Our time in the “chocolate box” Cotswolds was done, but I was eager to keep exploring the English landscape. I hadn’t yet seen the moors that I had often read about and I hoped at our next stop that I would. We headed northbound to Matt’s last work place, Pateley Bridge. After that, we would have a week of vacation time just to explore in England! First, we headed to Harefield Hall.
I had found this mysteriously beautiful gem on TripAdvisor and was intrigued. This 15th century manor house had quite a history and was currently a B&B. I didn’t know until we arrived that it also had a reputation for ghostly activity. After checking in, we found out that we would be the only guests staying that night. It was such a large, fascinating building that I wondered if we would indeed hear any suspicious sounds! We had a lovely dinner served to us by our host, Elaine. Then she gave us a tour of some of the rooms. They were gorgeous! Here is the view from our room.
We settled in for the night and enjoyed a good night’s sleep. I didn’t hear any strange sounds. Of course, I was wearing earplugs so that might be explain it. The next day, Matt left to work and I wrote a blog entry. Even though I enjoyed editing photos and writing the blog, I was tired. Travel weary. Living 5 and a half weeks out of a suitcase made me feel a bit homeless. We washed clothing in the sink. I always wondered where our next meal would come from and if it would be safe for my diet. I spent lots of time sitting on a bed while writing. And I was beginning to feel slightly useless. Believe me, I’m NOT complaining! It was an amazing adventure and I was so glad to be part of it. But I was beginning to miss home. And work. I mean just plain old housework. I never thought I would say that. After being served my meals, being driven all over creation and not having to clean, I realized that I would never have been able to be royalty. I need work to do! It was truly an eye opener. And a thought that I try to remember every time I have too much to do. Work is a blessing! Finally, Matt was back from his day at work and I could stop reflecting and do more exploring.
Then we explored Fountains Abbey. Once a beautiful home and worship place for Cistercian monks beginning in 1132, this architectural masterpiece had been destroyed by King Henry VIII in 1539 when he ordered the dissolution of monasteries. We arrived just a couple hours before closing and wondered if we would be able to enjoy the abbey ruins and the garden before closing time. The woman behind the desk assured us that it was plenty of time, loaned us an umbrella and sent us into a downpour. The ruins were beautiful.
We then started the walk around the adjacent gardens. Soon, we found that the walk was going to be longer than anticipated. I worried about getting locked into the place. Would we be able to get our rental car out? Matt kept telling me not to worry. He didn’t remember there being a gate. And surely they wouldn’t lock us in. Even though it was cool and rainy, I broke a sweat as we walked fast to get back to the visitor center. And we didn’t make it in time. We were fifteen minutes late. Wouldn’t you know, there was a gate too! Matt had me stand by the unlocked gate as he returned the umbrella to the front door of the locked visitor center and retrieved our car. The only other being I saw was a pheasant who kept me company. As I stood by the gate waiting, I couldn’t help but smile at yet another silly situation we had gotten ourselves into. Maybe they didn’t lock that outer gate? But when we got back to Harefield Hall and told of our mishap, we were assured that we certainly could have been locked in. Whew!
Since first arriving in our room, we had noticed two pillars standing on the mountain across the valley. It looked like more ruins and something for us to explore. I searched on the internet and we hiked to Yorke’s Folly, one of the popular hikes in the Nidderdale area. These pillars were originally built in the 1800’s to look like ruins. Legend has it that Mr. Yorke provided this building project in a time when jobs were scarce and people needed work. Even though three pillars were built, only two remain as one was toppled by wind.
As we hiked up to the folly, I could believe that one had succumbed to the gusts. It was getting stormy. Finally, the rain came with strong winds and we were becoming soaked. We took shelter next to the folly and it helped!
Just as sudden as the storm had come, it passed. I was able to look over the valley and see Harefield Hall. That’s how I had come to take the photo at the top of this blog. Here it is in the distance.
I had finally found the moors. As I stood in the wind, looking over the landscape of spongy growth, I felt like Jane Eyre or one of the many heroines from George MacDonald novels. So many of them had roamed the lonely moors and I had always wondered what exactly that was, but now I knew.
Refreshed from the hike and the rain, we made our way back to Harefield Hall for a lovely meal by the fire. Our hosts, Mike and Elaine were thrilled to hear that we were now “On Holiday” and would be heading to the Lake District. Mike waxed eloquently about the Lake District and pointed out highlights of the area on a map.
As he brought out rice pudding that he had made special to fit my diet, he said, “As you cross the ferry in the Lake District, yell ‘Hello from Mike.'” And we were eager to do just that!
Or you may want to start at the beginning of our adventure – in Italy! Italy 1