The Yorkshire Dales are justly famous for their pleasant country drives and their gorgeous scenic views. We left the Newcastle area, where we had visited my niece and her lovely family and drove south, intent on hitting the Dales by noon. But we have always held that the journey is what makes the destination worth going to, and we were ready to discover whatever we could find on the way. We didn’t have to wait long, as very early in our journey we came across an antique car show in the little village we were driving through. We followed the MGs and Austin Healeys to a nearby park where things were just getting underway.
We saw very few ‘foreign’ cars: a Model T, circa 1905 and a few corvettes, looking Disneyesque and ridiculously over-styled beside their sleeker and leaner British cousins. A full range of MGs were there, a car that Pam and I are partial to, since an MGB was the first car we jointly owned back in the days when we were still courting. There was the odd Rolls Royce and a few Jaguars, lots of Minis and an old Vauxhall looking fabulous despite its age and the fact that it had never been reconditioned. There was even a steam powered tractor that chugged into the parking lot and briefly stole the show.
But the Dales were calling us, and we pushed on past ancient mills on streams that cut a path through the glens and fields, past curious cattle and sheep that dotted the hillside between the stone walls, down circuitous little lanes through villages like Swinithwaite and Aysgarth. We stopped for tea in Richmond, only to discover a charming little market square where a skirl of bagpipes serenaded the Sunday shoppers while others explored the nearby castle. We settled for a taster’s sip of local ginger wine, and thought it quite the nicest dessert liquor we had ever tasted.
Finally after a few close calls with oncoming traffic in roads really only wide enough for one vehicle, and a few wrong turns that led to sheep pens and not much else, we arrived at our destination: the little village of Kettlewell. Pam, in her usual thorough investigation of accommodation while we are travelling, found Pennycroft, a little B&B which we have entirely to ourselves, including a view of the main intersection of this tiny village, and a delightful English country garden out back. To bring an end to a wonderful day, we enjoyed the Sunday roast beef dinner, with roast and boiled potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, garden peas, squash and gravy, and most appropriately Yorkshire pudding, as light and fluffy as the lovely croissants we had for breakfast.
We hope you had a lovely day where you are, and sorry that you can’t be here. But if you ever get the chance to come to England, you simply must get to the Yorkshire Dales. We could recommend a nice B&B, and have a pub in mind that serves the nicest Sunday meals. But be forewarned, places like this can make you think about settling down in the middle of England when you retire!