The journey from Hawes to Knaresborough is fairly uneventful, but the sub-zero temperatures, icy narrow lanes and small villages remind us that towing a caravan is a great responsibility. Up hill and over dale, round bends, this way and that way, hair raising in morning icy temperatures. Only a short journey today, however, this time he has studied the map and chosen a longer route he considers safer in the conditions.
First impressions of the Knaresborough CAMC Site are good, a small compact site with tidy hedges separating every two or three pitches. There is a Bistro here, ‘The Wanderer”, normally the last thing on our wish list but we plan to use it for the novelty value alone. The place is practically full, we have the choice of four pitches, No.25 suits us perfectly and ‘show off’ backs it nicely onto the peg in one. (Picture taken when it was practically un-full the following day).
We decide we need to get rid of £100 quickly so we head off to Morrisons Supermarket. Our basket looks decidedly unhealthy, Wine, Gin, Beer, Pringles, Biscuits (for our Wensleydale Cheese, Grommit) and too much red meat. We compensate and build two massive ‘pick’n’mix’ style salads for our tea, the ones you kneel on and compact as tightly as you can to get your money’s worth. We received a 10p off a litre a fuel voucher saving us £5 at the pump. Flush with success The Boss blew it all on an IMO car wash. Which the car desperately needed, Longleat tree sap collected over eight months and mucky Yorkshire, winter roads. All we needed to go with the disco lights in the car wash is some good early 80s music, to boogie to.
After last night’s episode of ‘Frozen’ we take the precaution of throwing the Aquaroll in the car overnight. -3°C again throughout the night, ever the gentleman, he said I could cuddle him tightly if I got too cold. I scramble into my Jim jams and bed socks, I’m never that cold.
With only one full day available to us on this stage of the tour we have to use it well. First stop today is eight miles up the road, Fountains Abbey … and we get to use our National Trust membership cards … Hurray. Saving £34 makes our £100+ membership fee seem worthwhile now.
Fountains Abbey and the Landscape Gardens are stunning, almost impossible to imagine the scale of this Abbey when it was in it’s full glory.
Our pictures look like we had the place to ourselves, not so, it was packed with families on a Sunday day out. All seemingly wearing this year’s must have fashion accessory, the yellow puffer jacket with fur lined hood is being worn by everyone from the age of about three up to the age of about seventy three, I wonder if they were on offer locally ahead of the cold spell… The Boss doesn’t want them on his pictures mumbling unrepeatable things while he waits for people to clear his view … normally just as someone else enters it. The National Trust pipes Christmas carols across the Abbey, whilst for little ones they have put on a Christmas Tree trail across the grounds.
If you can get to this place during December, we have since found out that the Abbey is floodlit with all colours of the rainbow on selected dates. We have seen pictures and it looks amazing.
Britain’s oldest (they claim) tourist attraction was our second destination. ‘Mother Shipton’s Cave’ in Knaresborough is a natural rock and water formation almost in the town centre. It was not to be however, it seems it is closed for about four months over winter, replaced by a twinkly light, Mulled Wine, Wooden Toys and Santa’s Grotto type affair with ticket entrance.
The Boss thought the Lady at the booth was letting us go through and see Mother Shipton’s Cave in a nod-nod-wink-wink sort of way. “Don’t worry about tickets, walk through and take a look”. No, wrong again, we took a look at the wooden huts and walked straight back out.
Knaresborough has a very impressive railway viaduct and the Castle on the hill offers a superb vantage point. There’s definitely a theme running through this winter trip, bridges!
To get back we had to cross the railway tracks by the signal box with our very own friendly signalman shouting out the window when safe to cross.
I then randomly drag him into church, possibly for the first time since we married, only this time to see what a Christmas Tree Festival is all about … he even admitted it was interesting … such praise. By now it is getting cold so we head back to the car park. He spots a public loo by the car park entrance and makes haste, but it’s locked, I tell him there was one at the church, to which he replies, “At my age you need to be pointing out every toilet”.
Tea is booked for 6.15pm, we are eating at ‘The Wanderer’ Bistro on site. Named after William Gordon Stables’ revolutionary invention, the world’s first purpose built caravan. Pulled by two horses, it travelled the length of Great Britain during the summer of 1885, and so began the start of leisure touring as we know it. The rest is history. The Bistro at Knaresborough may be named after the original caravan, if you want to see the wooden masterpiece it stands like caravan royalty in the goods shed come toilet block at the Broadway club site. We are seated by the window, only a handful of other people in, Christmas music tinkles quietly as pretty lights twinkle. It’s Sunday, I want a roast, there’d better be one on the menu.
Roast beef was on the menu, tender and melt in your mouth, dripping in gravy. One thing I love about being back in the North, northerners make blooming good gravy.
Not overly big, but well portioned enough for me to order an Eton Mess, I love an Eton Mess, normally after a main I don’t have room for dessert, today I’m in food heaven.
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