Friday, 22 October 2010

Hawes, Yorkshire Dales

Waterfall GJC_IMG_9073
A weeks rain?? !!
The market town of Hawes is situated at the western end of Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales National park and is probably most famous for the production of cheese (12th century french Monk recipe carried on by farmers wives in the 16th century) at the creamery just outside the town centre. Like many other locations in Yorkshire, the making of TV programmes such as the nostalgic  James Herriot's "All Creatures Great and Small" bring the tourist to Wensleydale with a destination of Hawes to purchase some cheese (12th century French monk recipe) that the animated characters of Wallace and Grommit adored.
    Several months ago I was asked if I wanted to go with friends for what can be best described loosely as a spiritual retreat to a country house near Carnforth in North Lancashire. Essentially, the weekend was just going to happen for me as I was just going to be a car passenger, but I needed to get the friday off work as the group always do a hill walk on the fringes of the Lake District on the way down. However, not one to get off lightly, yes you've guessed it, I was informed at short notice that I was organising the friday walk. In previous years, the group have climbed mountains with grades that would make any ordinary hillwalker proud. Unfortunately, after studying the weather forecast all week, today was no "Jacks Rake" Langdale Pikes day! I was weighing up a choice between the Lake District mountain "High Street" from Haweswater or the Yorkshire Dales mountain "Whernside" from Ribblehead viaduct. To cut a long story short, the weather was awful and seeing I was the only one in the car who had not been before, it was me who got the blame !! The walking option I eventually came up with on the day, was to go to Ribblehead viaduct ( Carlisle & Settle railway) and assess the weather.
   As it seemed like a poor start to the day with regards to the weather, I came up with the idea of stopping at Hawes  for an hour to see if the weather would improve, hence the reason for being here.
   It had been some time since I was last here and even though I had an idea of the layout of the town, I was unsure of the images I would end up with. Although the weather didn't help, I was a little disappointed with the architecture of the buildings. There was some scope near the waterfall above, but I had to keep up with the group who gave me a mixed impression that they didn't want to get too wet in the town but wanted to head south to start the walk.

Unlikely fusion of ancient and modern !!

Rain shelter !!

On the edge of town, there was an eerie faceless farming sculpture scene within a small fenced park in the middle of the road that looked more like part of a nativity scene.

I had an idea of what I wanted to photograph but it wasn't happening for me due to the dynamics of the angles and obstructions on the ground. I wasn't quite happy with just taking the shepherd as the background was messy but kept the image anyway......

Shepherd Silhouette GJC_IMG_9084
early Christmas card ??!!

Ropes have been made in Hawes since well before 1725 when the first registered ropemaker died.  Records show that bell ropes for the local church were made between 1726 and 1802. It became a family business during the 19th century when they also looked after the toll road entrance fee into the town. At the beginning of the 20th century, the rope business was sold to another family but the railways and World War one played their part in disturbing the balance of what had gone on before.

In the 1920s, the previous family owners needed the adjacent Gatehouse as a dwelling for his newly married son so the business was moved to its present site near the (now disused) railway station. The rope making continued through the difficulties of getting supplies during World War two until electric motors changed the process in 1952. As more of the family retired, it looked likely that the business would close in 1974 but it was kept alive by two college lecturers who moved to the area and continued to use the family name. The retired owner was still around to mentor the couple in the transition period but the business survived due to another unusual occurrence at that time and indeed to this day, thanks to an event which takes me back to the beginning of this post ....the publishing of the fictitious books of the Vet, James Herriot.

Church Bell ropes

Scented Scones !  GJC_IMG_9068
scented scones !!
We ended up in a local cafe away from the rain and even although I didn't fancy certain items to eat, we discussed, like country folk, the weather and I was left perusing the options for the afternoon walk, thinking about the continuing theme of the excessive Hawes moisture both outside and inside!!

Chaste cup  GJC_IMG_9065


  1. Interesting post - it's a long time since I was in Hawes. It usually rains when I go up there!

  2. I. Love. That. Place.!! I hope you got the wonderful free cheese samples at the Hawes creamery! Interesting connection between the ropemaking and the Herriot books. I'd never heard that before. Great post. But we had better weather when we were there. Still cloudy, but I loved every minute! I know exactly where that first picture was taken. :-) Thanks for taking me back there.

  3. I am here in Kentucky and have never been to Hawes. Although, as an Air Force Brat I did live in England as a small child. Lovely photos and I enjoyed your post.

