Jo’s Monday walk : A walk through a Pub!


If there’s anything that really annoys me it’s leaving home in clear blue skies to drive to the Yorkshire Dales and encounter grey, dampness.  But if you’re in search of a waterfall then you can’t really begrudge a little rain.  And to visit Hardraw Force you have to pass through a pub, so you might say there are compensations.

I don’t know the village of Hawes at all but it is surrounded by magnificent, sweeping countryside, though visibility was poor on this particular day. 850 feet above sea level, it claims to be England’s highest, and has been home to a market since 1307.  Go on a Tuesday if you’re a market fan. The name Hawes means ‘a pass between mountains’, in this case endearingly-named Buttertubs and Fleet Moss.

I’m heading for Hardraw but, on Town Head, a sign for Gayle’s Mill strikes a chord with me.  In 2004 it was a finalist on the BBC TV ‘Restoration’ programme.  It was but a short diversion to take a look.

Unfortunately this was as close as I could get.  Gayle Mill is a working saw mill, and can only be visited by guided tour.  Even the craft shop was closed.  The Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre, a highly popular venue, is nearby and I gave it a wistful look.  I do love a good bit of cheese.

Water flows through the village and is harnessed by the mill, which dates from 1784.  In the 1900s it pioneered electricity generation and brought light to the valley.  Just then the sky was darkening rapidly and it seemed like a good time to move on.

You could retrace your steps down Gayle Lane, but a pretty little footpath offers an alternative route back to Town Foot.  And sheep!

Hardraw Force is clearly signed from the crossroads, so it was best foot forwards into a chilly breeze.  I told myself it was holding off the rain.

There’s often a wind off the water, isn’t there?  I turned left into the field and trod carefully till I reached the flagstones.

It’s not far till you pass through a gate and the pub is right there, in front of you.

The sign says ‘innkeeper and waterfall provider’.  That’s quite a claim, isn’t it?  At £2.50 a person, is it a little mercenary?  Let’s see if it delivers.

One of the best sounds for me is rushing water.  Rounding the corner from the Green Dragon Inn, I can already hear the tumult of the falls. England’s highest single drop waterfall sits in a great bowl of limestone, shale and sandstone.

Incredible to think that the process that produced this landscape began some 340 million years ago.  Alternating layers were laid down in the warm seas of those times, and through the rise and fall of the land and some glacial activity the Karst scenery developed.  At the back of the waterfall it’s possible to see the individual layers.

Did you wave back?  I did!  And then I crossed over the bridge and followed the path back along the opposite bank.  It was really busy in the Green Dragon Inn, so I didn’t linger, though it did look characterful.  I was surprised at how many people had ventured out on such a grey day, and can only surmise that this will be a seriously busy place in summer.  But the waterfall will be much diminished.

I just about made it back before the rain hit.  The waterfall will be thundering for a few days yet.

Hawes lies along the A684 from Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales.  The map on this link will give you a few clues.  Time to get the kettle on!

Thanks everybody for kindly accompanying me each week, come hail come shine (but hopefully no snow!).  It’s always a pleasure to have you along. I have some more great contributions this week. Please spare a little time to go visit, especially if they’re new to you.  Details, as usual, are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  I’d love you to join me with a walk of your own.


Lady Lee is always a few steps ahead of me!  Have you been to Dresden?

Dresden- Jo’s Monday walk

Jude has a delightful saunter in search of cake this week :

Sleaford Historic Riverside Walk

I prefer sunshine, but Shazza’s found something interesting even on a cloudy day :

Rydal Hall Sculpture Trail

I don’t think I’d do much walking in Amsterdam.  I’d hop a boat, like Woolly :

Jo’s-Monday-walk-2017-Amsterdam-wk 3

Jackie and glitz go together, don’t you think?

More Vegas Opulence

In pure contrast, I never saw snow look more beautiful!  Thanks so much, Drake!

Colourful snow

This week we have a Wild Daffodil joining us.  Sound like fun?  Do go and say hello!


Becky has laid on a lovely sunset for her wander round Olhao, because…

Everyone loves a sunset

And if you’ve never seen Lisbon before, Paula’s photo is a magnificent place to start :

Follow My Shadow

If you glory in wild and wonderful scenery, you will love this, from Jessica :

5.30 a.m 

And Inese shows us drama in Ireland, rain, shine and rainbow!

