Monday, 23 June 2014

A Bus ride and Waterfall walk, Hawes, Wensleydale

Now that I have finished my trio of Welsh posts, I'd like to follow that up with a group of three individual posts. As with the last series, the reasons will become obvious by the third post.

I have been loosely associated with a West Yorkshire social and walking group for some time, My friend, known to you as the Scarborough Sandcastle manager has a similar friendship to the people in the group. The Leeds link asked him to organise a Yorkshire Dales day event and this is the ... err ... timing challenges that he came up with. Apologies for the ordinary bunch of images but due to the snapshots, constant catch up and exhaustion of the day ... I'm putting a bit more effort here into the autobiographical writing style on this occasion, hope the variety holds it.

At the start of the day, I had my unfounded doubts on some unknown variables such as how many people would turn out for an early start so far from their usual stamping ground and was the day too ambitious ?

We descended with our cars in Leyburn and caught up with old friends before the vintage bus arrived from Ripon in mid morning. Thankfully there were enough seats for everyone.

It was a pleasant journey along some less well known roads through Wensleydale  from Leyburn in the East to Hawes in the west.

For those interested in the route here's a link for the current ...  Vintage Dales bus timetable

Not the most vintage bus in the fleet but reliable nonetheless !
Essentially the bus covered the tourist hot spots along the way such as Castle Bolton, Aysgarth Falls and a connection point with the Wensleydale Railway car park at Redmire (above). A suitable photo opportunity and a quick stretch of the legs while we waited for the arrival of the train from Leeming Bar.

On arrival at the Hawes Railway station car park, it was somewhat surprising to be greeted with the above scene considering that the railway currently terminates at Redmire.

Transport of the past going to places in the future !
On closer inspection, it turned out that this was a static exhibit realising the dream for the public of the hopefully not too distant future... I was left wondering whether in turn that would retire the vintage bus service for good.

The narrowest but longest shop award ... in my opinion
Readers may remember that I've been here before in an autumn deluge of rain ... (Hawes 2010)  and covered a few shots and history of the town including the rope makers. The weather was that bad on that day that I chose not to photograph the front door of the unusual Ropemaker's shop. Hope this redresses the balance.

Enough of transport and history, it was time to stock up on some packed lunch as there was no time to shop in Leyburn. We were inspired to pick up some local delicacies in this Butcher / Baker's shop.

Unfortunately though not everyone was welcome in the shop despite the longing eyes wondering what the contents of the paper bags were.

My friend and organiser for the day is known for his walks and to be fair the next leg of the journey was only a flat 4 miles (6.4km) round trip on flat terrain to a waterfall. The group of 9 people that turned out from the Yorkshire social group (plus myself, the organiser and another friend) had experience in walking and those that were just interested in tourism seemed to stay away.

Despite the short distance, there was always the thought in the back of my head about what time the bus departed at and whether or not this short distance was achievable or not. The scenery was quite pleasant anyway crossing over the fields.

It wasn't long though before we arrived at the toll point of The Green Dragon Inn.

13th century Inn

The land to the rear of the pub which includes Hardraw Force is maintained by the owners of The Green Dragon Inn. A quick look at the website reveals that the fee has increased with inflation to the princely 2014 sum of £2.50.

Hardraw Force at the end of a short wooded ravine walk is reputed to be England's highest single drop waterfall. Visiting here on a school geography trip when I was about 14 years old, I remember walking behind the waterfall on a ledge. Sadly today with erosion, water spray, slippy rocks, Health and Safety, that is no longer possible or even inviting for that matter.

Time for lunch followed by a communal dessert sample of Yorkshire Curd Tart that one kind person bought in the shop earlier.

... and enough time to sample the delights of The Green Dragon before the walk back to Hawes.

We made good time and had about 30 minutes spare to have a quick look around before the bus departed. It was an opportunity to catch anything I missed or couldn't take because of the weather on the previous occasion. Come to think of it, I've never ever been here on my own before to look ... and wait ... for the best shots, it's always been a rush !

As I didn't have the time to lose myself in what I was doing I opted to retake the shepherd sculpture in the middle of the street.

 It is apt to mention at this point that the Tour de France cycle race has an opening leg in a foreign country and this year part of that is in Yorkshire. Le Tour passes through Hawes on July 5th 2014 en route to Swaledale at the northern end of the clockwise Dales circuit.

