Monday, July 29, 2013

Skipton Castle and the Yorkshire Dales

Burnsall, Yorkshire

We began our European adventure with a visit to western Yorkshire.  We went to York two years ago on our trip to England (and we love York) but this was our first visit to the Dales.  We attended a lovely family wedding near the village of Burnsall looking out over the Dales and thought a lot about N.'s beloved James Herriot tales, set in this general area.  We were overwhelmed by the warmth and friendliness of the west Yorkshire people we conversed with, as well as the stunning beauty of the landscape.  I wished we could have stayed and hiked for weeks!

One day we toured Skipton Castle, a very well-preserved medieval stronghold.  Parts of it date to the 14th century and other parts were added in the seventeenth century.  It was the site of a 3-year siege during the English Civil War!  The excellent self-guided tour was detailed and thorough and N. really loved it; he took charge and led Tim and me carefully through the whole structure.  He's long been a fan of Stephen Biesty's Castle cross-section book as well as David Macauley's Castle, so he was geeking out over all the features of the medieval fortress.  N. also appreciated the St. John's chapel at the castle site, which had been used as a stable since the Cromwell's forces subdued the castle after that long siege (this reminded us of Old St. Paul's Cathedral, which Cromwell also used as a horse stable during the Interregnum -- one of N.'s favorite St. Paul's facts).

(the chapel/stable)
As we were touring the castle, N. realized that it backed up against a steep precipice falling down to a creek below.  Out of one of the windows, we saw far below a walking path along the creek.  So after we finished exploring the castle, we wandered around till we found the entrance to Skipton Castle Woods and the path we'd seen from above.  We wandered the cool woods, circling around behind the castle and ending up back in the village.  It was a lovely walk.   


CMR said...

Very cool!! Looks beautiful!


Erica MomandKiddo said...

When I was in England I lived in Yorkshire and loved it there.