Magic road to the Mahon Falls

That’s it for another week.  It’s been a grey one here but I’m sure Spring is on its way.  Enjoy your life, won’t you, whatever the weather?

Jo’s Monday walk : Aira Force

Beautiful Aira Force

Beautiful Aira Force

You have no idea how delighted I was to be able to visit Aira Force!  The forecast wasn’t great and, as we approached the English Lake District, a swirl of damp cloaked the mountains.  But a waterfall’s no good without the water, is it?  And in Autumn, the canopy of leaves radiates!  Driving through a tunnel of flame and gold, the senses are filled with wonder.

I had planned to walk to the falls from the nearby village of Glenridding, our base for the evening, but the road south from Pooley Bridge bypassed them.  Carpe diem had never seemed so appropriate.  A pocket of opportunity, as the drizzle ceased momentarily.

The National Trust car park

The National Trust car park

The car park was not as deserted as I might have expected, though the picnic tables were definitely unoccupied.  There were just enough people to exchange smiles with, in a ‘good to be alive’ sort of way.  A celebration of our good fortune.

Those coins get everywhere!

Those coins get everywhere!

Treading carefully on the damp leaves underfoot, I could hear already the gurgle of water.  The stream chuckled merrily on its way to the lake.  Not far to go!  But for me, it was upwards by a series of steps, pausing often to admire my beautiful surroundings.

Onwards and upwards!

Onwards and upwards!

I was eager for my first sighting of the waterfall.  Suddenly, through the trees, I caught a glimpse of its magnificense.

It looked wonderful!

So alluring!

Just a little more bracken

But first a little more bracken

And a few steps

And a few more steps

Beneath the bridge

And we’ve reached the bridge

The sound of rushing water has reached a crescendo.  Steps lead down to the bridge and I cannot stop myself from descending.  I lean over and gaze in worshipful awe.  From beneath me, the falls tear away to join the calm of the lake.

The falls tear away to the lake from beneath me

Leaping joyfully down to Ullswater

Leaving the lower bridge behind, I head on up to the top of the falls, the water my constant companion.  That and the moss and leaves. It’s possible to continue up to Gowbarrow Fell and the trig point for views all along the lake, but on a murky day like this the visibility would be poor.  And I’m so loath to leave the water behind.

My constant companion

My constant companion

And always the water

Chirruping water

And my other companion

And my other companion

The air feels increasingly damp and we decide to retrace our steps and cross over the upper bridge.  The descent on the other side of the falls is down yet more steps, but they are well spaced, and not too slippy in stout shoes.

We can now look back at the full 65 foot height of the falls, which I found very difficult to photograph.  My little camera has its limits, and I most certainly do.  I have too much ‘white light’ in the shot.  I tried different angles but it didn’t help.  I’m sorry!

But I was much taken with this aged log

But I was much taken with this aged log

A certain person was getting rather impatient.  I suspect you might be ready for a seat somewhere too.  I spotted a lovely one but it was a bit damp.

What do you think?

What do you think?

He's wondering when we're going to get to cake!

He’s wondering when we’re going to get to cake!

I think we’ve had enough exercise, don’t you?  I hope you enjoyed it, despite all those steps.  This link will give you clearer guidance on how to negotiate the various paths, and National Trust can help you to get here.

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Many thanks to so many of you who have again contributed to making my Monday walks a great place to be.  Shall we get the kettle on, ready for a good read?  If you’d like to join me you’ll be made very welcome.  Full details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.


Introducing Phoebe, in the lovely South of France, with not a drop of rain in sight.  Please say hello :

Coast Walk : the Cap d’Antibes

Tobermory says Scotland to me, but this one’s equally beautiful.  Thanks, Violet Sky!


Sounds like a good book?  And you’ll enjoy Anabel’s company, in Scotland!

Two Towers

Amy has something pretty spectacular for you this week :

Monday Walk : Cascade Caverns

The cutest giraffes!  Thanks for taking us to the zoo, Jackie  :

The Living Desert, Palm Springs CA

Photos do not come any more beautiful than this first one!  Many thanks, Lucile :

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge : Nature

Jesh always has an interesting take on life.  And there’s an apple cake recipe too!

