Dales and beyond holiday 2002

6th to 13th July

With modern fast roads available for much of the journey we'd done a mile a minute 50 minutes after starting out on the M62. The roads through Halifax and Hebden bridge were much slower but interesting. Going to just beyond the southern edge of the Dales from New Holland meant a good visit was possible on the route. Thus we went to Haworth. Adrian and mum have been there before but some years ago, and Adrian has been twice before.
In the past Adrian has made comments about Haworth with its "Bronte Biscuits" shops - in other words, any excuse to add the word Bronte will do (there isn't a Bronte Biscuits). Elena equally came to the opinion that there is nothing there in this village other than its steep hill and shops. Mum found the hill difficult to walk up, but did it, though I moved the car from a road side one hour only spot to a high car park so that she did not have to walk down again. The Parsonage Museum cost £4.80 each to go in, so we did not. And having seen the street, the graveyard, looked inside the church and the field beyond, and bought little in the shop, we moved on.
We were not expecting good weather for the holiday; but in the event it was warm enough and sunny when other places had rain, and we dodged the rain most of the time.
The accommodation was in a "croft", so called, in a converted barn, but there were three places designed in where two would have been enough. The accommodation was close to the main A56 meaning a lot of traffic noise. Although it was a thirty mile an hour zone this was ignored, and was a route to Skipton to and from the M65. We also had a near neighbour higher up whose music was too loud and so I asked him to turn it down. He was redecorating the terraced cottage there and later it sounded a little like being on the Costa Brava with a hotel under construction nearby. The accommodation lacked double glazing which meant noise from the road and neighbour did come in. Then there was sound within the accommodation. The upstairs was like a box that did not extend to the front of the building but ended at a beam across the living room ceiling; thus the front single beds bedroom was much shorter than might have been. With some slight gaps in the wooden wall and where it met the wooden and stone beam, sound from the TV and people went straight up and into that bedroom. But more than this, the toilet to the side of the corner turning staircase was like a wooden sound box. Thus every bathroom noise was heard in detail by those downstairs. Any activity in the bedrooms was easily heard in the rooms downstairs. After all it was just a ceiling of wooden joists and then wooden planks on top across them dividing the two levels.
Also, being in something of a hollow, the accommodation was cool even when warm outside, as it did not get the sun; however, put the heater on and whilst the downstairs hardly changed the upstairs became a trap and too warm. The skylight window of the reduced bedroom would not open, and the blind was usable but damaged in respect of the winding cord. The good part was the accommodation was clean and well serviced with well more than the minimum expected for self-catering and a friendly accessible owner. There were, we think, five places self-catering and one bed and breakfast, there. On balance there are perhaps more country places, but it was worth staying in, and is a convenient location if noisy in the mornings and daytime.
In the evening Elena and Adrian went hunting for a shop, perhaps a takeaway in the village. Thornton-in-Craven has an old Post Office, but it was not a Post Office, and there was no shop. We heard the sound of church bells, which turned out to be outside the village itself. The village is one main road and a junction for one of the better surfaced roads in the immediate area going to Barnoldswick, as they do. Even the A56, a trunk route, ends up with a dreadful road surface. These border Lancashire (Thornton is in Yorkshire) roads are all pretty awful.
The result of seeing the bellringers and thus inside the church, and getting details, was that Adrian got up early on Sunday and went to the service, as did the owner of the accommodation. Adrian walked as it seemed a more religious thing to do. The Anglican parish church turned out to be Forward in Faith aligned, with alternative episcopal oversight, and the experience of the service before a confirmation was something of experiencing a fantasy world. Anonymity was used to take communion after many years, to try it out for effect, but given the fantasy level of the place it was hard going. Repeated references to the Middle Ages just reminded Adrian that half of this stuff is Victorian and the rest more recent internal Anglican politics. The presence of a woman at the altar table with a man, also having her back to the congregation, was perhaps post-ordination of women, but she was a Deacon rather than a full priest.
After this we and breakfast we all did some emergency shopping at Morrisons, having forgotten or left behind too many basic provisions and thus not having tea, coffee or cocoa the previous night, except for one cachet Elena had still got from Russia!
