Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Lots of Exercise!

Sunday 8th May 2016

Today finds us parked up on Bainbridge Ings Campsite near the village of Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales.  We've  come here for a bit of exercise, but today was to be a walking day, and we would leave cycling until after the weekend when maybe the traffic would be reduced. So we packed our picnic and set off in very warm sunshine along the Pennine Way - a path that would eventually lead to Thwaite, but that was about 12 miles away, so a little too far to go there and back all in one day.  Therefore, we made our target 'the top of the hill' - a distance of about 6.5 miles - and nearly all upwards!  However, the slope was mostly quite gentle, and as we went the rolling meadows changed to heather clad moorland, so the ever changing vistas made our walk quite varied, as did the many birds that kept popping there heads above the undergrowth.  We spotted black grouse, lapwings, plovers, red shanks and numerous hen harriers swooping through the sky.   I also thought it would be almost impossible to miss our way up there, because for a good part of the way it was paved with big concrete slabs to reduce the effects of erosion.  However, at one point we managed to wander off of the path and then we did become a little 'misplaced'.  So out came the trusty Samsung tablet with allowed John to pinpoint our position exactly, and then following a bit of marching through the boggy moss and heather, (it was quite boot sucking in places), we were soon back on the way marked way!  But this just goes to show how easy it would be to become properly lost if conditions were less than perfect.  After our little adventure we thought it was about lunch time and the perfect spot soon presented itself - it was an open cross made out of dry stone walling with benches in all four openings, so out came our grub which we were able to enjoy in comfort and protected from the blustery wind while admiring the vast views that were spread out below us.

Image result for theakstons old peculier
Following lunch we made our way back down - and right at the bottom of the hill we found a lovely old fashioned Yorkshire pub that sold Theakston's old Peculiar - we couldn't resist, and it was obviously meant to be because there was a vacant bench outside with our name on it! While we quietly  sat and sipped our brew we got nattering to a gentleman who was travelling in his motorhome alone, so one pint turned into two, but he was clearly enjoying our company so it would have been rude to leave him on his own! Anyway, eventually we managed to stagger back to the T4rdis, and we both slept like babies that night.

Monday 9th May 2016

Watch out Buttertubs - Here we come!  This route winds  it's way from Simonstone near Hawes towards the villages of Thwaite and on to Muker, and it's been on John's agenda 'to do' for quite a while, especially following it  featuring  in last years Tour de France. However, I was approaching it with a little trepidation because when we'd chatted with  a chap in the local cycle shop he'd said the lower slopes were 'challenging'!  Anyway, we donned our cycle gear, rolled our sleeves up and in true Yorkshire fashion,  got on with it - and although we did have to get off and push for about a hundred yards early on in the ride, we made it with only a few 'breather' stops!   And then came the fun bit - going down the other side, but before we did that we paused just over the brow to refuel - right by the side of one of the old shafts from where the 'hill' gets it's name. It's said that in times gone by farmers using the pass on their way to market would stop and rest by the massive potholes, and during hot weather they would lower their butter into them to keep it from melting!

After lunch we coasted down the hill at speeds of up to 30 miles an hour, and once we were safely at the bottom we pottered along through several pretty little villages with me thinking the difficult bit of our ride was over - WRONG.  After about 5 miles we turned off towards a place called Askrig  - a road that would take us around in a circle and back to Hawes - but to complete the circle we had to climb for another 2.5 miles - and if we'd thought Buttertubs was steep, this was a whole lot steeper. The first section was at 25%, and at times, it was even difficult to push, never mind ride, but between pushing a bit and riding a bit we eventually made it to the top, from where we were happily anticipating a nice long quick decent - again WRONG.  The road had just been pebble dashed, so with loose chippings and very steep sections it was necessary to keep a firm grip on our brakes - we could almost smell burning by the time we got to the bottom!

After that it was an easy amble back to the T4rdis, and although we had only covered 22 miles, it was quite far enough for one day.

Tuesday 10th May 2016

Today is our 41st Wedding Anniversary - So happy day to us!

After all our exertions yesterday, and because it was our special day, we decided we would just go for an easy walk - is there such a thing in the Yorkshire Dales.  John had plotted a circular route that would take us up and along an old Roman Road and that would provide stupendous views over the moors. However, the only trouble was we almost needed a ladder to climb up some of the almost vertical hillsides to get there - am I moaning - if so I don't mean to.  It was another lovely walk (only about 8 miles today), and again we saw lots of wild life along the way.  Then, when we finally got back down to Hawes, it was time to decide if we wanted to venture out for a celebratory dinner, or if we were going to purchase goodies in the village and cook for ourselves.


We choose the latter so stopped by a deli for pate and Wensleydale cheese which we had as a starter.....

..... and then we nipped to a local butcher for spring lamb which we scoffed with new potatoes that tasted of soil - along with carrots and leeks in a creamy goats cheese sauce!  All washed down with a very nice drop of Shiraz, and finally followed by Ben and Jerry's pish food ice cream.
And all this with very pleasant melodies produced by Einaudi - a perfect Bistro for two - and I even got excused the washing up!

Wednesday 11th May 2016

Today we are heading back to our base near Ripley because John's got an early dentist appointment in the morning to have a crown done - rather him than me.  For our parking place we have requested a pitch up in a Rally field by Carsington Water, and that will be our base for the next 5 nights.  It's got next to no facilities, but it's only 6 quid a night, and we think the views will make up for anything else it lacks!   And after that, we will be heading over to Bury to collect our new van - T4rdis2, so by the time I blog again we will have moved house!

Take care x

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