directly from the site along a path to a back lane we walked through the immediate village of Threshfield into Grassington about a mile away. It was so picturesque, quaint with narrow cobbled streets, many individual and original shops, 3 hotels, several pubs and numerous tea rooms and cafes in the immediate centre. Walking around the village it was obvious its inhabitants took a great pride in floral displays, everything was very tidy and well-kept and there was no litter anywhere.
Walking back to Grassington next day, we caught a bus to Skipton a few miles away and had time to stare out of the windows at the beautiful scenery. The name Skipton was derived from the Anglo Saxon words ‘sceap’ (sheep) and tun (town), it was recorded in the Doomsday Book as Scepeton meaning sheep town. When we arrived we found it was market day and spent some time looking at the stalls, and the individual shops either side of the street, including a stunning fancy shoe shop.
The start was at the canal basin where there was a statue of Freddie Trueman the England fast bowler in 1950s and 60s, also many colourful narrow boats were moored, and others were heading out on the sightseeing tours out into the countryside.
Heading out under one of the road bridges over the canal, we walked directly below the castle walls and they towered above us. The castle was restored after the Civil War, and today it is privately owned and open to the public, however, having seen several castles we did not visit it this occasion. The footpath was on an elevated position between the canal on one side and the Eller Beck on the other, eventually crossing via a bridge we passed a saw mill on our way to a pool. This was created by a dam across the Beck, the whole surface was covered in tiny floating plants where several mallards and a coot swimming around in the green soup.
Several waterfalls provided interest along the route and eventually the path led uphill through the trees, turned sharply back on itself which gave us lovely views out across the open fields, latticed by dry stone walls and dotted with sheep over to the hills beyond. Curving downhill again we entered the town again right by Skipton Castle and local church.
After a night of rain, the day dawned grey and dull, not very inspiring. I drove Bessie out to Malham Cove going several miles out of our way to stay on bigger roads. We knew there were busses that serviced the village of Malham so I figured that the road would be big enough for us. However, it was quite narrow in places and passing by an equally big vehicle was quite challenging but we eventually made it to the carpark.
Walking towards the magnificent Malham Cove we could hear the call of a peregrine. We had recently volunteered for the RSPB at Salisbury Cathedral to show visitors our local peregrine family on the spire, which is why we recognised its call. The day was warm enough but the rain had started and was a fine mist in front of us like a net curtain.
The limestone escarpment that was spread before us is about 260 feet high and over 980 feet wide, it was somewhat obscured by the rain, however, the peregrine was flying in circles and I watched it land high up on the cliff face. Having taken our binoculars, I was able to locate him perched out of the rain, sitting under an overhang of rock taking shelter from the elements. By sharing my binoculars I was able to show three other visitors at the foot of Malham Cove just what we were looking at and they were amazed just how camouflaged the bird was against the grey of the cliff.
Following a steep path at the side of the Cove, we climbed up purposed built stone steps to the top to see the famous ‘limestone pavement’ spreading out over a large area. It is a unique habitat formed of Clints which are the blocks of limestone and the Grykes which are the gaps or fissures. These provide a micro climate for small plants which gain shelter from the elements and thrive, but being quite late in the season we only spotted a few different species, Herb Robert and Hart’s Tongue and Thyme being most common.
Eventually back at the campsite, it started raining much harder and continued all night. Thankfully, the sun came out by 9.30am next morning, we stowed everything away in all the cupboards, made Bessie ‘rattle proof’ and set off on our long journey home. Calling in at Ludlow for a night to see family, it was then only a short hop of 3 hours home to Salisbury after a busy but rewarding couple of weeks.