Then came Malham, which Adrian first visited in 1976 on an A level geography trip, and had visited twice more with mum. The first time we had walked 14 miles with Jenny the dog. The second time mum could not get up a second slope to Gordale Scar. This time mum did well so far on the road to Malham Cove but we did not realise that there was little further to go, and her walking back, while Elena and Adrian continued, wasn't quite necessary. Adrian and Elena walked all the way to it but did not stay long. Adrian touched the wall of what looks like a defunct waterfall that lost its water and now comes out of the bottom. Elena did too. Anyway the escarpment is part of the Middle Craven fault, where the dry surface Great Scar limestone above and to the north meets Reef limestone and Bowland shale to the south. The cove is the erosian backwards from the fault to the north, the land to the south erasing more quickly.

The result of going to the ex-waterfall was to realise that all journeys would have to have a car element. So Adrian walked ahead of Elena to get back to mum who had not been there very long and had been in the shop too. Elena came up soon after. Then we went by car to Malham Tarn, which meant being able to show mum the Cove on the way. At the Tarn, needing a direction from someone to see what was already visible to one side, there was a little to eat and Elena with Adrian went to its edge.
After this we discovered there was no way to drive to the nature centre end of the Tarn (the road is cut off) and ended up returning to the village after joining the Gordale Scar road. Back to the same car park we went (the day ticket, we reckoned, was paid for once and once was enough). Then we drove up the Gordale Scar road and parked first from the entrance and then closer (interrupting mum's first drawing) to get a better view of the scar. Elena and Adrian walked to it. Not having a map, Janet's Foss was missed which is along that road. The road itself also turned into a dead end becoming a private lane and so it was back to the village. Our exit from Malham was via the Cove road and then on to Settle over the top of the hill, via some scary passes of other vehicles on slopes. The temperature gauge of the car kept shooting up.
Adrian subscribes to the view that trunk routes should be able to cope with the traffic or at least provide relief from slow vehicles. It is possible, on and off the line of the A65, to build a decent dual carriageway to the Lakes. The M65 should link to it, and it to the M62 at Leeds/ Bradford. The dreary ride from after Settle in a convoy of vehicles up and down and side to side is enough to put anyone to sleep. Measures to keep alert include creating more looks in the mirror and around. It is not (quite) tiredness, as that drab feeling instantly went when on the Broughton road from Gargrave. Of course there was fatigue about which Elena felt too but the road simply brings it on.
On Monday we had a message from our neighbour that someone had indeed damaged the outer fence. When back home we discovered some of the chain had been stolen and one post driven over and cracked and its post top seriously dented. The fence was re-established and refurbished with additional deterence.
This was the day Adrian discovered that he had packed no shirts and did consider going home then to bring some. instead it needed another emergency shop, this time into Skipton, when mum also needed to top up her rapidly diminishing money (due to a late pre-holiday car bill). Adrian bought a shirt, and so did mum (from the same place quite separately), both of which fitted well. Adrian also got more film as it was being used very quickly. Nevertheless there was an error in where to meet up, and Adrian realised this when seeing both mum and Elena waiting at a car park in the town right across from the road back to Morrisons where he was. They were collected half an hour late for the short ride to Bolton Abbey (or is it Bolton Priory properly?).
Bolton Abbey was another example of a suprisingly warm and sunny day that, despite wind and cloud, did not become rain. Mum actually did some painting as well as drawing, sitting in one place for a long time. Adrian and Elena moved around the abbey and river, sometimes alone. One time together we were inside sat on a pew and listening to taped plainchant, though Adrian listens to tinnitus in that kind of quiet. Wind and the ordinary outdoors is a benefit, but causes Elena ear tube problems, and did later on in the priory site.
The booklet at the back of the priory church is worth buying, which we did, but it also tries to sell the faith. It has a rewritten credo at the back which, taken at face value, seems of another history of the universe. One sees this approach often in these leaflets which say, "This is not a relic but living now." Bolton Priory is a continuing regular church, unlike Fountains Abbey, for example.
None of us crossed the stepping stones; in fact, only Adrian went over the bridge. Having visited this area, we received advice as to the next area. We could either go to the central car park and walk the flatter longer route to The Strid, or go to the northern car park and walk the shorter hillier route. We chose the closer northern car park, fully able to use the same £4 parking ticket. Mum walked so far to a high viewpoint and could draw, from where Adrian and Elena descended to see the rushing water of The Strid. It says the Strid has claimed lives, and we took our photographs but two returned from it.
The photographic total was approaching 11 reels throughout the whole holiday. Elena's camera was dodgy, winding on sometimes quite a few seconds after a picture was taken (we think) and towards the end of the holiday Adrian's camera wound on to leave light hitting the film (could not see through the single reflex) to become correct later, but finally the camera packed in altogether on the last full day - it having been purchased only in April 2002.
