Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 13: Leaving the Dales/Entering Cumbria

 Today we left Beck Hall and hit the road for 2.5 hours up to Cumbria; also known as the Lake District. We took the scenic route and drove through the rest of the Yorkshire Dales park instead of staying on the plain and unexciting motorway. You can see why...

 When we arrived at our next B&B in Near Sawrey, The Sawrey House, we were too early for check-in so we took a seat in the dining room for some lunch. A club sandwich for Eric and a goat cheese and pepper ciabatta for me. Our room was ready just after we finished our lunch. We loved our room. Here's the view from our window just above the tub. You can just make out the small lake that sits just in front of the hills. That's Esthwaite Water.

 Our room is nice and spacious.
Our days of fighting our sinuses mixed with all the driving had caught up to us. So we decided to take it easy and catch up on some things like... watching t.v. and checking our email. That felt really good. We relaxed and made reservations for dinner at the B&B for 7:15. But this was no ordinary dinner. 

They like to make it very special and unique here. We showed up downstairs in the bar area to be seated but the host told us to get a drink and wait a bit for our table. So we put our order in for some drinks at the bar and then took a seat outside to wait. Eventually our drinks arrived along with the dinner menu for us to look over. 

Still outside, relaxing, the waitress came over to take our dinner order. We waited some more but then got a bit chilly so we moved inside to the bar area again where they brought us out a little snack from the chef. We don't really know what it was. Some liver pate wrapped in bacon and served on a cracker along side deviled quail eggs. They made it sound all fancy and it sure did look fancy but we honestly didn't catch what the server said it was but that's what it looked like. I was a little hesitant after hearing the 'liver pate' part so Eric tried it for the both of us. Not his favorite. I did try and enjoy the quail eggs though. 

At about 8:00 we were brought to our table where our meals were quickly served. It was really great food and we enjoyed it. I really liked how we got to hang around while our food was being cooked. It made it feel very easy-going but still fancy. To add, when we got back to our room, there was a bottle of champagne for us. Courtesy of the hotel. This whole honeymoon thing is pretty awesome!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 12: Malham / Settle / Skipton

Eric woke up bright and early for some breakfast and a bike ride through the Dales. He left at 8:30 while I slept in until 9:30. I quickly ran down to catch the last minutes of breakfast. Filled up on several cups of tea and honey, took my time getting ready and found a cozy spot at the creek with the ducks to update our blog.

Eric really wanted to go for a few mountain bike rides on this trip. I had originally planned to join him for the one here in the Dales but I’m just not in the right state of health to do that. So, what do we do when we fill under the weather? Make an appointment at a nearby spa for a massage and recouping! Since the rest of my day was spent in a massaged daze; Eric’s going to write about his busy day out on the town...

As Genell stated; I got an early start to the day in order to get my ride on before Genell was scheduled to get her massage (I needed to be back by 1:00 in order to drive her there).  I grabbed a quick breakfast and drove back to Settle to rent bikes.  Because of our medical expedition there the day before I knew the way.   On the way I had to wait for some cows to moooooove.
The people at the bike rental place were nice.  While the bikes for hire were nothing special (basic hard tail Trek with an even more basic suspension fork), they were adequate for the route they provided me.  This route was the Settle Loop

I started out of town down a paved street for a couple miles along the way I saw some shepherds with their dogs moving a herd of sheep from one lot to another.  I have been on hiatus from photography and videography for some time, but this site was clearly an inspirational catalyst.  I started shooting.  After getting some awesome shots I was on my way again.  Another couple miles and the route had me turning onto a bridleway.  Now this “right of way” thing that governs trails on private land in the UK, does not apply to mountain bikes.  Mt. bikes and horses need to stick to bridleways and purpose built trails.

The rest of the ride was not the most challenging feat that I have a accomplished on a bicycle, but its merits were in the sights it provided.  Here is quick video that I put together of some of things I saw.
 After the ride I returned the bike and got back to the B&B to take Genell to the Spa.  Now a side note about the spa; the day before I had suggested that Genell get a massage because of the accelerating effect it has on bodily process’ including being sick.  Genell complained about not wanting “another massage” (I know its rediculous... in her defense she was sick and  cranky).  After doing some research for her about the available spa’s I found one that was located on the Duke of Devonshire's 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey Estate.  After viewing the website, Genell said, “That’s the spa?  Oh, I’ll go there”.   Here is a picture of the Bolton Abbey Estate where I dropped Genell off.
While Genell was at the Spa I went to the town of Skipton to see some sights.  First I went through the towns open air market.  I realized I hadn't really eaten anything substantial since my ride, and I saw long lines outside on place advertising “pork pies”. I got one and it was pretty good (a little salty). 
 Open air market in Skipton.
  After walking around the market a little more I made my way to Skipton Castle.  As I was to learn on my tour Skipton Castle is on of the most complete and well preserved castles in all of the UK.  Here are some pictures....

 The court yard.
 Here you can see two walls.  The original at the bottom was brought to that level by bombardment.  The upper portion was rebuilt without fortification in mind.  Crazy thick walls.
 The privy.

 The dungeon.

 Chapel of St. John the Evangelist on the castle grounds.
 View around Skipton
We have to cross this bridge to get to our B&B.

Day 11: Malham, Yorkshire Dales

With Eric up and at ‘em when the alarm went off, I woke up with exactly what he caught. Congestion, sore throat, aching face and eyes. Malham looked to be a lot more fun than the Snowdonia hotel turned out to be so I was determined to leave the room and venture out with Eric. We thought a light, easy hike would be a good option. We could always turn around if I started to feel worse and we could take it as slow as we needed. We headed off for a 1/2 mile hike up to the Malham Cove; the remains of a waterfall that’s been extinct for 12,000 years. The waterfall is under 100m high and about 300m across. All the rocks are limestone and it was fed by a melting glacier which is now the Malham Tarn; a lake just north of town said to be the highest lake in all of England.


 We sat down at the top for a rest before heading back. Eric struck up a conversation with some other hikers and found out that we could either head back to the B&B the same way we came (45 minutes) or we could go around the top of the waterfall, through some woods, the Gordale Scar, Janet’s Foss and then on to the center of Malham (about 75 minutes). I was feeling good so we chose the later. I think we were both glad we did.

 The Gordale Scar is an active waterfall that’s about 400 feet high.

 Janet’s Foss. Foss is a Norse word for waterfall and Janet is the name of the “Queen of Fairies” who is said to live in a cave nearby. A class of young students stopped for a lunch break when we were here and I heard the teacher say that the pool below is where the local women would do their laundry. That water is always freezing cold, no fun.

 Coins hammered into dead tree trunks for good luck.

 The local smithy.
By the time we got home, I was absolutely exhausted and feeling a lot worse. Eric called up a local doctor (the next town over in Settle) and made us appointments. We drove 15 minutes to the doctors office. The directions the receptionist gave us were: "Drive to Settle. There’s going to be an aqueduct, go through that. There’s a church on your left and a petrol station on your right. Doc’s office is behind the church. No address. You’ll figure it out."
We checked in right on time, waited about an hour, got some undivided attention with a really nice doctor, a prescription for Eric and a shopping list of OTC meds for me and that was that. Thank you, free health care; you were wonderful.