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Lichfield Ramblers

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The Harrogate Holiday

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Fourteen of us recently had a four day break in Harrogate, organised by Jo and Peter and based at the Belmont Guest House in Kings Road. We drove up from the Midlands on the Monday morning, checked in to the hotel and were ready for a walk in the afternoon. Starting from the guest house for a six mile stroll, we walked around the stylish town of Harrogate itself before setting off to the RHS gardens at Harlow Carr, via the Valley Gardens and pinewoods. Some visited the well-known and beautiful gardens......



....... while others continued the walk, returning to the guest house, admiring some very nice houses along Duchy Road and popping in to look around the huge St Wilfrid’s Church (Grade I listed) and its associated church hall.

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 In the evening we all had an evening meal together in a private dining room at St Robert’s Club in Robert Street. The catering, provided by Maciej Bujakowski, was of a high standard and great value for money.




After an excellent breakfast the next day, we walked to the very modern bus station and caught the 36 bus to Ripon – a journey of about half an hour. We had a quick look around the cathedral, which has a history going back to the seventh century.........

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........ before our eleven mile walk to Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey via the small, pretty village of Studley Roger. Walking through grounds of Fountains Abbey we saw many impressive trees including this twisted sweet chestnut – the tree, not John.

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Passing by the Choristers’ cottage – an understandably isolated building,  we arrived at the church of St Mary’s  where the guide was a friendly Canadian gent.

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He let us know that there were some stags under the trees at the back of the church. This is what the stags would have seen!

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We then came upon the ruins of Fountains Abbey itself. Founded by the Cistercians in 1132 it was one of the largest monasteries in England before being ruined under Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539.

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We wandered around this magnificent World Heritage Site for quite a while and took the opportunity to have lunch in its sylvan setting before continuing our walk to Studley Royal, with its magnificent 18th century water gardens......

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..... and then returning to Ripon via the Seven Bridges walk.

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 We then caught the 36 bus back to Harrogate from a bus stop situated by this interesting building. One of the party would have preferred individual transport, but unfortunately the 'hover boost' button did not seem to work.  I guess the fuel tanks were empty.....

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In the evening we went for dinner at the Harrogate Winter Gardens, which is now a very impressive Wetherspoons.







On the Wednesday, after another substantial and tasty breakfast we walked from the guest house to Knaresborough, using the route of a former branch line, and then passing the Gardeners Arms.  The walk took us through the beautiful Nidd Gorge where we stopped for coffee using the boardwalk kindly provided.

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Knaresborough is a very interesting and historic town; June is seen here with John Metcalf, better known as Blind Jack of Knaresborough, the well known 18th century road builder.s 004




Mother Shipton aka Ursula Sontheil was a 16th century soothsayer and prophetess born in a cave on the banks of the River Nidd, which is now one of Britain’s oldest tourist attractions – open continuously since 1630......





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........and Knaresborough has the oldest established pharmacy in Britain still operating as a retail business -  since 1720.


It also boasts an unspoilt traditional railway station with a beautiful floral display .

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Kirkgate is an ancient street with an amusing ‘window’ pre-dating Banksy....





but the major attraction hereabouts is Knaresborough Castle, where we stopped for lunch with a view of the railway viaduct (opened 1851 after the first attempt collapsed). Some of us even had an ice-cream. 

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We then walked back across the fields to Harrogate. Here's Jenny having a quick 40 winks.








On our final day we said goodbye to the Belmont Guest House after breakfast and drove to the southern outskirts of Harrogate. From here we set off on a ten mile circular walk to Almscliffe Crag, a millstone grit outcrop at the top of a hill near the village of North Rigton. This walk was more like our normal Sundays, with mainly field walking and views across the countryside. s 002



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We stopped for coffee with a view........









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before reaching the bottom of the hill atop which sits the Crag itself.













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We rested here and enjoyed the sunshine, the breeze and the views whilst we had lunch.



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Walking back across the fields past a nice pond we reached the pleasant village of Pannal – home of the Crimple Beck (which inspired the brand name Crimplene).  John and Peter decided to share the stocks (see what i did there?)







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After finishing the walk, we drove back to the Midlands, having had a very enjoyable four days.


Thanks are due to Jo and Peter for all their hard work in organising the trip, the walks and the evening entertainments.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 October 2017 19:28  


Walking is Healthy

A recent study of 250,000 commuters showed that walking 6 miles a week is good for you, cutting the riskof cancer and heart disease. See BBC Health News

Walking Etiquette

At the recent AGM, different aspects of walking etiquette were raised by several people.  Just to make sure that things go smoothly in future and that we all look after each other:

1) Leaders – PLEASE don’t make walks significantly longer or harder than they are shown in the programme. If you don’t know how long or hard they are ask Phil to check them for you with Memory Map.

2) Leaders – When you stop to allow people at the back to catch up after a hard stretch PLEASE give those people a chance to rest before starting again.

3) PLEASE DON’T walk in front of the leader, unless you’ve asked first. The leader has to make sure that the slowest walkers are in sight, so can’t always go as fast as you’d like.

4) When you reach a turning point PLEASE make sure that you can see the people behind you and that they know where you’re going.  If possible the leader should post a ‘sentry’ to make sure everybody follows.

5) Similarly, when you pass through a gate in a field with animals in PLEASE DON’T leave it open, relying on people far behind to close it.  Wait, or post a sentry to look after it.

6) Finally, PLEASE be prepared to use your car when you go on the short walks.  The success of the scheme is going to rely on this.


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