Few days away were needed to charge the old batteries, but to be honest if we get more than two days free we are duty bound to take Pod out for a trip, shame not to, don’t you think.
After spending a few days with other Pod owners we made the decision to extend our break by two nights and head off to Lower Wensleydale which is nestled in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.
Caravan and Motorhome Club site at Leyburn was the perfect location for us, nice walk into the village and lots to see in the area, so it was booked for two nights.
Easy enough journey there but the approach to the site was a little different. First off, the satnav tried to take us down roads that didn’t exist and and when we did get the right one we found ourselves winding down a fairly steep and narrow road, not dissimilar to the one that took us down to Hill of Oakes at Lake Windermere.
Thankful that we didn’t meet someone coming up the road we reached the bottom and swung round the toilet block to come to a stop outside reception.
Booked in easily enough and we were given the choice of any pitch that took our fancy as the site was only a 3rd full.
We did a quick circuit and eventually decided upon one that backed onto the railway and not too far from either the toilet block or the footpath into town. Setting up was done and the thermal wrap went on too, it definitely made a difference to the temperature inside Pod.
It was still quite light so we set off on a walk into Leyburn, no street lights most of the way, so we went prepared with a torch. We’d learnt our lesson the hard way, well, one of us had.
Before getting to the main road, we had to cross the railway line, not something either of us likes, but it’s a necessary act. What did catch our eye was the very large sign with some very interesting instructions on how do so, can you spot it ?
Soon came to a junction which once crossed opened up into an odd shaped village square. The outside was lined with shops, pubs and the like, in the centre there was a large carpark with an interesting payment method; by donation, brilliant idea we thought, if it worked.
We did pass an antique shop too, caught LB’s eye as there was a very small white rocking chair all on its lonesome sat outside the shop.
Our original mission was to buy a late lunch and a pint or two in one of the pubs, but after trying a few we discovered all seemed to stop serving food through the afternoon, so a pasty and pie were bought from the local bakery and this was eaten on a wooden bench just off centre from the square.
Once demolished we needed to fulfil the second part of our mission and we chose the Golden Lion as a first stop.
After one pint of Wensleydale Brewery Gamekeeper and Semer Water, we made the decision to stay put and have a few more.
Pub was welcoming and seemed to be one occupied by the locals, so that for us was a good sign. Besides, we were very cozy sat in one of the windows watching the world go by.
We eventually left our little snug and took the walk back to Pod, torches are a must.
Dinner was eaten using the multi-cooker, great device and a delicious spicy prawn and tagliatelle dish was soon demolished.
Utility block was very close, but you would still need a torch, just to be safe. These were Caravan club standard fare, there was loads of room and the showers were hot, can always do with a few more hooks but really couldn’t ask for anything more.
Weather was checked, just to make sure we didn’t have another Storm Brian heading our way and plans were made for the next day. Forecast was rain, so a visit Wensleydale’s Creamery was on the cards and we’d hopefully get to taste some of their fabulous cheese.
Woke to rain dancing on Pods roof so we knew what kind of a day we were starting with. Once breakfast was out of the way and dishes washed up at the block we were soon on our way to the Creamery.
Carpark was very busy, people coming and going at a great rate, but there were still a few spaces available. First stop was reception and we bought tickets for the centre and the cheese demonstration. The demonstration wasn’t due for 45 minutes so we used this time to walk around the centre. Very interesting and full of information, specially the kitchen set in early 20th Century and would you believe it, they had a small rocking chair, very similar to the one we’d seen outside the Antique shop in Leyburn.
The centre is a great place for adults and kids, lots to get your hands on and we even got to see the cheese making in action, all through the very large display window.
Time came to take our seat for a more personal look into cheese making. This was excellent and well worth the extra few pounds. We were taken on witty, knowledgable journey through the life of cheese, from milk to its solid form.
The shop and cheese tasting was next on the list. It was again very busy, but the queue moved along at a steady pace and we’ve must of tasted over 20 different cheeses. We were stuck for choice but bought Blue 16, Fountain Gold and Sheeps Cheese. All very different, but equally as tasty and we thought we would never say that about Sheeps Cheese.
Rain seemed to be abating so we decided to head over to Hardraw Force and take our chance with the weather. Hardraw is England’s largest single drop waterfall with a reputed 100ft drop.
Access to the waterfall is gained through the back of the Green Dragon Pub and as we were there, lunch seemed a very good idea. Very atmospheric pub, very oldy worldly, without any modifications you could easily image it being used in a period drama of some sort.
Lunch went down very well and we crossed the rear carpark to the waterfall entrance. After speaking to the landlady we discovered both businesses were now run separately and she had only a few months earlier taken on the tenancy of the Pub.
