BOLTON CASTLE, NORTH YORKSHIRE.

Oh dear..boots stuck!

A little while ago I wrote about our trip to North Yorkshire back in September of last year. This is another glance at that most beautiful part of the world.

On one of our days out we decided to take a trip to Bolton Castle which is situated in Wensleydale. Now, many people would simply take the car there! However, there’s a great Heritage Railway serving both the local community and tourists in that area. So, we drove to Leeming Bar and then travelled the sixteen miles up Wensleydale by train. 

In 1954 this particular line lost its passenger service and by the early 1960s half of the route was also gone. The remainder survived up until 1992 by carrying limestone to the smelters in Teeside. Happily, it was reopened in 2003 to passengers and now stops at Bedale, Finghall Lane, Leyburn and Redmire.

When we set off in the morning it was definitely not the best of days. There was rain, a chill in the air and a sense that nothing much was going to change climatically in the near future. We went prepared with walking boots, waterproofs and umbrellas.

We also weren’t that sure about much beyond the train journey and so bought return tickets to the end of the line, Redmire. It is worth noting that weather in one area of The Yorkshire Dales is no indication of weather elsewhere in the area…even just over the hill it may be different. Optimism and a devil-may-care attitude are very useful on such jaunts.

The ticket inspector bid us farewell at Redmire. We were the only ones alighting! Everyone else simply stayed aboard for the return journey. He made a jolly remark about the wet, claggy conditions and told us lunch was very good at the pub in Redmire. Now, as it was only 11am we felt it rather premature to leap straight into a major eating event. 

A sign pointed us towards Bolton Castle and off we went….

We walked in drizzle through the fields and up towards the castle. The village was quiet and peaceful and at the far end was Bolton Castle. It was built by Sir Richard le Scrope, Lord Chancellor of King Richard II. The building was begun in 1379 and completed in 1399 and is one of the country’s best preserved medieval castles. Originally, it would have been one of the finest and most luxurious homes in the land. It is still in the private ownership of Lord Bolton, a direct descendant of the original Sir Richard le Scrope.

Over the years we have been to many castles and some are somehow more interesting, vibrant, even more approachable than others. This particular building we found fascinating and for me that was in part due to it not having been National Trusted!! Please do not misunderstand me, as without the NT many beautiful buildings would have deteriorated over the years. But there is something about the simplicity of its presentation to the public that I warmed to. Lots of information was scattered about and details printed about games and activities of that time were easily read. A great place to take a school party.

Many of the rooms still look wonderful.

We had a great time and stopped at the castle tearoom for coffee and cakes. It’s a splendid room and the food is made using local and homemade produce.

The rain did stop, although it remained overcast. But as we looked out on to Wensleydale there were breaks in the cloud and bright beams of light here and there.

Long ago when I began my training at Ripon Teachers College we were taken on a trip around some of the wonderful buildings in North Yorkshire. Bolton Castle was one of them but we were probably more interested in the local hostelries and paid little heed to the magnificent scenery we lived amongst. More interesting was the local beer! What can I say? 

Actually what I can say is that years later, as a mother, I dragged a rather unwilling Katie and friends around numerous buildings of note and yes we did always, absolutely always end up in The Shop, where buying a rubber and pencil sharpener from that esteemed establishment was the high point of the day! Ah well, our daughter has grown up and now organises outings to ‘interesting’ places with whoever accompanies her! We trained her well I feel!

Wensleydale, North Yorkshire.

Bolton Castle in the distance on a sunnier day!

And that is the end of this gentle stroll through a lovely area of the UK. I hope that for some of you who read this, and live in distant lands it has given you just a taste of a special corner of my country. Love and Blessings to you all, Gillx

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