After the Strid we drove by the ruins further north and then over the hill on a narrow road with views all around back Skipton way.
With rain falling on Tuesday the possibility of bringing forward the trip to Blackpool for Elena and me was off. What improves with rain? A trip down a cave. Now White Scar Cave is the easiest to reach of the two main caves, the other one being at Ingleborough but an advertised thirty minute walk from parking the car. Around the other side of the hill, but next to a B road, is White Scar Cave. This was better for mum. However, when the man saw mum walk towards the entry point, he advised her not to go in. There were many steps up, he told her. So mum did some sketching while Elena and Adrian spent an hour and twenty minutes underground. What the man did not say was that someone six foot five and prone to getting a bad back should not go down either. Ingleborough specifically advertises itself as suitable for pushchairs and people of all ages, though one cannot get to it so easily. This one did not claim that anyone can go down, which is because not everyone can. Elena was all right; it was possibly Adrian's last visit down a cave system!
The way in goes down a cut out route because the way in for discoverers used to be by crawling on their stomachs, just a bit less than Adrian had to do in parts. There is a dummy on its front where the original way in joins the main way in. The 1920s tunnel leads to the first waterfall where water joins the route and to the aptly named Gorilla Walk. On metal grids with water underneath the route passes the trailing witches fingers and then the Judge's Head which is so tiny. All that fuss over that. After the Grotto is the end of the tour from 1925 to 1990. There is a squeeze to get through. Elena and I managed it. Names are applied to water and limestone caused features along the way like Crown of Thorns, Devils Tongue, and Arum Lilley, or they can just be seen as continuous types of features in such a system. Past the Gower Pools there comes a very low passage through, allowing the previous one to be called "child's play" by the guide, leading to a remarkable feature - a double glazed door. Adrian, who had come to this feature in front of all the other visitors, in order to be able to stand up straight, while they looked into a cave round the corner, was able to comment to the waiting guide on just how unique this was. Adrian said, "I bet this is where the idea for double glazed doors comes from."

White Scar Cave

The door opened to a set of steps, the only difficult part mum had been warned about, when it was not all difficult. In fact they were quite ordinary with enough headroom. This Bagshawe tunnel leads up into the only really large cavern in White Scar called the Battlefield Cavern, because its discoverers thought it resembled this. The cavern comes from glacial times and shows much collapse. The visitors stand on a high platform. The water runs on below and disappears into the continuing system. The guide turns the lights off and relies on ultra violet light to reveal the thin stalagtites, as well as showing the witch and the cat. Adrian "got" the witch but not the cat, but Elena said its paws were up. Probably when the lights are off someone gets murdered, but there was no scream. What they didn't use, or seem to, was coloured lights as Adrian vaguely remembers in the Stump Cross Caverns in the Peak District.
Now if you have had enough, it is hard luck because the only way out is the same way in. Adrian wanted an elevator straight up. We were three hundred feet underground at this point.
Being at the back when returning and not trying to keep up so desperately, we took better photographs and in some ways there was more to see. We caught up the group on the faster bits.
The effort was so long and so intense that when Adrian emerged he was soaked through with sweat. It was through his hair and had come from his body even through his coat. It was a unique sight. Three cups of tea were downed instantly in the cafe and the unused milk. So the cave he recommends only for people below six foot.
There was another consequence too. Having walked in Windermere later in the day for some time, Adrian's back gave way with great pain. From then on all walking had to be done with great care. This complaint first happened with this intensity in Bonskeid days when once helping mum quite physically up a hill.
The trip to Windermere was unannounced and was at least to get to the Lake District which Elena had wanted to see. The weather was now very good again. First of all we parked too far into the town, limited to a ridiculous half an hour, but it was useful for some small but expensive food supplies. Then we moved down to the lakeside, where parking was far out and expensive, but where with a slight delay or round trip on street parking for two hours was available. Elena did not think boat trips went far enough but was interested in what they did. We ended up having a pub meal nearby, just after Adrian's back went, which seemed to be mysterious white fish impersonating cod in a breaded coating, but the fish was quite thin.
We left Windermere by the back door, so to speak, and failing to connect with any of the routes cutting across to the A591 ended up going the length of the lake and then going across to the main dual carriageway out. The route back deliberately avoided the dreary A65 by going down the M6 and across on the M65, into Colne and to Thornton on the A56.
Now this was a misleading run, because in the evening the run into Colne was without trouble, except for Adrian missing the badly signposted (well everywhere is badly signposted) almost uneventful crossroads where the A56 comes to Colne. It was a case of turning round and going back, when no one else thought the junction had even been missed.
