Whale Meet Again

Whale Watching

Whitby’s historical past is revealed in by the Abbey and the monuments that dominate Whitby’s east and west headlands above the harbour. For 84 years Whitby’s fishermen were engaged in whaling. The whale jaw bone arch on the West Cliff, pictured above, was presented to Whitby by Norway in 1963 (probably for having stopped Whaling and leaving it to Norwegians and the Japanese).

Whitby Whalers were doughty folk between 1757 and 1837 (when the last boat was sold). There is a full history ship by ship on Whitby Lad website.

Whitby Coastal Cruises now arrange whale watching trips and they claim ‘Minke whales are the main sightings but we have also seen humpback whales and an occasional pilot whale. Whales have been here for 1000’s of years, all that is new is that we are now taking the public out to see them.’

If you don’t mind queuing for Fish & Chips one of Whitby’s busiest restaurants is the Magpie Cafe but there are many excellent chippies around that offer great value for money. The ‘Whitby Whaler’ is now the eponymous name of fish and chip shops in Pudsey, Blubberhouses (why not) and other parts of the county. Poorpunsandbadbusinessnamesareus.com

Whale Watching by Nolleos CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Hebden Bridge a Weekend or 500 Years


Happy 507th Birthday to Hebden Bridge.

The packhorse bridge over Hebden Water  originated in 1510 and if you needed an excuse to visit this quirkly town in Calderdale the year long birthday celebrations may be what you were waiting for. It has just been awarded the best small market town. A well deserved award after the town pulled together after the 2015/16 Christmas floods.

When the Industrial Revolution descended on Hebden Bridge the hill sides were too steep for the area to loose its identity. The domestic activity of cloth manufacture and early ready made clothing thrived. This can still be seen in a row of houses called Machpelah, named after the Baptist minister, with special small windows for fustian cutting.
Fustian is a thick, twilled, short napped, cotton cloth used mainly for men’s wear. The active historical society at Hebden Bridge has an interesting article about a Fustian factory strike at the turn of the 20th century.

Hebden Bridge

Weekend Visit

  • There is a lot to see in the town but do not miss a trip up Hardcastle Crags a National Trust Property which they claim is a ‘Beautiful wooded valley with 19th-century Gibson Mill at its heart, an exemplar of sustainable energy’.
  • Heptonstall is linked to Hebden Bridge by the Buttress, a narrow pack-horse track paved with setts and as precipitous as any East cost village like Staithes, Robin Hood’s or Runswick Bays.
  • Midgehole is the start of several enjoyable walks and with a name like that who can resist.
  • In an evening there are many pubs including the White Lion dating from 1657 or the more modern art deco 1920’s Picture House.
  • Take a walk or evening stroll along the canal or alongside the river Calder.

Hebden Bridge

  • When you are tired of walking there are mountain bike trails and some great hill climbs for the avid cyclist. perhaps your bbike was bought or hired from this cycle shop.

Hebden Bridge

Welcome to Saltaire – BD18

Aire I saw elba

As a UNESCO World Heritage site a visit to Saltaire is a must. This is due to the present amenities and  Saltaire’s extremely interesting past. Set alongside the river Aire from which it gets part of its name Saltaire also has the Leeds Liverpool canal running through it’s heart.

  1. Sir Titus Salt, a Victorian mill owner, built  Saltaire as a model town and endowed it with many employee friendly features. Workers cottages  built and named after Salt family members, Alma,  Ada, Mary, Constance , Helen,  Fanny, Grace Streets are now occupied by West Yorkshire commuters. I guess the  names seemed modern  in the 19th century. Sir Titus built his mill on the river Aire to clean the Alpaca wool he imported from Peru.
  2. The former mill now houses a small museum, retail emporium, art gallery, 3 eating establishments and workspace.
  3. Shipley glen tramway is just across the river and canal bridges and runs up to picturesque Shipley Glen. Even if the tram is not running the glen is a good place to take children with rocks to climb, woods to explore, Brackenhall Countryside Centre to visit and a tea house.
  4. Roberts Park is squeezed between the river and the canal and has 2 cricket pitches  to deposit balls into either waterway.
  5. “1853 Gallery” which houses a collection of the works of the famous local artist David Hockney.
  6. Victoria hall and exhibition   premises hold a range of events. the Antiques Road Show was fillemed here last month..
  7. The United Reform round church based on Italian architecture and built by Titus Salt in 1859. His mausoleum is situated below the lead dome with sunbursts in round arches.
  8. The old tramsheds are now a restaurant and entertainment venue but it is easy to see where the old Trolley buses stopped when they reached their Saltaire destination. Another licensed and thus irreverent location is called Don’t Tell Titus.
  9. Walks include paths on the ‘Dalesway Bradford Link’  that lead up to Dick Hudsons and over Ilkley moor to the official start.
  10. Salts Walks is a demonstration of the local enterprise culture which keeps the community spirit live and thriving.

