Yeahhhhh I’m back again !
Yesterday I took a day trip across to Lancashire and being the brave fella wot I am, I didn’t bother with anti rabies, anti tetanus, anti malaria, anti Mancunian or any such jabs….and I didn’t even take my passport ! There’s brave for you.
It all came about because as is always the case, I wanted to go somewhere new and a few days earlier, I’d been looking at the map and found a whole area north and west of here that I knew nothing about. When going to The Lake District or even going to and from the ferry to Norn Iron up in Stranraer, I’d often driven up and down the M6 in Lancashire and then along the A65 but I’d never noticed the area in between…….called The Forest Of Bowland.
Click on the link for details.
This discovery, and how to get to it, became even more exciting as it meant I’d go past the Ribblehead Viaduct and I’d been wanting to go there for many years and had just never got round to it. So I made my plans to go last Friday as there was no World Cup footy on and I could take the whole day. Then it rained. Pah. Drive abandoned.
Yesterday was to be cloudy with sunny intervals and here in the UK, that’s day out weather !
I put several small Lancashire villages into the GPS to force it to take me along scenic roads – although most of them would be single track roads with few, if any, passing places. I didn’t care and on a Monday in late June, I didn’t expect to come across many other tourists.
I was up bright and early, showered and porridged, and set off about 9am. Up the A1 to Catterick and then across the stunning North Yorkshire Dales roads to Hawes. Part of this route will form Stage 1 of the upcoming Tour de France (on Saturday) and I just hope the weather is fine as images of Yorkshire will be beamed to all parts of the world and they should be fab. They certainly were yesterday.
After Hawes I passed Aysgarth and after about 2 hrs from home, I finally came upon the 24 towering arches of Ribblehead Viaduct and pulled over to take a photo.
From a distance, it seems like a bit of an unnecessary construction as the land doesn’t seem to dip enough to justify a viaduct at all. But up close, you see a very different scene as the valley floor is 104ft (32m) below the middle of the viaduct !
There was plenty of parking at the side of the road and there was even a snack van to feed and water the constant stream of tourists, walkers and cyclists who were either there to take the short path over to the viaduct or to simply have a look from the roadside and move on.
I was still full of porridge (my cunning plan to keep me going till I found a nice country pub for lunch) so I parked up and took the path.
The light wasn’t very good and so I’ve created black & white versions of most of the photos I took at Ribblehead. Given the subject, I think b&w is the way to go.
As I was leaving and approaching the end of the path, a train did cross the viaduct. Sadly it wasn’t a steam train but I took this snap of it in any case as, again, it adds scale to the construction. As do the people underneath.
The angle gives the impression of a solid stone wall rather than arches. I didn’t notice this until looking at the photos once I got home.
Before leaving the area I went up a short, horribly potholed track to Ribblehead train station but there wasn’t a car or a human being to be seen anywhere. Opening a gate I went onto the station platform to take some photos but there wasn’t much to photograph.
It was pretty though ! Just after the bend of the tracks in the distance, a train would be approaching the start of the viaduct.
At the top of the potholed track there was a view down to the viaduct which wasn’t great as views go but with the station behind me, it put the viaduct into perspective as the means to get the rail lines across the deep valley.
Back on the main road, I continued to drive west to Ingleton and was then going to cross the A65 and on to Tatham when I decided to go a few hundred yds along this famous Yorkshire road to go to The Country Harvest, This is our favourite stopping place when going to The Lake District or to places like Barrow as the food is great and the building also houses a gift shop and a food store selling all sorts of local produce.
The views from the car park aren’t bad either !!
But I wanted a pub meal and so I didn’t eat at The Country Harvest this time.
Now the GPS came into its own as I’d entered various small village names into it to take me along little known but scenic roads. Oh sorry, I’ve told you that already. Oh well.
The plan was to go to Wennington, Tatham, Lowgill, Chipping, Whalley and then to the larger town of Colne to take me back to Leeds without going anywhere near the M62…….never a good motorway to be on at any time, never mind rush hour.
As I approached Tatham, I crossed into Lancashire and felt a shiver run down my spine. Still, the scenery was fantastic and I soon forgot where I was and continued to enjoy my drive. The roads WERE mostly one track but apart from the occasional tractor or delivery van, I had them to myself. It was 1:30pm as I came to Tatham and coming over the brow of a hill and down the other side, I came upon the country pub I’d been hoping to find – The Bridge Inn.
The sign outside said lunch ended at 1:45pm so I felt it was meant to be.
The pub owners (I assume) had spent a lot of time, effort and money to make their little corner of the village a visual delight with flowers everywhere. The outside of the pub was the showpiece of course but even its car park across the road was ablaze with colourful pots of flowers.
Inside was just as delightful. Two private cottages had been knocked into one to create the pub and it still retained all the olde world features you’d expect, from the wooden ceiling beams to the walls decked with horse brasses and decorative plates.
I choose the steak and onion pie from the comprehensive menu as Denise, the “barmaid” told me the meat was locally sourced and delicious and came in a pot smothered in rich gravy and covered with a lid of light puff pastry.
How could I refuse ?!
For this photo, I slid the lid off the dish to show the contents and although the lid looks like the top of a burger bun, it was in fact as flakey as described. Large chunks of tender meat lay below the surface of the gravy and I almost took up the offer of a spoon to get at it !
Full of stomach and only slightly lighter of wallet (meal plus a drink came to just over £9), I got back on the road and just beyond the pub, came upon this sign.
From this point on the drive onwards, I didn’t take a single photo. I just wanted to enjoy the scenery and to be honest, the single track route I’d taken didn’t lend itself to stopping long enough to take photos. The Romans clearly never made it to this part of Britain and instead, the lesser known Bendyites subjugated the locals and made sure no Roman army would try to get their lands by not having a straight piece of road longer than a few hundred feet !
My steering wheel has never had such action.
The downside of all this was that I wasn’t making good time. From one particular village to another took me over an hour and I suddenly realised I needed to end the tour in order to be back for the footy at 5pm. So after reaching Chipping, I altered the GPS to take me back to Leeds and that was it. A round trip of about 180 miles in just over 8 hrs.
Oh wait, I did stop once in the Forest Of Bowland – actually I’m not sure where that name comes from as I never saw any evidence of a forest at all and the scenery was much more like a cross between The Yorkshire Dales and The Derbyshire Peak District.
There were always sheep lounging or grazing not far from the narrow roads I was on for much of the time and I did stop once to take some photos as I liked their horns – does that make them rams ?! They showed no fear of humans or our cars and would continue doing their thing even if I was parked right by them.
So I’ll end with a couple of photos of them. Sorry for not having any scenery ones from Bowland but I’m sure I’ll be back as the area is vast and deserves much more than the short time I spent there yesterday.