Middleham Facts Interesting and Unusual

Middleham has 5 airports and two major ports less than 90 miles away. It is nearer Manchester than Hull but less than 20 miles from Darlington or Ripon. So that puts Middleham on the map or almost.
Middleham is in tranquil Wensleydale on the river Ure.


Middleham Castle English Heritage

Middleham castle is known for being the home of Richard III until he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The origins of Middleham castle go back to 1086 and ‘Alan The Red’, a nephew of William the Conqueror, who built the first castle in this Wensleydale beauty spot.
Under Kings Henry and the 16th century Tudors the castle was left to fall into disrepair. Despite some intervening refurbishment in 1646 Parliament ordered some walls be destroyed leaving the castle the shell it is today.

View from the top of Middleham Castle

Other Interesting Facts

Trooper Middleham the latest recruit to the Royal Household Cavalry is a horse named appropriately after this horse breeding and training village.
The Forbidden Corner is a local tourist attraction that claims to be ‘The Strangest Place in the World’. Discover for your self by going past Pinkers Pond on the Coverham lane.
As a home for 12+ horseracing trainers Middleham includes Mark Johnston has trained at least one hundred winners on the flat for each of the last 14 years. It is a record unsurpassed in the history of the British turf and makes Johnston the most consistent horse racing trainer in Britain.
Legend has it that Alkelda was a Christian Saxon princess who was murdered by two Danish women in 800AD and buried in what is now St Mary & St Alkeldas Church. Bones dating to the right era were discovered and reburied when the church was undergoing repairs.

Middleham Castle

The flag is showing the logo of English Heritage that now look after the Castle.
Jervaulx abbey is a local attraction and you can also visit Rivaux, Fountains and Coverham on Abbey tours.
Middleham is a great dales village well worth a weekend visit. Our Badminton club trip stayed at the Richard III hotel which was really just a good pub.
The gallops can be very cold in winter and that may be a reason why Middleham trains such hardy horses.

Photo Credits
Middleham by lisabatty CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
View from the top of Middleham Castle by lisabatty CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Middleham Castle by rofanator CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ‘Got up really early today and went for a drive with the intention of ending up at Rievaulx Abbey. I went via Middleham to see the impressive castle and it was well worth the detour, even though it was a couple of hours before the gates opened but I still got a great view from the outside.’
full gallop by scpgt CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Haworth no Bronte Publicity II PY

Book Cover

When a Haworth based family buy a beautiful vintage Rolls-Royce, little do they know they would get more than they bargained for. Named after the car’s registration II PY this book by a local author is ‘Fast-paced and action-packed, II PY takes us on a rollercoaster ride through the landscapes of Britain and France, where the old world charm of nostalgic rallies and vintage shows collides with a ruthless, audacious underworld of gangland bosses. Part taut thriller, part homage to one of automobile history’s greatest cars, II PY will have you on the edge of your ivory leather seats!’

Defeating the ‘Crims’ time after time the plot is starting to wear thin as it takes the police such a long time to catch on. For a fast read and ‘the thrill of the chase’ this is an enjoyable read and cheap to borrow from the library.

Look out for this registration plate on a car near Haworth. That is where the author and his own car live and until this book is made into a film I guess they won’t be moving to Monte Carlo.

II PY by Edward Evans

These lesser known Haworth authors have had large parts of the county named after them and on that basis need no publicity from this web site.


Yorkshire Snow September


Yorkshire, like much of the rest of the country, has been hit be heavy snow falls which have left the county blanketed in snow.


Gritters are struggling to keep roads open as stocks of salt run low. Scarborough Council was even forced to resort to using sand from the resort’s beach to spread on the roads.


Only joking about September – it was July


Relish and a Joke

You are unlikely to find this saucy little number in your local Chippy but you might overhear these old sores being repeated. ‘I have told you a million times not to exaggerate.’

So I went down the local supermarket, I said “I want to make a complaint, this vinegar’s got lumps in it”, The check out girl said “Those are pickled onions”.

The fast food shop at Windscale (you may call it Sellafield now but the name hints at how old my jokes are) is called “The Fission Chips.” It is called fast food so you eat it fast or otherwise you might taste it.

