On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at(Welcome to Yorkshire) - Getting the Real Feel of Yorkshire - 5th August 2016

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August 5th 2016
Published: August 11th 2016
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The wind of yesterday when we were travelling has died away and the day has dawned looking very promising to be out and about.

After breakfast Gretchen got the washing done and hung out on the clothes line to take advantage of the sunny weather. She was sure it would be nicely dry by the time we got back from a trip out in the countryside that Rhona was about to take us on.

We drove up to the Chevin Ridge, the highest point around the Leeds area at 282 metres above sea level, and stopped at the lookout known as Surprise View.

Rhona said that on a clear day you can see York Minster away to the east. However, today, although it was fine there was a haze that meant that anything that far away was not visible to the naked eye.

The view from this magnificent vantage point is one of 360 deg and it takes a while to take it all in. Obviously having something solid like buildings of a town or village meant that it was relatively easy to identify the place. Also other higher points of land which had names were easy to pick out.

We had expected that the view north from the town of Otley, below the lookout, might have more of a patchwork of green for the pasture and wheaten colour for the crops of barley and wheat etc that are mostly ready to harvest.However, it wasn’t quite like that and aside from one very large field of wheat or barley there wasn’t a lot of other fields where those crops had been sown.

After a stroll a little further along the ridge where you can see hand constructed dry stone walls which were built to create paddocks. As the name suggests no mortar is used to set the stones rather they are laid so that they support each other. It is said that no dry stone waller (the person who builds these walls) ever lifts the same stone twice such is their expertise at knowing just which stone will fit where!

There is some 5000 miles of dry stone walls in the Yorkshire Dales and there are regular competitions held in building walls to the extent that it is seen almost as a local ‘sport’.

We then drove down to Otley at the base of the Chevin Ridge and as it was Friday there was a market being held in the town. There were stalls for a wide range of items such as clothes, produce and one selling a huge range of sweets including chocolates. Gretchen couldn’t find what she was looking for in the sweet range but I did buy a large bag of ‘Misshapen Chocolates’ for a pound. Who cares if they don’t look like they do in a box, just as long as they taste OK!

We headed home for lunch and to await a call from Fiona and Tom who were going to join us after an appointment Fiona had, at Kirkstall Abbey where there was also a museum depicting life in Leeds in the late 19th early 20th centuries.

However her appointment ran on longer than she anticipated so they didn’t join us.

It was just a short drive to the grounds that the Abbey is located in and first we called into the museum to get a taste of life in Leeds over 100 years ago. The displays on the ground floor were set up as’ shops in a street ‘with very well looked after items that you would have bought all those years ago in tins, boxes etc.Upstairs were displays of the way law and order was carried out in Crime and Punishment and also Decades of Youth from the 1940’s through to the 90’s with a whole range of toys, many of which we recognised.

Across the road is Kirkstall Abbey founded in 1152 and was disestablished in 1539 under the reign of Henry VIII.Most of the outer walls of the Abbey remain while the interior is really just a shell.

However, it makes an impressive sight from whichever angle you look at it from. There were originally an extensive number of buildings that were on the grounds of the Abbey but today some of those have gone with just their foundations remaining.

The Abbey had been booked for a wedding although we are not quite sure whether that was where the ceremony for the wedded couple actually took place or in a side building. Also we had arrived a bit late and so did not get to see the inside although as we already mentioned the interior is just a shell.

The rush hour traffic wasn’t as bad as Rhona thought it might have been and so we weren’t too long in getting home.

Dinner tonight was out at a local fish and chip restaurant. Now this isn’t like going down to the fish and chip shop like we do at home and picking up an order to take home to eat in front of the television.

The restaurant we went to was in Pudsey and obviously very popular because as we turned into the car park there were plenty of cars parked of those people in having their dinner.

There were other options on the menu if you didn’t want fish but when in England ......you have to have fish and chips with mushy peas and fresh bread with butter if you want to make ‘chip butties’. Another good thing is the restaurant was licensed so having a beer or a wine with your meal was no problem.

We have eaten so well since arriving in England with almost more meals out in the 10 days since we arrived than we had in all the previous 4 ½ months since we started the BBA V3.

Tomorrow we continue the trek north. Not very far in terms of mileage, which is just as well as we another ‘Benvie’relation to meet for the very first time, which will be exciting.

PS:what better song to head up today's blog that this Yorkshire folk song for which the music was written for in 1805.Check out the Youtube video under 'Welcome to Yorkshire' as there are some lovely scenes of this beautiful county that might just inspire you to travel here.Many of you will have no idea what the words are to this song so we suggest you use Wikipedia to look them up and then you too can sing along.Many people say the song is best sung with a pint of beer in one hand!

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11th August 2016

Lollipop trees
Just being reminded of the peculiar nature of trees in the UK compared to NZ - it was reflected in many presumably UK written childhood stories that had " lollipop trees". When we saw some countryside last year in the UK I immediately said " Oh so lollipop trees do really exist!" Tim and I thought the Abbey photos reminded us of similar scenes of buildings at Port Arthur in Tasmania. Guess there are a few ghosts at the Abbey as well.

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