Apple Hill

I know you’ll all be waiting for Part 2 of Rotterdam.  I was!  Bring on the windmills, Elena!

Rotterdam in a Day (part 2)

Denzil finds some strange things in the Belgian countryside :

Outrelouxhe : Just because… I like the name

If you’re seeking entertainment you can’t do better than join Badfish!

Treats and Tricks in Oman

And as I’ve pointed out before, Tobias has a very different take on life :


Wonderful variety again this week so thank you all very much.  It’s going to be a wild one, I think, so hang onto your hats!  Have a happy one and I’ll see you all soon.

Jo’s Monday walk : Bellingham and Hareshaw Linn

Hareshaw Linn, or waterfall

Hareshaw Linn, or waterfall

If I told you that today’s walk takes us to the site of two former blast furnaces, you could be forgiven for being less than enthusiastic. But you might remember lovely Hareshaw Linn from a previous post.  I was in the company of two friends with whom I go back a long way, so I had a smile on my face, even in the uphill stretches.

Ian and Pam have a caravan on a small site on the edge of Bellingham, a neat little market town in Northumberland.  It just so happens that it also sits right beside one of that county’s best walks. I hadn’t been to Bellingham for more than 30 years, but I have an enduring image of waking up there one morning to a winter wonderland.  The railing of our hotel balcony was delicately traced with snow, of which there hadn’t been a sign the night before.  No snow on our walk today!  It might make the going a little slippy, but wouldn’t it be pretty?

This is where we'll start

This is where we’ll start

This area was once the site of an iron works, established in 1833.  At the height of operating, it contained 70 coke ovens, 24 large kilns for roasting the iron ore, a blacksmiths, stables and stores.  It remained in production until 1848.  The dam in the photo above supplied water to power the works, and is one of few reminders of the past.  Nature has taken this valley back to herself, and it’s hard to imagine now the roar of those ovens.

Let's follow the path down into the woods

Let’s follow the path down into the woods

And look what we find!

And look what we find!

Growing right up into the tree

Growing right up into the tree

There are six bridges to cross, but for some reason only the first is numbered.

Looking for fish!

Looking for fish!

The trees are laden with moss

The trees are laden with moss

Tangling with ferns and water

Tangling with ferns and water

Which gurgles on its way!

Which gurgles on its way!

There’s an element of fantasy to this woodland setting.  It feels somehow lost to the real world.

And look!  Someone's been wishing on a penny!

And look! Someone’s been wishing on a penny!

A last dramatic curtain before the grand reveal

A last dramatic curtain before the grand reveal

Isn't it lovely?

Isn’t it lovely?

And below- peaceful today!

And below- peaceful today.  Before the rains!

There’s only one way out of the valley, and that’s to retrace your steps, so you can’t get lost even if I rush on ahead.  You might want to pause to examine a few flowers.  The trail is one and a half miles long, so that’s a round trip of 3 miles, with a few ups and downs.

The path brings you out by the old bridge.  If you cross over the road and take a few steps back the way, you will see evidence of former times and the power of water.

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I’m pretty sure you’re ready for a bite to eat by now, and the Rocky Road cafe will give you a warm welcome.  Or there’s the ‘Rose and Crown’, just as friendly, next door, if it’s open.  The houses are largely built from the local grey stone, enlivened by troughs of flowers and hanging baskets.  I continue past the village hall to St. Cuthbert’s Church, consecrated in the 12th century. Unlatching the door, I step briefly inside, then leave quietly again.  St. Cuthbert’s Well (Cuddy’s Well) is easily missed, down by the river.

A wooden nativity outside St. Cuthbert's

A wooden nativity outside St. Cuthbert’s Church

I couldn’t leave without a quick look at the hotel where we stayed so long ago.  There was still a lovely view down to the river, but agreeably, no snow!  A footpath beside the river will bring you back into town, where you might want to visit the Heritage Centre.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s walk, in the company of my lovely friends.  This link will take you to the Northumberland National Park site, with a map and full details of the location.

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Time for a cuppa and to share some more brilliant walks!  Many thanks to all of you who’ve submitted walks, and to those of you who are simply armchair readers.  To join me, you’ll find details on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or just click on the logo above.  Here we go!


Got to brave the weather when you’re in the Hebrides.  Well done, Geoff!