I’m in great mood tonight because the other day I entered a competition and I won, The prize, a year’s supply of Marmite……… one jar.
A friend got some vinegar in his ear, now he suffers from pickled hearing.

Another deaf friend had an ear transplant from a pig now all he can hear is crackling.

If a White Russian ruler is called t’Tzar and his wife is t’Tarina are his children t’Tardines?

Mummy tomato went for a walk with the baby tomatoes consistently lagging behind, so she turned round and shouted ‘Ketch-up’.

Being overweight is something that just sort of snacks up on you.

A friend was standing in line at a fast-food restaurant, waiting to place an order. There was a big sign posted that read, “No notes larger than 10 Euros will be accepted.” underneath was written “Believe me, if I HAD a note larger than 10 Euros I wouldn’t be eating here.”


Yorkshire Bank Funding National Trust


The UK’s biggest ever plant hunt is underway with a survey that will cover tens of thousands of plants at more than eighty significant National Trust Gardens. The project is sponsored by Yorkshire Bank, sponsors of the Outdoor Programme which also includes help to conserve and protect National Trust gardens through investment in greener gardening initiatives.

Using the latest technology including GPS positioning to record plant locations over 1,000,000 plants are being recorded to give an overview of the largest collection of cultivated plants in the UK. Many of these plants tell the history of a garden’s creation, people’s passions and changing fashions through the centuries.

During the three year sponsorship deal Yorkshire Bank is also supporting the Greener Gardens initiative to improve the way both the Trust and its supporters can maintain gardens in more environmentally sustainable ways. This includes composting on an industrial scale, rainwater harvesting and reviving old wells, to experimenting with drought-resistant varieties of plants and introducing solar-powered lawnmowers.

It is good to see a bank putting something into more than just executive bonuses.


Locations from the National Trust Yorkshire section that you might like to visit include

Beningbrough Hall & Gardens
This imposing Georgian mansion contains one of England’s best baroque interiors. Over 100 pictures are on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. Outside there is a delightful walled garden and a fantastic adventure playground.

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Why Visit Pateley Bridge

Pateley Bridge

Walking the Hills and Dales of Nidderdale

  • Walk along the flowing River Nidd or cross the bridge for Afternoon tea at a local cafe.
  • For the more adventurous a special plaque in Pateley Bridge High street marks the start and finish of the Nidderdale Way, a circular route of some 53 miles
  • From St Mary’s churchyard up on the hill there is a grand view of the valley and some interesting and notable graves.
  • Around and about are visitor traps including How Stean Gorge, Brimham Rocks and Stump Cross Caverns but the best walks for me are the many solitary rambles over the hills towards Grassington or Masham.

Browsing The Town

  • Pateley Bridge is a market town that grew with local lead mining and now excels with colourful summer floral displays. It has won the Britain in Bloom competition a couple of times and should keep the trophy next time.
  • It is the home of the Nidderdale Festival and one of the country’s finest Agricultural Shows.
  • The narrow streets slope steeply up from the valley lined with shops, cafés, art studios, guest houses and the ever important public houses.
  • The main High Street dates to 18th and early 19th century with bow fronted shop windows and handsome classical porches that now offer visitors a variety of shopping experiences. England’s oldest sweet shop can be found here (or at least the oldest sweet shop in Pateley ed.).
  • Also worth seeing in the craft workshops are a glassblower, a jeweler and a potter, not forgetting a visit to Pateley Playhouse ‘Little Theatre of the Dales’.
  • High above the town are the ruins of the medieval St. Mary’s Church dating from 1321.

Nidderdale Museum

  • Nidderdale Museum shows how ordinary people lived, in imaginative and realistic settings.
  • There are sections devoted to Agriculture, Industries, Religion, Transport and Costume.
  • Visit Nidderdale’s living museum and see historic photographs and :
  • Cobbler’s Workshop
  • Schoolroom
  • Victorian Parlour
  • General Store
  • Costumes of the 19th & 20th Century
  • History of transport in the Dales

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Active Hobbies and Costs

Yorkshire Bank are worried that we spend too much money  on our hobbies. That is a bit rich coming from a bank now owned by the Aussies.