The bus journey back to Leyburn between 3 and 4pm seemed less memorable than the outward one partly because we were covering the same ground in reverse, but more importantly with the talking all done and the constant drone of the engine, most of us to nodded off for a snooze at various intervals.
However everyone had a rude awakening on the rickety approach turning off the main road and award winning reversing manoeuvre into Redmire Railway station car park.

One thing that kept me going was the thought of a pub meal at 6pm in Leyburn square. However little did I know what was in store for me next. Some of the girls fancied the freedom of a 1 hour shopping spree ... not something that readily comes to mind in Leyburn considering the flagship shop is an Ironmonger !!
The town wasn't conducive to photography as there were too many cars parked everywhere so I went with the alternative plan from my friend who doesn't give up easily on walking.

The Leyburn Shawl walk is one of the most subtlest inclines and is essentially an extension of a walk to the park where the visitor is constantly enticed to go a little further for a slightly better tree free view. I knew I had to do this option as I was the reins on this walk that looked like galloping away and missing the 6pm gastro appointment. I distinctly remember saying "We need to go back, it's 5 o'clock now" and "It's ten past five now" !! The downhill section in 50 minutes seemed more acceptable !!

We were met by the shoppers 3/4 of the way back in the park who didn't know what else to do, so thought they'd wait for us with the immediate view of Wensleydale to enjoy.

All in all it was a great day out, but we hardly had any slack in the timings to send a postcard ...

... and we could have done with the services afterwards of one of the Leyburn businesses...


  1. A nice walk here, J_on_tour! Interesting to hear about a private own waterfall!

    1. Many waterfalls and areas nearby can be maintained in "National Parks" or "Areas of outstanding Natural beauty". This example however is not unique in the UK as the owners of the land at Ingleton Waterfalls walk in Yorkshire and Swallow Falls in Wales do a similar thing.

  2. A great look round and you did well to cram so much into a day.
    I enjoy Hawes but it is a winter venue for me. It's good to see it in fine weather.

    1. Adrian ... A hectic but memorable day, there was always a risk of rain but stayed ok. Thankfully you'll be pleased to know that there weren't many people about for June. The same can't be said for next week with the Tour de France.

  3. I think that is my favorite part of Yorkshire and it was fun to visit it again this morning! Shopping would not appeal to me unless it involves a bookstore and I don't remember seeing any in Leyburn. Looks like that dog is trying to be a GSD. Lol. Thanks for the Yorkshire post. I always look forward to your posts and great photos.

    1. Cranberry Morning ... I had a feeling you would like this post. A soon as I saw the fire & the chair, I remembered your blog post and you gave me the inspiration to photograph it as well.

  4. Lovely tour, with great photos. The one of the dog is a peach. Did you know Kevin Costner is surprised in Hardaw Force in 'Robin Prince of Theives'? I bet they didn't have to pay £2.50. The Green Dragon always looks like a pub to linger far too long in...and has had some famous guests. I really enjoyed the write-up.

    1. Mike Biles ... thanks, it's been a while since I watched Robin Prince of Thieves. I suppose I'm more used to remembering it for Sycamore Gap on Hadrian's Wall. I usually try to put a bit of history into the post but as I had been to Hawes before on the blog, I felt like writing a different approach.

  5. A fabulous journey. I love your seqluene of photos.

    1. Thanks CherryPie, a day full of variety.

  6. Check out Cranberry Morning for July 11, J. :-)

    1. Thanks for the shout, I checked it out but have been a bit behind with everything this month. I'll visit the page again. I have got some extra pictures that I took that you can use, I've done 4 Durham posts so I just need time to write some text for you as a guest post or two.

  7. J, I thoroughly enjoyed the capturing of your trip in both pictures and words, you made me smile and think in many parts of your story. Thank you. :)

    1. Thanks Petra, pleased you enjoyed it. I felt the text needed something extra as the majority of these images were quick snaps ... playing catch up to the rest of the group.
      I particularly enjoyed the 30 minute wander with the few shots I took in that time frame.

  8. Wonderful trip! Thanks for showing me this beautiful side of the world that I will only see in this site (and on TV).

  9. My pleasure Rizalenio, glad you liked it. I suppose it's a cultural thing and I don't work for the tourist companies even though some of my friends think I do :-)
    Putting it simply, I go out for a day with friends, take some pictures and some joke that I spend too much time with the camera and not enough with them !!


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