trip up’t north…

Moira and I have just spent a rather lovely week in Yorkshire. We stayed in the heart of Skipton’s town centre - a stone’s throw away from both the High Street (named England’s Great Street of the Year 2009!)(Moira still doesn’t believe me!) and the Leeds+Liverpool Canal… and only a low bow shot from Skipton Castle.

Although we’re not particular boat-lovers, we do both love canals. We love walking their towpaths (Moira likes them because they’re ‘flat’!); we love their urban and rural settings; and we love the gentle pace and rhythm of life that they offer. Our towpath walks included an amble to Bradley (and a drink in the Slater’s Arms), where we watched some of the impressive Fell Races (3.5 miles/900ft rise)… and a walk along the canal near Bingley (via Bingley station) to the impressive 3- and 5-lock rises.
We were also very impressed by Skipton Castle (original built in 1090, with subsequent fortification improvements after 1310. During the English Civil War the castle was the only Royalist stronghold in the north of England until December 1645) – now beautifully preserved and surrounded by the greenest grass you’ve ever seen!). The one minor niggle for us was the group of four loud-mouthed (literally) American tourists who spent their time talking VERY loudly to each other as they came across new treasures (why do so many Americans have to be SO noisy!?)(sorry, my lovely American friends... I know I'm generalising!). We were also very taken by the wonderful Skipton Castle Woods – 36acres of ancient woodland along a river valley (hauntingly beautiful and, in Moira’s words, “beguiling”).
We visited Saltaire a couple of times. We love its history as a Victorian model village (built in 1851) and the inspired vision of Sir Titus Salt who created it. Salts Mill, with its cafés/restaurants, museum, galleries, bookshop et al, was a particular highlight. Beautifully renovated, laid out, decorated and lit – and the perfect space in which to view work by David Hockney in a permanent collection.

I sketched, we walked, we explored, we read, we chatted, we laughed, we ate and we drank the odd glass… and the weather was reasonably kind (which was a bonus). Not being car owners these days, we travelled everywhere by train (when we weren't walking)(excellent rail link between Leeds and Skipton… and beyond) and we loved the differing landscapes we travelled through – with distant fells, wide open green acres, small old villages (their houses were much better than most of the stuff erected these days… IMHO!) and busy industrial towns (some perhaps not quite so busy these days).
Yorkshire (even without setting foot on the Moors) is a very beautiful part of the world and we fell in love with much of what we saw.
Photo: Moira+I drinking at The Slater's Arms, Bradley.
PS: Click on this link for my Skipton+canal pics.
PPS: Click on this link for my Saltaire+Salts Mill pics.