A walk around Luskentyre

Still learning new words this week!  Thanks a lot, Anabel :

Torwood Castle and Tappoch Broch

I just know how much I would love Corsica!  Look at this!

A walk in shadow of history

Amazing share from Violet- the most incredible Junk Art!

Junk Art

For those of you who didn’t see it on BBC2, here’s Laura’s version of the Pennine Way :

Peaks and troughs

I am so privileged again to feature Suzanne’s beautiful handiwork.  Don’t miss it!

Walking in Tower Hill

Henry Moore sculptures a-plenty from Jackie this week :

Monday Walk- Toronto

Did you ever see anything lovelier than this?  I know Sue S will approve!  Many thanks, Amy!

Monday Walk : Bow River

You have to applaud the sentiments of the next one, as well as the beauty!  Cheers, Jesh!

Friends Walk Together

And if you’d like, share some reminiscing with my beautiful friend, Meg?

Walking a memoir

It wouldn’t be Monday without Jude in Cornwall, now would it?

St. Just in Penwith

For something a little wilder (and spectacular!) grab your poles and join Ruth :

A rocky walk to Bicheno Blowhole

First the water spouts up, and then it flows down!  Thanks to the Eternal Traveler!

Over the Cliff

That’s it for this week!  Next week I hope to schedule my Monday walk, as I will be in Bristol gazing at hot air balloons.  Pinch me, somebody- I must be dreaming!  I don’t get back until late on Monday evening so I may be rather slow with my responses, and I will be all in a daze.

If you have any spare time, pop in to see those lovely folks at Monday Escapes, won’t you? Meanwhile, have a great week!


Wynding through Richmond in Autumn

My best laid plans have a habit of going awry just lately.  I have a long standing wish to do the backstage tour at the tiny and exquisite Georgian Theatre in Richmond, North Yorkshire.  I reasoned that my November birthday, with the current unsettled weather, would be the perfect occasion.

Leaving home in the rain, I was delighted to find blue skies in Richmond.  I went straight to the theatre for the hourly tour.  But, no!  The backstage tours finished yesterday, I was told.  I have one of those faces which feelings rampage across- nothing is hidden.  The receptionist hastened to assure me that the theatre was being readied for the upcoming production of “Calender Girls” and then panto season.  Taking pity on me, she asked if I would like just a little peak behind the scenes.  What could I say?

Georgian Theatre, Richmond, viewed from the Gallery- by Cloud9 Photography

It looked nothing like this.  All was in darkness save for a spotlight, which wandered around the stage looking for that perfect spot.  The 18th century theatre is Grade 1 listed, and the oldest theatre still in its original form in the UK.  The Woodland Scene in the above photo was painted soon after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and is the oldest piece of theatrical scenery in Britain.

At least the weather was on my side.  Richmond is a beautiful little market town with the River Swale running through it.  The castle, with its imperious keep, towers 100 feet above.  The town was founded by the Normans in 1071, with the castle at its heart.  Narrow lanes or wynds link the wider streets.  Wynd is the Old English word, meaning “to spiral”.  Crossing the broad cobbled Market Place, inevitably, you are lured down to the river.

The bridge straddles the River Swale

Trees line the river, below Castle Walk

The Autumn colour contrasts wonderfully with the darkly swirling river

Sunlight glints beautifully off the water

You can hear the thunder of the falls as you approach the corner.  Once there, I always have to linger, mesmerised by the rush of water.

I love the noise and exuberance of the water

There’s always a bed of rocks for scrambling across, though I’m content just to look these days.  Too easy to turn an ankle.

Tricky customers, those rocks

A last look back at the falls

Another bridge hoves into sight

Here you have a choice.  You can follow the river on either bank.  If you stay on this path you can take the Drummer Boy walk to Easby Abbey.  This day I wasn’t wearing suitable footwear and was happy to cross over the bridge to The Station.

Now this is a rather special place.  It’s great for a cuppa, or maybe to pick up some books cheaply (as I did).  It also has craft shops, and an icecream makers, and in Summer you can sit outside with your choice.  What I especially like is the use of the old station building as an art gallery.  Some very interesting exhibitions take place.

