Monday, 24 July 2017

Markenfield Hall

Markenfield Hall is a place we have had on our bucket list for a while, but it is very much a family home and not often open to the public - and so far, it has never been open when we had the possibility to go there. But I have been following their blog (click here if you are interested in it) for a couple of years or so, and there is also a "proper" website (click for that one).

Anyway - this post contains pictures from Markenfield Hall, taken on July 17th. My sister and I intended to walk from Ripon to Ripley - it looks all very doable on the map, but proved much more difficult than anticipated. But although we did not manage to walk all the way (more about that later), we DID walk to Markenfield Hall and around it, as even when the house itself is not open to the public, one is allowed to walk around the moat.

But see for yourself. First of all, look at that wonderful blue sky! It was really warm (hot in Yorkshire terms) on that day, and we set off from Ripon via Whitecliff Lane past farms and fields, pastures and woods.

The same view as the one above, only zoomed in - Ripon Cathedral is never far away!

 First glimpse of Markenfield Hall:

Coming up past outbuildings and the drystone wall surrounding it:

Moat, gate house and car park. We were polite enough NOT to fall in the moat!

Now follow me on the path that leads around the moat:

Isn't this wonderful? You expect to stumble across Sleeping Beauty or some other fairytale character any moment (we didn't)! Next year, we are going to plan our Yorkshire Holiday so that we can catch an open day here.

Walking further on, the public footpath lead across a field of cows. It is an official path; walkers/ramblers are allowed to walk there. But on the gates to the field were warning notices, advising people to keep to the perimeter of the field and generally use caution, as the cows were with calves. Also, the notice said NOT to bring dogs onto the field. 
I don't mind a few cows at the other end of a large field, when I know I can walk across at a safe distance and all looks quiet. But I do take such warnings seriously, and when we did indeed dare to go through the cow-proof gate and walked slowly and quietly along the  perimeter, I felt uneasy. Then, some of the cows started looking our way, with one of them appearing particularly interested in us. I thought, better safe than sorry, and quickly climbed over the wire fence, from where I took the picture below. 
In all likelihood, nothing would have happened, but I did not want to risk anything.

There was no path this side of the fence, and we struggled for a rather long stretch of field amidst nettles, thorns and thistles at the outer rim of a field of wheat. It was very difficult walking, as the growth was so thick we could not really see where we were putting our feet. Emerging at the other end of that field, where the footpath across the cow pasture came out by another gate, we needed a break - taking a good ten minutes just to get off the worst of the prickly and sticky plant bits that had made their way into our shoes and socks.

From that point on, walking became a little easier. And all cows were - although still interested - on the other side of a fence.
Eventually, we found ourselves in Wormald Green - a small village/hamlet halfway between Ripon and Ripley, where we have come through many times on the bus to and from Harrogate. My sister's mobile phone had only just informed us that by now, we had been walking about 12 km (7,5 miles); we were sweaty, thirsty (we did have water with us, and something to eat) and still many plant bits clinging to our feet. Guess how we felt, then, coming across a road sign that said "Ripon 4 miles"...! It was about the most discouraging sight imaginable.

Therefore, we decided to have a nice cold drink at "The George" in Wormald Green and take the bus for the rest of the way to Ripley.
It was a very good decision, because we had our energy and spirits restored by the time we arrived in Ripley, ready to have once again (as in previous years) a walk around the pretty village and the castle grounds. That will be the subject of another post,

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Ripon Canal

We arrived back home here in Ludwigsburg Thursday evening; as the bells of the nearby church struck 6:00, I put the key in my front door. It had been a rather smooth trip of just under 9 hours from Ripon, with our buses, trains and planes being mostly right on time. Usually, I am not one for seeking the cheapest option, but Ryanair are the only ones to offer a direct flight from Stuttgart to Manchester (and back, of course) these days. Also, I must say the only negative thing I can say about them is their highly inefficient way of managing the whole bag drop-off process at the airport in Manchester: First, you have to use self-service machines to weigh, check in and tag your own bags, and of course you have to queue for them. Then, you have to queue AGAIN to - get this - have your bag weighed once more by a member of staff behind the counter, from where a conveyor takes it (the bag, not the member of staff) to the people who load the plane with all the luggage.
So, queuing twice for a task that you have already performed (and you as a passenger are already checkd in anyway, seeing as you've done it online already days ago) seems a really daft way of handling things. Why offer self-service if you still need members of staff?
Apart from that, I have no complaints about Ryanair; all staff I have met so far were friendly and knew what they were doing, the plane was clean, the seats comfortable enough for such a short flight with more leg room than what you get on, say, an average Airberlin or even Lufthansa flight.

Right - back to topic!
Our walk back from Bishop Monkton to Ripon was partly along the same route along the river Ure, but then instead of walking again through Littlethorpe, we stayed on the path that leads along the two miles of Ripon Canal and ends right in the city.

Come with me for more pictures of grassy paths, flowers on river banks and so on :-)

Crab apples, I think

Renton Bridge

Back in Ripon

Sorry - couldn't get a better perspective, as the road was very busy with cars at that time

The end of Ripon Canal

This had been another great day out, with better weather than it may look in some of the pictures. Bishop Monkton is definitely I place I can imagine returning to.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Bishop Monkton

The pictures of this post were all taken in Bishop Monkton last week Friday.

Several place names around here begin with "Bishop"; with Fountains Abbey, Ripon Cathedral and several other large abbeys (not to forget York minster) all within reasonable travel distance even in medieval times, this area was a centre of religious activity for centuries.

Bishop Monkton is a small village, very picturesque, with two pubs, a church, a school and - I am sure - a shop, although we did not come past one.

This is for John (Scriptor Senex)

Nice wheelie bin, huh?

We stopped at the Mason's Arms for a late lunch, which was excellent, and then had a good look around, went into the church and walked across the church yard before heading back to Ripon.

Leaving in 10 minutes for what is probably going to be a 9-hour-trip back home... But there are more posts about this year's Yorkshire Holiday to come!