We planned a few days away in the Yorkshire Dales but the trip began rather badly when we woke on day of departure to grey leaden skies that hung like a wet army blanket and heavy persistent rain that stubbornly refused to move on.
The weather was quite simply appalling and the first part of the journey north on the A1 was spoilt by continuous stair-rod rain that meant any plans that we might have had just had to be abandoned. I don’t mind getting wet but I draw the line at getting drenched. These days I won’t even play golf in the rain.
As we approached the elegant town of Harrogate there were some breaks in the weather so with a little optimism we diverted from our planned route and made our way to the Brimham Rocks which is a geological feature left over from three hundred and twenty five million years ago (that is an awfully long time, even older than Mick Jagger) and with subsequent erosion have assumed twisted and contorted surreal sculptures with grotesque and unusual shapes.
The Brimham Rocks is a National Trust Site and the National Trust sure know how to charge. The minimum rate in the car park was £6 which is completely outrageous. It isn’t even a proper car park, no tarmac, just a muddy puddled field. My blogging pal John Knifton has this to say about the National Trust…
“It’s quite amazing how much they dare charge. The last time we went to Godrevy in Cornwall, it was £7 to park in a field and that was nine years ago. Again, very little to maintain. The cars kept the grass down.”
I was once a member of the National Trust but in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic and the national lock-down when nothing was open to visit they invited me to renew my membership for the full price without any discount. Without any discount. I turned down their obscenely less than generous offer. Thanks to Covid I have now saved two years membership fees.
There are car parking charges everywhere now, it is a giant rip off, I read recently that after Council Tax the biggest revenue streams for English councils is car parking charges. The National Trust slavishly follows their example.
There was no way in the world that I was going to pay £6 especially as the weather was looking rather dodgy again so we took a risk that the car park warden was on lunch break and walked a short way into the rocks for twenty minutes or so which was enough really and then we returned to the car, satisfied ourselves that there was no parking offence ticket attached to the windscreen and continued our journey.
The Brimham Rocks was almost like being in Jurassic Park and reminded me in a way of Arches National Park in Utah USA which I visited in 1995. Clearly there is no need to fly four thousand miles to see rock sculptures.
I will go back again when the weather is better.
This wasn’t at all difficult but there was some considerable weather improvement as we drove further west but because of the change of plans we arrived far too early in the village of Clapham where we were staying at The New Inn so we drove a few miles further to the town of Ingleton.
Ingleton has a very fine railway viaduct which is now disused but continues to dominate the landscape and a circular walk which features a number of waterfalls.
I was shocked to find that there was a charge to take the walk of £8 each and there was no way that I was going to pay that especially as the weather continued to look decidedly unreliable so we abandoned that idea and with the savings that we had made today we bought a bottle of wine and some beer from the local Co-op and then made our way to Clapham.
In a complete transformation from earlier in the day the sun was shining now so after checking in and approving our accommodation we took a short stroll through the impeccable village which was perfect in an Emmerdale Farm sort of way.
More about waterfalls…
This is Hawdraw Force in Yorkshire that I visited in 2001, claimed to be the highest unbroken single drop waterfall in England. I don’t know how much it cost to visit in 2001 but it is £4 now.
This is Aysgarth Falls near Leyburn in Yorkshire where car parking charges are £2.30 for two hours.