The warning signs were there - roadworks - but even without added disruption it should have been obvious that daytime traffic cannot cope with this motorway unloading into a town like this.
The next day Elena and Adrian alone were going to Blackpool, because Elena wanted to go to the beach. Unfortunately, we ended up in an horrendous queue going into the town. There was some relief by leaving it early in the wrong direction and going around the back of Colne, only to enter lesser queues later. Then we saw coming into Colne the other way a huge line of traffic stretching down to where the M65 ends. It had taken twenty five minutes just to get through the few streets which in the evening before took some three or four minutes.
When the M65 finished the other end, there were signs for M61 and M6. Now we wanted M6 for M55, so naturally we followed the M6 signs. This dumped us on to some A road with traffic lights and previously a roundabout. It was unclear on that roundabout whether to follow a sign to go back the way we came in order to go forward. This didn't seem right and thus we ended up in queues. Yet it would have been far simpler, looking back at it when retuning, to have joined the M61 which then joins the M6. The signing was atrocious; both ends of the M65 are a joke. The M65 looks like an unfinished job both ends.
We parked at Cleveleys with the idea of it being easy to park there and getting a tram to Blackpool. To our surprise the tramlines were right where we turned to park and nearby was Lidl, which we shop at a lot at home. So we took the very slow tram as far as the Pleasure Beach. Elena was surprised to find that there was no beach at Pleasure Beach, and so we went in to the entertainment park. Adrian went on nothing and Elena on one moderate ride which, she said, still left her stomach in her throat. That three minute ride cost £3. For Adrian, the tram was more exciting and lasted a lot longer. Photographic opportunities were all around in this plastic and fantasy world, where hyperreality was in full flow.
After leaving this pointless place we went on the beach walking to the southern most two piers. Elena (with costume ready to put on) tested the far out sea and found it dirty with mixed in soily sand. Adrian asked her, "How many people are swimming in the sea?" None.
Adrian, meanwhile, seeing something similar, decided to use a pen to write in the sand 'Elena loves (with a heart and arrow) Adrian', to add to the photographic record. Adrian, however, could see ahead the possibility of walking around the central pier, but Elena found the wind and moisture in the warm air affecting her and making her cold and damp. She headed for the promendade while Adrian hoped to walk around the pier. He could not because it was illusory - the last posts of the pier were in the sea. But there were interesting photographs to be taken. He came round the other northern side, and could not find Elena. She could not find him. He went on to the pier. She stayed south of that central pier. Eventually she walked north from her position while Adrian wondered about taking a tram north. They met near the Lost Children post. Adrian had wondered about asking them if they had seen a 35 year old six foot tall one, and Elena thought of asking if they'd seen a 43 year old six foot six tall one.
Back we went to Cleveleys and shopping before coming away by car and joining more queues. The road out was slow and so was the road in then. Eventually we were on to the motorways M55, M6, easily on to the M61 and M65, and decided to come away before Colne, that nightmare of queues. Unfortunately Adrian came away too early and ended up in an industrial estate with no way out. So we returned and came off at the next junction. It meant, however, going down one of the roads the Barnoldswick improvers forgot, twisting and narrow, from where Adrian lost, for a time, the town centre location of the Chinese takeway used once before to give all thre of us a meal.
That night, Adrian filled in a boring job application form, which never seem to go away.
The next day we went to Aysgarth, going via a brief stop in Skipton for film. Somehow on a B road that's more or less direct Adrian managed to turn several wrong corners. In one village he went wrong three times. It was at Aysgarth that the camera was to become faulty. Mum and I have been before, but the approach was different this time, coming first to the Upper Falls from a high car park overlooking the church. We walked to a National Trust centre, and ever on to see the Middle falls which mum and Adrian recognised and then a walk in the woods to the Lower Falls which we did not recognise. When another new film went in at the Lower Falls, the faults with the camera started. The film was even reloaded, but the errors only stopped for short periods.
Having returned through the wood and meadow, Adrian went off alone to pass the Upper Falls again and climb the steep one in four hill to get the car and pick up mum and Elena. Time was moving on but Adrian was determined to get to Dent, which we still did even with an hour in Hawes that mum wanted.
Dent is in Dentdale, rather on its own. To get to it means going on a narrow road. I missed the road to it, but realised this again, and went back. It is the road signposted only to Garsdale Station, and the road continued on straight up a steep hill and then down the other side. We were going to see the viewpoint of paintings mum and Adrian had only been doing the week before, as shown in The Dalesman magazine. As it happened, there was no way to that viewpoint from the middle of a field.
