Saturday, May 23, 2015

Over Hill and Dale. . .Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!

Continuing with our literary theme, and on a recommendation, we spent what turned out to be a gorgeous day in the Yorkshire Dales (long, broad valley). This is where James Herriott lived and worked as a country vet, and also the place where his series, "All Creatures Great and Small" was filmed.

Unfortunately, since I was driving, I couldn't stop at the exact moment I saw an incredible 'picture perfect' moment. But, I did get a few, which I hope gives you a feel for the landscape.

We literally went up a hill, and down a hill, all the while twisting and turning. Olivia became motion sick because of it!

Each little town was unique in its 'situation' which added to the charm of the journey.

But, it was truly pastoral. A restful relaxing scenery, if not ride. More about the ride, later.

On our way into the National Park, we ran across a traffic jam. So confusing, because we were on a country road. But, within ten minutes we discovered the reason why:

Gypsy Caravans! Yes, even in England. . .

I thought this to be rather oxymoronic . . .

We visited Asgarth Falls, where a scene from "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves" was filmed. And then we headed for home. Well, the farmhouse. By the way, this is what met my eyes when I looked out the window this morning:

And this, from our bathroom window:

So, here is the rest of the story. Although the trip sounded idyllic (and the scenery WAS), the drive was a challenge. Definitely not for the timid. Let me try to paint a picture of what it was like to drive this Vauxhall around the Hills and Dale. By the way, we paid the same for six gallons of petrol as I would have for an entire tank full for our van back home!

Imagine it's only your second day of driving on that unfamiliar left hand side of the road (although you've picked it up fairly quickly, and up to this point, have not accidentally tried to get into the passenger seat of the car.) 

So, most of the roads in the Yorkshire Dales are at best, one and a half cars wide. On either side (and usually on both), you have a stone wall, with uneven parts jutting out into the lane. Now, imagine that lane not only narrow, but winding. And not only winding, but, in the upper dales, it rises and falls. 

So, as you are driving (at speeds of between 25 and 40 MPH) up the winding road, you have no idea if there is a car at the top on its way down to greet you. And you can't guarantee the car will be fully on his side of the road when he comes over the hill. At some places, there may be no place to pull over, so you take a deep breath and go for it, always being ready to step on the brake to slow down.

Now, add into the mix parked cars in this narrow road on your side. Your mission is to quickly get around them by driving in the opposite lane, hoping you will reach the end before you are hit head on.

And, if that isn't enough excitement, throw a few sheep on the road, who refuse to move unless you honk at them. Most of the time, you go around.

Okay, so you are on a steep winding road, sometimes with no place to pull off, at a speed of, let's say, 35MPH, and not only do you have sheep in your way, but you can't pull around in the other lane, because one of the literally hundreds of 'professonal' bikers are in your way. Add to that, the hikers in your lane, and the fact that everyone drives as if an Orc or Ring Wraith is chasing them, and hopefully you will understand why I've entitled this post a 'wild ride'.

I must say (and I don't often) that I am proud of myself for maneuvering around these obstacles and still maintaining proper speed and preserving the perfect finish of our rental car, as I pull carefully to the left to avoid scraping the mirror of car coming at me, or move right to prevent long deep gouges on the left side of my vehicle from the stone fences. The road has no give. It is truly that narrow. 

Honestly though, I believe it is because of your prayers. I felt comfortable in York city traffic, roundabouts (very complicated, even in the US) and unfamiliar routes from the get-go. Thank you. I am so grateful!

Tomorrow we head to Haworth, the center of Brontë country, where Anne (Tenent of Wildfell Hall), Emily (Wuthering Heights) and Charlotte (Jane Eyre) Brontë lived and wrote. We also hope to visit a Mill in Keighley which was a set for the made for TV series "North and South", another of our favorites.

Enjoy the flowers my friends!


  1. Sounds like you might get lots of story ideas from this trip!


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Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel