First destination was Fountains Abbey and Water Garden. The ruins of a 12th century abbey spread across numerous acres on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. It must have been an impressive site in its day, as it is a pretty damned impressive ruin! Several large, man made lakes, cascades and pools form this Georgian water garden. A heart pumping climb toward the octagonal tower reveals a stunning and surprising view across the estate from Anne Boleyn’s seat (this had nothing to do with the queen of the same name…..the owner of the property had a headless statue erected here as a joke!)
While driving through the Yorkshire Dales, we meandered through numerous, quaint hamlets and villages, with many of the local homes built precariously close to the roads……no emergency stopping lanes here! Afternoon cream tea was spent at Pateley Bridge, recommended by Katherine Blatch-Hanlon, and was delightfully filling. Many more villages, narrow lane ways and roundabouts as we continued wending our way cross-country, much of the driving along the same route as the upcoming Tour de France. Initially we were confused by the random appearance of yellow bicycles and bunting in many of the villages, but it was when we saw a house decorated in the Red polka dots for the Tour’s best climber and that many roads were closed on the 5th of July, that it was obvious.
The Lake District was where we were to spend the night. Lake Windemere was the most prominent but there were so few roadside stops that it was extremely difficult to pull over for photo ops. Something that could seriously be considered here is roadside bays and signage for tourists that gives time to pull over. We have already had to drive past several places of interest because we have been in a flow of traffic and can’t safely enter. So, after a long driving day we were looking forward to a restful night at Highside B&B……….but do you think we could find it? After several trips up and back along the road it was supposed to be on we asked at the pub…… “Not sure”, tried the caravan park…….office closed, in the end we knocked on the window of another B&B to ask. They were visitors to the area, so had no idea, however the father had a Map book which included accommodation, and we eventually arrived…..to find no-one there. Phone calls were to no avail. What to do? Go to the pub for dinner and hope someone is there when we get back. Which they were……except they were other guests and not the landlord….again a hasty phone call ….and the sister arrived to show us to a delightful room. A delicious Full English breakfast in the morning and we were off again towards Hadrian’s Wall. it had been a looonnnngggggg day!