The paintings do not show that Dent itself is slightly raised up. It is a combination of narrow cobbled streets and difficulty getting one car past another. From the car park mum and Adrian looked around for that view as well as different views. The camera behaved itself well enough for that period of time. Once we'd been around, and it was getting late, we had to leave via the swiftest route, which Elena decided was via Barbon, becoming a long valley out that got us eventually to the A65, and more dreary traffic.
The final full day was to take mum to the coast via a different direction so far - one of the advantages of staying in a transitional area of the regions and counties. We travelled through the Forest of Bowland, which surprised Elena to have no forest, rather like Blackpool Pleasure Beach has no beach. The Trough of Bowland was particularly attractive. The camera fault returned as we got to the highpoint with views over Lancaster, to be fatal as the camera refused to wind on or wind in new film.
This meant relying on Elena's own dodgy camera, which did its stuff as we stood around Eric Morecambe 's statue in the place whose name he used. The problem was getting there. On entering Lancaster there was a one way system, where traffic lights allowed two merging streams to join at once. The sign said right for Morecambe, but then there was no further direction so having done it Adrian carried straight on. Very rapidly and surreally the city centre turned into countryside, and a sign said Lancaster E.T.W.. Adrian said it meant Lancaster End of the World, which caused Elena to laugh, but it will mean this as the road came to an end.
So it meant going all the way back, and advice from a local was to turn left into the one way system again and keep in the left lane. Thus we got to Morecambe, which is best seen with one's back to it. You look across to the Lake District. No wonder Eric Morecambe's statue has him wearing binoculars, although he faces into the town.
The problem then was how to get out. The road south to the M6 was clogged up with huge queues, so bad that we diverted to Asda, and after a visit turned around. The woman in the checkout told me about Carnforth station, which seemed a good place to go on that northern way out. There were hellish queues to get there. I told mum several times that I only wanted a "Brief Encounter" but she did not twig, and only did so when I asked her to get out and showed the plaque and the large platform clock. Carnforth was the fictional Milford railway station. However, the station now is ruined by railings because it no longer serves north-south mainline services. The buffet where the film was in part set also needs doing up (and might be).
Finally we could go south on the M6 and I hoped to return through Pendle country. Unfortunately, missed turnings became geographical incompetence (as well as queues straight off the M55 for a B road) because going through Clitheroe is not Pendle country. The road was twisty and boring with some views at times. All we could say was that we had passed through three comedy places - Eric Sykes, Eric Morecambe and Jimmy Clitheroe.
So it was important for Adrian to go through Pendle country on the way home. Unfortunately the incompetence continued as if we were cursed by witches. The narrow road from Barnoldswick was correct, but it needed a trip over the A682 on to those small roads beyond to get to Newchurch, not down this main road. No amount of planning can overcome incompetence. Eventually down south instinct led to a right turn from a main road and only then at the next junction did a sign for Newchurch appear.
Newchurch church is supposed to have the eye of God on it, to ward of witchcraft. Adrian did not see it despite looking, and he and Elena went in the church seeing its low candelabra. Mum was sitting talking to walkers on a village seat. Then Adrian went into the Witchcraft shop, once pictures were taken of us in front of the witches put outside. They are probably dead. Surprisingly for an astrologer Elena did not go in it. Adrian bought a crone witch.
Then it was time to go home, and we ended up on the M65 via some circuitous route. Elena told Adrian to continue on, which instinct said was wrong, which then required going in the opposite direction from the A56 to get to the Todmorden road. Though it was interesting the way we did go, it might have been quicker and less strain on the legs to have stayed on the A56 south and gone up the M62. The road to and through Halifax was very slow and long, and the journey continued without pause through Huddersfield (where Adrian went wrong again) to get to the National Coal Mining Museum, where they use a logo that looks like the old NCB.
National Coal Mining Museum logoThis is a tragic place which Adrian saw the most of, because it should be a coal mine and not a museum. The backdrop was also the coming announcement of the closure of the Selby Coalfield, which they said in the 1970s would have three hundred years worth of coal to mine. We did not go down the mineshaft, which would have meant an hour below, and probably another bad back.
So we left, to miss the quicker way to the M1, as it was not signposted from the A642 (but it was that road immediately after going underneath), and ended up going through Wakefield for the A655. This led to the most complicated traffic lights junction to get to the M62, made more complex by another error. Adrian did not go wrong getting into New Holland.


Adrian Worsfold