A Skinflint in The Yorkshire Dales

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.

This is a the Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland that I visited in 2007 and has no charge but there was a long drive to get there…

So, let me tell you,  I didn’t feel as though I had badly missed out by not seeing the Ingleby Waterfalls.


43 responses to “A Skinflint in The Yorkshire Dales

  1. Perhaps the remedy is to get an Ordnance Survey map for the area, and to work out a nice walk along public footpaths. There’s no possible charge there, and the chances are that you’ll be parking at the roadside as well.
    I could never work out why people fought each other to pay the entrance money for Lands End, when there’s hundreds of miles of beautiful clifftop walks all completely free.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent photographs of rocks and waterfalls. I think the worst rip-off parking charges are hospitals – especially given why people have to go to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with you on this. I resent paying extortionate parking fees.
    Bolton Abbey was free to visit and park the car for as long as I could remember, but these days it’s £10.00 per car.

    Harrogate used to have two hours free parking on the city centre streets all we needed was to display one of those blue cardboard clock things to show the time of arrival, sadly those days are gone.

    Ripley Castle has a large free car park, and that’s one place I could visit over and over.
    I’m sorry your visit up here was such a washout.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I do love a good waterfall and yes, we did that walk many, many years ago and I can’t recall a charge.


  5. I totally agree with the outrageous car parking fees … so, let me rather concentrate on the beautiful rock formations! Love that picture of the many big rocks on one tiny rock – it almost looks like a trick! Some of our rock formations here in the Cederberg Mountains also reminds of Utah’s Arches National Park …


  6. I used to be a car park charge refuser, but I’m not any more. I realise that the charge isn’t really about the state of the car park itself. but about maintaining and keeping in good nick an asset which quite a proportion of the public is intent on damaging, littering and despoiling. It’s a way of limiting numbers too to sites which otherwise really couldn’t cope. As jfwknifton says, choose somewhere quieter and enjoy the walk!,

    Liked by 3 people

  7. We too ended our long standing NT membership, and I’m pleased that we did given that an organisation which is supposed to protect our heritage, has taken on a political stance involving removing and attempting to change history. It’s a disgrace, frankly. I’ve also heard of some NT sites which are now charging car parking per person rather than per car – 4 people in the car, you pay 4 times the fee. Outrageous.


  8. As John Knifton says, they can’t charge you for walking there. Another expert parking charges outfit is Yorkshire Sculpture Park – it varies by season but last time I was there it was minimum £7.50, even for the pleasant one hour walk around the lake when you’re not bothered about looking at their (mostly) ridiculous sculptures. Park in the lane round the corner and go in through the farm and into the woods.


  9. I don’t object to paying parking charges if they are reasonable i.e. by the hour, but it is annoying when there is a flat fee (usually at a private beach) of £5 for the day when you only want to stop off for half an hour. I don’t resent my NT membership even though we haven’t used it so much these last 18 months, but they did actually offer a discount on this year’s price if you applied for it, which I did. A couple of visits to large gardens probably covers the cost and then we can park for free in a lot of the coastal areas.


  10. One of the smaller towns here on the Isle of Wight had a trial of no yellow lines and much reduced car-parking charges a few years ago to see how it worked. It worked brilliantly, people parked for shopping and left, no one got frazzled or had to leave because of no spaces and we all thought ‘How wonderful Now they’ll roll it out across the whole of the island”. Hah! Did they hell! The Council promptly re-imposed the yellow lines in the town in question put the parking charges up and now the town is losing out again to the supermarkets with large free car parks. Sometimes I despair.


  11. Often, when we visit places, we have to make the decision whether to pay something to see something or just enjoy the scenery for free. Most often, it’s the latter.

    It’s not that we can’t afford it; it’s that invariably it feels like a rip-off based on the displays and our eleven of interest in them.


  12. Pingback: A Skinflint in The Yorkshire Dales – Nelsapy

  13. Some stunning pictures and enjoyed this read. True say car parking charges have gone through the roof and they hurt to pay!!


  14. Pingback: A Skinflint in The Yorkshire Dales – Dushyant kumar

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