From last years figures and statistics they came up with the following list of hobbies, annual costs and number of active participants.

Golf 1,457,347 £755
Gym (incl. exercise bikes/rowing machines) 4,722,762 £480
Tennis 874,040 £385
Badminton 900,332 £365
Cycling (mod intensity 30 + mins) 3,175,650 £330
Swimming 5,625,539 £176
Fishing 281,083 £148
Football 2,910,684 £88.95
Running 1,872,819 £70
Walking (mod intensity 30+ mins) 8,142,693 £0
Average Cost £279.79

No mention of cricket, bowls, field sports, rugby, bouldering, table tennis, netball, fell running, sky diving or other Yorkshire based activities.
Fishing numbers seem too low and at the risk of offending many fishermen they are hardly very active. Yorkshire Bank must be thinking of the River bank.
Thank goodness shopping isn’t on the list of hobbies, I am sure it costs me most and I cut up her M&S credit card a long time ago.

‘Yorkshire Bank’s top tips for saving money for your active hobby:
1. Calculate how much your hobby is costing you every month – make sure this figure covers all your costs and use it in your household budget (but it won’t save owt)
2. Budget, budget, budget – include your hobby costs in your household budget to ensure you don’t have any nasty surprises at the end of the month. By writing down exactly what you are spending your money on, you might be able to cut down on things that are less important to you than your hobby (but it will probably save you nowt)
3. Assess the equipment you currently own – do you really need it all? Selling any surplus on the internet or trading it in for money off new kit could significantly cut your costs (or sell someone else’s equipment instead)
4. Shop around – if you hobby requires a particular venue or specific kit, make sure you have researched all the options and are sure you have the best deal before parting with your cash (play golf at the crack of dawn before the green keepers are awake).
5. Make ‘hobby’ buddies – club together with friends who share your passion and spilt the cost of everything from venue hire and membership fees to petrol and equipment. ( or better still find a rich buddy)’.

Do not forget, in competitive hobbies, it is not the winning that counts but how much you drink afterwards.
What do fish and women have in common? They both stop shaking their tail after you catch them.
The biggest fish ever caught in Yorkshire was 16 inches – Hmm not very big – well that was between the eyes.


Halloween Horsemen of the Yorkshire Apocalypse

Ghost rider

This Halloween horse in Bingley is getting ready for one of the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse; Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death. Alongside such an array of problems  Trick or Treat pales by comparison.

The biblical references

  1. Revelation 6:2: “I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”
  2. Revelation 6:4, “Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.”
  3. Revelation 6:5-6, “…and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
  4. Revelation 6:8, “I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.”

Long may Yorkshire and Yorkshire folk avoid such apocalyptic events.


Walking Close to Yorkshire History

Red Tower

Walking is one of the best ways to get close up to history.
You will get the time to consider how things you see came into being and how they relate to the then society.
Researching your walk will often tell you quite a bit about the surrounding area and what you can expect to see whilst walking around.
A restful drink at the end of the walk will give you further time to ponder on the decades, centuries and millennia that have gone before.

Red Tower York

I did too little research for my recent walk around the walls of York but the Red Tower had ample information boards and information was easy to obtain.
The only section of old York which does not have a wall is between Peaseholme Green and the Red Tower where in medieval times there was a huge fishpond . Called the Kings fish pond this formed part of the water defences of the city. The pool silted up in the 17th century and became part of the marshy land called Foss Islands.
The tower looks short and stumpy now because the foundations and lower stone work has been sunk below soil level.
Interestingly for lavatorially minded kids you can still see the Guarderobe or toilet projecting from the rest of the wall.
The Tower is built of red brick and was the cause or a rift between the stone masons guild and that of the builders. In 1492 two masons were implicated in the murder of builder John Patrick but were later acquitted.
The tower has been used for the manufacture of gunpowder, keeping it away from the rest of the city buildings. At that time it was called Brimstone House.

“Historic Walks in North Yorkshire” by Jim Rubery, who has only lived in Yorkshire since 1975, has a good selection of walks. He started writing for the climbing press in the early 1990s, but has had a regular walking column in Yorkshire Life magazine since 1995, entitled ‘Rambling with Rubery’.

Book Cover
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