Halloween In Haworth

My simple advice would be don’t do it, parking in Haworth that is, unless you are prepared for the clampers. I had heard many apocryphal tales about the private car park at the top of main street in Haworth where they obsessively look for cars not parked straight or ones that over stay be one minute. Even Christa Ackroyd has commented on the parsimonious way the owner treats visitors to Haworth.
Having just ‘parked myself for a cuppa and butty’ in the excellent Apothecary Tea Rooms I saw the sign warning tea drinkers to drink up and check their car or risk a £75 clamp or worse. Knowing I had parked at the bottom of the Cobbles in a council car park I was less worried except I had been unable to pay in either of the broken and vandalised parking machine. The signs told me numerous time to pay on entry but I would look like these former parkers if I had waited to get a ticket.

It was Halloween weekend and the whole of Haworth had made an effort to join in the spirit with spirit. Eight foot dragons roamed the cobbled street and the wicca influence was wicked. The town is ideal for this sort of festivity and a walk around the church grave yard crammed with Gothic grave stones was spooky.

That Betty Boo is really frightening

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

Continue reading Why Visit Pateley Bridge

Pool in Wharfedale & Arthington

The river Wharfe in Spring looking from Castley to Pool In Wharfedale

Crossing the Lower Wharfe since the doomsday book times in 1086 has been no mean feat despite fords at Knots Ford and probably Pool where the bridge now stands. Pool bridge was built in 1793 and widened in 1815 and it seems there have been road works there ever since. The volume of water after rain in the dales is massive and has led to flooding many times in near by Castley. Over the years the volume of water must be staggering. This water has been the core of industry at Pool in Wharfedale since the reformation. The original wool mill dated 1673 was swept away with Pool Low Fulling Mill and two bridges. Paper mills (that use lots of water) were built in the 18th century and this trade has been carried on by the Whiteley family and others ever since. A Flour mill was also operated along side the river but the village was located 200 yards away for fear of flooding.

A mile to the east of Pool in Wharfedale on the south side of Wharfedale lies Arthington where records of the Priory go back to 1271 and the then prioress, Sara. Other Cluniac nuns in charge included Maud de Kesewik died 1299, Agnes de Pontefract 1302, Isabella de Berghby 1311 (demoted after leaving from the priory without permission), Sibil Plesyngton 1437, Marjorie Craven 1463, Alice Hall 1496 and Elizabeth Hall 1532. The Priory was surrendered in 1540 to Thomas Cranmer. more history
Staircase Lane running from Bramhope through Arthington to Pool is the place of a ghost story based on a wager with a member of the Dyneley family. Whilst galloping his horse down the staircase he was thrown and killed. The ghostly hooves can still be heard today!

The roads of Old Pool Bank and Pool Bank up to the Dyneley Arms have been the cause of many over-heated car engines and traffic jams as vehicles climbed out of the valley up to Yeadon Airport. These are the main roads between Bradford and Harrogate with other Wharfe crossings at Otley and Harewood. In the village near St Wilfrids church there was a blacksmith and wooden stocks whilst in Arthington there were kilns and forges. There are a couple of pubs, an active village hall and local cricket and football teams.

One of the big annual events approaching Christmas time is the visit of Santa Clause helped by gnomes from Otley Lions on the sleigh.


Pickering Day Out with Murals

Pickering takes its name from ‘the settlement of Picer and his people’ or Piceringas. Arriving in Pickering by the old North Yorkshire Steam train or by road, you will see the church spire of St Peter and St Paul atop a small hill in the town centre. (There is reasonable parking by Pickering Beck.)

Famous Church Murals
The main body of the church is hidden by a cluster of cottages, shops and the Liberal club below. You can access the church grounds by one of three flights of stone steps that cut through the surrounding buildings. The 15th century wall paintings, some of ‘the most extensive and valuable examples not only in Yorkshire but England’, were hidden by limewash and over the centuries forgotten. In 1852, when work on the interior revealed these treasures many visitors came, only for the murals to be rewhite washed by Vicar Ponsonby three days later and so it remained until 1937. Entering the church from the south door the huge figure of St Christopher is the mural you see on the north wall a favourite position for this painting. It is thought that to look at St Christopher gave protection for the day from sudden death (fast drivers may not benefit). There are many other murals including St George, St John the Baptist, St Catherine of Alexandria and the Decent in to Hades. These murals were originally intended for education as well as devotion and may have been based on wood-cuts from travelling artists.

If you are interested in murals there are other fine examples at St Agatha’s, Easby near Easby Abbey close to Richmond.
Book Cover

Sorry that is Bilborough in Nottingham not the village near York. I had found this book before I realised there were other less worthy Bilboroughs around! Continue reading Pickering Day Out with Murals

Boroughbridge & The Great North Road


Boroughbridge 011


The Great North Road has been in use for centuries. Romans used it when they set up in nearby Aldeborough, ,  Highway robbers sought out travellers between Scvotland and London and motorists have driven many a mile on its tarmacked surface.