Looking down from the gallery into the body of the station

Current exhibits, by David Clarke Palmer

I thought these were quite clever

Light floods in through the ceiling

It’s a train- of course!

It’s great that this building has been so lovingly restored.  The Heritage Centre in the Ticket Office tells how it came about.  As I strolled through the town I had observed that the French restaurant, “Rustique”, in Finkle St., was open.  Mondays are often closing day in these parts so I was very happy to return there for my celebration lunch.  Very nice indeed.

Which riverside path to choose, to return?

My well-earned luncheon venue, “Rustique”

Richmond has many interesting nooks and crannies, but today I’ve restricted myself to the riverside.  If you would like to read more about the Wynds and the town itself, in my sidebar there’s a piece called Romantic Richmond and its Ivory Tower, which I wrote a couple of years ago.  I often seem to find myself there in Autumn.

And the Georgian Theatre?  I guess I’ll just have to settle for a production instead.

A day out on the Wensleydale Railway

Steam trains, a Vintage bus, pretty Dales villages, waterfalls and beautifully bumpy scenery- sounds like ”a grand day out”?  It certainly was, and no shortage of cheese, Gromit lad!

We started our trip in Bedale, a sizeable Yorkshire village that we hadn’t really explored previously. With an hour to kill till the next train and gentle sunshine percolating down, now seemed like a good time.  A genteel sort of place; the butchers, bakers and greengrocers’ produce looked super fresh and inviting, the florists displays standing crisply to attention.  Georgian houses line the front street. Tuesdays host a lively market.  A heritage trail can guide you around key points of interest.  http://www.bedale.com/heritage_trail.htm

Ready for action at Bedale Station

Back to the railway station for the main event– the gleaming, huffing, 11.38 chugs into view.  A ripple of excitement shivers down the platform, and not only amongst  the small boys! (the main lure for my husband on this “grand day out” was the promise of steam).  The youthful volunteer guard  leaps down to position a footstool, to assist us up into the carriage.  His whistle toots and I settle back to admire the gently unravelling scenery.  So very English, the tantalising glimpses of back gardens, cornfields  and dappled shade; not quite so English, my delinquent glass of Zinfandel, served by the charming elderly gentleman in charge of the tea urn.

The Vintage Bus waiting patiently at Redmire

The railway runs year round and covers 16 miles from Leeming Bar, just off the A1, to Redmire, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  The scenery increases in drama as you approach Redmire, where a Vintage bus can take you deeper into the National Park. We hopped down from the train and there waiting stood a little green bus. It felt like a scene directly out of Thomas the Tank Engine as we trundled off down the country lanes.  In barely 15 minutes we’d reached Aysgarth Falls – time for a little footwork.

Aysgarth Falls

Before setting off to see the triple flight of waterfalls, it’s a good idea to call into the Visitor Centre.  A wealth of information on the area is available, though frugally we spent just 50p on a walk leaflet, to assist our return to Redmire. Very tasty and substantial meals are served, plus a seriously tempting selection of home baked cakes.  Of course, Wensleydale cheese is the star of the show.  Mindful that I would be walking the 4 miles back to the station, I restricted myself to a scone, albeit a huge and extremely cheesy one.  If you’re not walking, or just fancy lunch in a good traditional pub, the Bolton Arms in Redmire will do nicely, and can even provide accommodation if you don’t feel inclined to move on. www.boltonarmsredmire.co.uk

Lower Falls

The obliging English weather had supplied plentiful rainfall to ensure that the River Ure was full, and the falls an exhilarating tumble of water.  If they look familiar, you may have seen them in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.  You can linger at the falls, or stride off across the fields.  Our leaflet was easy to follow, and soon we came in sight of medieval Castle Bolton.  If you’ve not been before, it’s well worth a look, and is an excellent cup of tea spot.  Numerous events take place here, including Living History weekends.  Don’t miss the wild boar park, with 9 child-pleasing baby boarlets. www.boltoncastle.co.uk

Castle Bolton

Castle Bolton

The rain followed us across the fields, but it was with a sense of a full day out that we boarded the train again.  I gazed out of the window and plotted a deeper expedition into the Dales for my next trip.

The Vintage Bus carries on to Hawes and Garsdale on selected days between 1st April and 30th October.  Full details, including proposed extensions to the Railway, can be found on www.wensleydalerailway.com