We paid just under 5.00 to enter and took the path up to the waterfall, due to all the heavy rain it was very impressive indeed, camera came out in short bursts as the spray from the ‘fall was in danger of drenching us and the camera and we were stood some distance away.
After a half hour walk round the grounds we eventually returned to the car and began our journey back through Hawes.
With a little bit of googling on the way we noticed Outhwaites Ropemakers was open for business and this was free to walk around, not an opportunity to be missed we thought, so off we went.
Large carpark at the rear, but be mindful it’s a pay and display. We nearly fell fowl of it as the signs are limited and very small.
Interesting entrance area where you had the chance of attempting a various selection of knots, there was also a small room which had information footage playing on a loop.
The walk through the factory was interesting and showed various types of cord and rope being made. At the end of the walk the shop had a variety of dog leads on offer, plus a few others items made from rope. As it was a free experience we can’t really knock it.
After such as busy day we eventually made it back through Leyburn and to Pod, but not before passing the Antique shop, which still had that little rocking chair outside. Once dinner was eaten and showers had we collapsed on Pods bed and were soon asleep.
Woke to the sun peeping through the gap in Pods blind and over breakfast we decided to head off to Bolton Castle, it just so happened we had to pass the Antique shop to get there.
Once on the road and with a little persuasion we stopped and LB went in to the shop to ‘enquire’ on the chairs price, within the space of 10 minutes she was the proud owner of 1 rocking chair. Now we had to think how we would get it home, luckily the Duster was more than capable of doing this, thank goodness. Money was handed over and the shopkeeper kindly agreed to hang onto it until we returned from our day out.
Bolton Castle appeared through the trees and along a narrow road which lead more or less to its door. The carpark was at the rear and easily accessible, this was a pay and display, but the parking fee was reimbursed on entry to the castle.
Through the entrance we went and to get to the ticket desk we passed through the café. Delicious smells surrounded us and we knew we would have to pay it a visit on the way out.
Tickets were bought and a map obtained of the castles layout, we took the advice of the receptionist and began our tour at ground level. This was most definitely the best way to see it, the footprint of the castle is immense and the story told as you wound your way through the rooms was extremely well done.
From the kitchens to the rooms where the archers lived, then onto the court yard with the blacksmiths anvil you had a real feel of how things used to be. Then up the stairs to the chapel with the monks living quarters and onto the rooms Mary Queen of Scots occupied, all superbly set with storyboards depicting events from times gone by.
Eventually we found ourselves in the gardens where the Falconry display was to take place, but due to high winds this wouldn’t be happening today. Wild boars were also to be seen, two adults with their young were happily mooching away in their enclosure.
The Maze was great fun too, we could both see over the top but only one of us found the middle, we shall leave you with that one, don’t want to cause any embarrassment.
Lunch was eaten in the café, and as we reflected on our visit we thought it was an excellent example of how, as a child, you expected a castle to be. A brilliant day for any family.
Time came to leave and on our way through Leyburn we stopped to collect the rocking chair, whilst causing a mini traffic jam.. very sorry, we eventually managed to rearrange the rear of the Duster and lodged the chair securely in the back.
Back at Pod the chair was extricated from the car and LB promptly sat on it and gave it a bit of a test drive, it was a lovely little thing and once stripped and waxed it would have pride of place at home.
It was our last night in Leyburn and cooking was decided against, so we took the walk into the village and again paid the Golden Lion a visit.
The pub was much busier than our previous visit and we were lucky enough to time it just right as a table became free. Huge burger and chips for one and the most delicious macaroni cheese for the other were ordered, both eaten with two more pints of Wensleydale local ale.
Fellow diners soon began to leave and we took the opportunity to move to a window seat, much cosier than sitting at one of the more rigid dinning tables. Here we sat and spent our time looking back on our visit to Lower Wensleydale, we’d had a brilliant time and we still had so much to see. We hadn’t even set foot into the countryside, which was a little unusual for us.
This only meant a return visit was on the cards and we new we had a long list of things to see and do prepared.
The walk back to Pod was done under a cloudless sky, no light pollution meant we were treated to a spectacular star lit night. As we walked past the farmers fields we sneaked a peek at the sheep with the torch, just to see what they were up to and the majority were curled up asleep. Those still awake left us wondering what they counted to nod off.
Back at the site Pod was waiting and within a short space of time she was soon warm and cozy, nothing nicer than getting under the duvet and catching up on the days news on the TV.
Rain stayed off over night and we were lucky enough to get the awning down just in time. Nothing worse than having to unpack a wet awning once home.
We said our goodbyes and thankfully made our way to the top of the road without meeting anyone on the way down.
Such a lovely site and with one last look out of the car window we were soon on the motorway and on our way home.
Next stop in two weeks, Sandringham, our furthest point east with Pod.