In Yorkshire it runs from Rossington, Doncaster via Tadcaster and through Boroughbridge until it reaches  Darlington and beyond.  According to becausethey are there.com ‘The Great North Road split at Boroughbridge, above York, the easterly branch taking the direct route to Northallerton, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle and the Scottish border. The westerly branch followed the Roman road of Dere Street to link up with the trans-Pennine Roman road to Carlisle (now the A66) at Scotch Corner, before veering back through Barton to rejoin the easterly route on the outskirts of Darlington’.

Bridge Over the Ure

Boroughbridge 018

Continue reading Boroughbridge & The Great North Road

Marie Hartley’s Gayle

Gayle and Duerley Beck by Marie Hartley

Marie Hartley MBE would have been 104 this week had she not died in Askrigg at the age of 100. Fortunately there is a significant legacy of 33 books chronicling the Dales, numerous paintings and wood cuts and The Dales Countryside Museum at Hawes. Marie, born in Morley, went to the Leeds College of Art and the Slade School London where she specialised in wood engraving. She worked with two other redoubtable women Ella Pontefract and then Joan Ingilby.

With fellow Dales affectionado Ella Pontefract they published ‘Wensleydale’ in 1936 and many of the insights remain true today. For example they noted that may villages were built like little clumps up both sides of the valleys but ‘often two of them come together like sisters, as Hawes and Gayle, Bainbridge and Askrigg, Redmire and Castle Bolton.’   In 1936 not unlike now milk and cheese were the most important products of the local farms. Via the Milk Train, over 2 million gallons of milk a year were sent to London as part of the Milk marketing board’s sales campaign, using the Wensleydale Railway.


‘The Old Hand-knitters of the Dales’ was a 1951 book with Joan Ingilby that chronicled the development of knitting throughout the dales. Sold at Richmond Market, stockings and knitware were made in the homes of Gayle long after it declined in other parts of Yorkshire. Knitting started in the mid 16th century and it continued to be a successful activity, employing 400 knitters in Hawes homes, until the advent of machinery towards the end of the 19th century.

Gayle Mill started life in 1784 as a cotton-spinning mill, powered by a 22′ diameter overshot waterwheel, and over the next century, as economic conditions in the Dales changed, was also used for spinning flax and then wool for the local knitting cottage industry in the valley. Marie would be pleased to see the story continue into the 21st century as the latest sustainable technologies enable Gayle Mill to be create all its own carbon-neutral energy for heating and power from it’s reopened water powered generation system. Visit Gayle  Mill and see how it has benefited from the BBC restoration programme.

Bringing Knitting up to date you can read Knitting for Yorkshire here

Knitters of Gayle by Sue Hasker – catching up after being away. ‘Detail from the millennium window in St Margaret’s church, Hawes, Yorkshire Dales. The window depicts the many aspects of life in the town.’ CC BY-ND 2.0

Welcome to Hovingham – Yorkshire

Hovingham Ford - Yorkshire

Hovingham is in great farming country on the North Yorkshire Moors. Whilst farmers are notoriously hard to please it must be a joy to work here with the animals and crops.

  1. The parish is large containing Coulton, Scackleton, and six other townships. Hovingham, formerly a market town, is situated in the vale of Ryedale.
  2. There were three mineral springs, yielding respectively sulphurous, chalybeate, and clear water. Originally Hovingham was the site of a Roman bath.
  3. Ancient parish information is available from the local historian.
  4. Hovinham Hall, for 440 years, has been the home of the Worsley family. The Palladian house was built in 1770 and is open through June.
  5. Hovingham Womens Fellowship is just one of the community activities in the area.
  6. Sport is taken seriously with Tennis, Cricket, Bowls and Table Tennis clubs all active.
  7. A full community plan can be downloaded from this pdf.
  8. Gardens in Hovingham will be open to the public
  9. All Saints Church (above) was rebuilt in 1860   retaining its Anglo-Saxon tower and a number of other early features including a Saxon west doorway and a 10th century Saxon wheel cross inset over the south belfry.
  10. The Worsley Arms is the only hotel in Hovingham but there is a shop and tearoom situated on the green. Walking is a popular activity and you can enjoy the magnificent North Yorkshire countryside

Hovingham Estate

  • The Hovingham Estate has been in the ownership of the Worsley family for 450 years.
  • It is a thriving rural Estate, in the heart of North Yorkshire located 17 miles North of the City of York.
  • The majority of the Estate lies within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • photo Hovingham Ford – Yorkshire by nick.garrod CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • It was the childhood home of  the Duchess of Kent Katharine Worsley.,
  • About a mile from the village is The Spa, which is much visited during the summer months by invalids; the waters are of a sulphursodaic character, and there is also a copious and very strong chalybeate spring, and one of pure rock water.