  4. I love the first picture and the pictures of the sculpture scene. That was interesting about the ropemaking, since I have enjoyed the James Herriot books.

  5. I've not had much luck with photography in Hawes. The view from the bridge downstream of the one you stood on is better but not much. I always look at the postcards for inspiration there is none to be had here. Pleasant enough town though. Well done with shepherd and sheep I had several goes at them with a fraction of your success.

  6. wow... u've made the place sounds interesting! and the pics creates curiosity to the reader. now i fell i shud visit too :D

  7. In that weather I'd sooner be in the town than up the hills.

  8. Thanks for popping by my blog, I always try and return comments if a can, you have a very interesting blog I will be back when I have more time to look though your other posts. Mom likes taking photos and love's looking at other peoples, she is nosey.
    See Yea George xxx

  9. I have a photo of the waterfall in Hawes which is almost identical to that one, except mine is about 22 years old and on film.

    You've got photos of Yorkshire! I'm hooked :)

  10. By the way, was the 'spiritual retreat' at Capenwray by any chance?

  11. Seems have many interesting things around Hawes!
    Very nice trip with great description!

  12. an article very pleasant with the nice pictures ! the first is very impressive !...

    Bye J !!

  13. I am back in Romania!
    In Austria it was cold...rain...
    Here in Romania , in Bucharest, today was a big strike!
    Everything is ok now!
    Thank you for your woderful trip!
    Again, interesting post!

  14. Already following this beautiful blog!

  15. Jenny Freckles... It's quite a while since I've been here too. It's quite a difficult place to get to in a day and back. The rain made the first shot worthwhile.... if not much else !!

    Cranberry morning... Thanks, I thought you might have been here but couldn't remember. It was a great possibility that the ropemakers could not have survived due to the location of the town and the demand for rope at that time. The James Herriot books were thought to have saved the industry as it brought a new breed of tourists into the area who wanted either souvenirs or just ordinary purchases from a day out. If people needed rope, it was good quality and a great variety of uses.
    Unfortunately there was no time to visit the creamery. The last time I was here I remember being in a tight squeeze when visiting the factory shop as we were carried around the room !! I had to rotate around the room again nearer the counter for the free samples of cheese... Bus trips.. bah !!

    Farmchick... Always a pleasure bringing places like this to the attention of those who like to see what it's all about. Pleased you liked it, thanks.

    Sweet Virginia Breeze... Thanks for your nice comments, the first picture was a gift as I was passing. Nice to hear that you have read the James Herriot books.

    Adrian... Thanks for your comments. It's funny because I always try and see what postcards are available but it was difficult walking in a town with three blokes. Apart from a brief box of biscuits moment, no-one wanted to do any shopping !! I was the one dragging my feet taking the middle section of pictures in this post and ending up in a bookshop for an ordnance survey map and a mountain book of Yorkshire..... while the others waited in the car !!

    Lily Riani... Hi, If you feel like visiting, feel free.. but I'm not forcing it on anyone, I am just hoping that it is made real for you. I suppose I am passing on a subliminal message that there are more unusual places in the UK that require attention even if it is just looking in here.

    Inverness Daily photo... I was thinking about getting wet later, but the rest of the group expected me to take the lead...they must think I'm a hardened walker or something !!

  16. Z Joya... Thanks for your visit, hoped you liked it.

    George the Lad... Thanks for returning the visit and joining up, I've bookmarked you for the moment. Likewise when I get time, I will investigate your pages further. You may find some friends on here !!.... check the labels for details.

    H... I am becoming a little attached to Yorkshire this year somehow. It seems to have happened in a variety of ways . Pleased you are interested what you see here. Capernwray..Yes

    Rafael Lam... Always great to see you whether on your page or over here on mine. Our travel pages are very different but we both seem to enjoy each others

    Mahon... Thanks for your comments Mahon. Your patience with my blog will be rewarded with the post coming soon when I manage to STOP and you will see what is inside my photographic eye !!

    Wind... I know I've already replied to most of this on your page but I hope I didn't set the mood for your Austrian trip with al this water and coldness. As I said above to Mahon, my photographic eye is in action soon. Thanks for your patience with me in my "all round" blog. I am trying to be more thoughtful in my choice of photograph in this difficult concept I have set myself.

    Phivos Nicolaides... Thanks for following and your comments. I can't recall yet if I'm officially following you or not yet but I have bookmarked you and will look up more of your old pages this week when I get time.


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