North Yorkshire – Skipton and Grassington

This year (2022) my little brother Richard turned 60 and we wanted to do something special to celebrate. 

Richard was going to Yorkshire for a few days with his wife Deanna, he likes Yorkshire and so do we.  My sister Lindsay has never been to Yorkshire and likes Cornwall. She wants to go and live there.  I don’t understand why anyone can prefer Cornwall to Yorkshire.  Richard invited us to join him and we were easily convinced.

So we set off early in the morning with the intention of visiting the town of Skipton, a market town in the north of the County.  In Yorkshire market towns have proper markets and local people go to shop there.  They are sociable, busy, vibrant and wonderful.  If I lived in Yorkshire I would happily go shopping every Saturday.  I would buy the local produce in the butchers and the greengrocers. Not something that I would say about my home town of Grimsby I have to say.

In 2018 Skipton was included in the Sunday Times report on Best Places to Live in northern England.

Historically in the East Division of Staincliffe Wapentake in the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is on the river Aire, by an infuriating only two miles short of the being the longest, it is the fifth longest river in Yorkshire after the Ure/Ouse, Swale, Derwent and Don,  Also running through the town is the  Leeds and Liverpool Canal dating back to 1774 and one of the earliest canals to be constructed in the UK.

The name Skipton means ‘sheep-town’, a northern dialect form of Shipton. The name is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Yorkshire claims to have more sheep than any other English County but you have to be careful with claims like this, it is a very big county, the largest in England so this is most likely not too difficult.  The Swaledale sheep with its characteristic black face and curly horns is the emblem of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

On the subject of sheep Scotland claims to have more sheep than people and so does New Zealand.  Derby County Football Club has a Ram as its mascot but no one really knows why.

This one lives in my back garden…

Famous people from Skipton – Thomas Spencer, the co-founder of Marks & Spencer, was born there in 1858.  He opened the first Penny Bazaar in Leeds in 1884.

Even more famous and regarded as one of the greatest bowlers in the history of the game of cricket, Fred Trueman was a fearsome fast bowler and was widely known as “Fiery Fred”. He was the first bowler to take three hundred wickets in a Test career.  It was against Australia in 1964 and I remember watching the moment in grainy black and white on BBC TV.  I used to spend hours watching Test Match coverage in those days.

No ordinary Saturday afternoon cricketer would want to face Fred Trueman, he had a wild mop of unruly hair and a threatening stare which said ‘this next delivery will take your head off’, he charged in like a bull on an ungainly angled run so the batsman could see him coming with his boots bouncing, flannels flapping and shirt sleeves sailing before a huge final last step lunge and a ninety mile an hour delivery.  Deal with that.  Together with Brian Statham, he opened the England bowling for many years and together they formed one of the most famous bowling partnerships in Test cricket history. 

I immediately liked Skipton especially when I found the hardware store which is a feature of most Yorkshire towns but which seem to have disappeared almost everywhere else.  I remember one in my town of Rugby in the 1970s, it was called Clarks at the top of Railway Terrace and I went to school with David whose family owned the shop.  Gone now of course.

It was lunchtime so we found a local tearoom/café and ordered lunch.  I was hungry and went for the big one, a Yorkshire Steak and Ale pie and Kim accused me of being greedy but did then steal a forkful or two.

You have to have a steak and ale pie in Yorkshire…

In the mid afternoon we moved on to the village of Grassington which was recently used as the setting for the fictional town of Darrowby in the TV adaptation of  All Creatures Great and Small, instead of Thirsk where the actual story took place.  

We took a circular walk across the fields and beside the river Wharfe and ambled slowly around the village streets before continuing our journey.

Tonight and  for the next three nights we were staying at the Wheatsheaf pub in Carperby near Aysgarth Falls.

My travelling companions, Richard, Deanna, Kim, Lindsay and Mick…

Four days later on the drive home we stopped over in the town of Thirsk where there was a very fine street market where we bought cheese, bacon, sausages and meat pies …

43 responses to “North Yorkshire – Skipton and Grassington

  1. I do enjoy your English tour Andrew. That isn’t to say I don’t like your Mediterranean tours. I do. But I do enjoy your English tours

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nay lad. Tha’ were in shouting distance of us. And you never called in for a cuppa.


  3. LIke you, I used to spend hours watching the b/w cricket. I remember being fascinated by the exotic names of the 1963 West Indians,
    The Derby Ram is a traditional folk song. Here’s the info:#
    and here’s the song:

    Youtube has lots of different versions, none of which, I’m afraid, seem quite the right tune to me!


    • Thank you for that. I am from Leicester so am sometimes a fox and sometimes a tiger.
      Watching the cricket in the 1960s I remember the hand written scorecard being shown to the camera. When Trueman got the 300 he was presented with a certificate in the same style. Happy days.


  4. My hubby is a Yorkshire lad and I love it there too. So picturesque and the folks so friendly. Looks like a great time was had by all.


  5. Skipton’s a lovely place as indeed is the whole of Yorkshire but I wouldn’t swap where I am for anywhere in UK


  6. Still staggering at the idea of someone never having been to Yorkshire! I hope your sister was converted, and that your brother had a fabulous 60th.


  7. A memorable trip. I modelled myself on Brian Statham, spending hours bowling at a handkerchief. It didn’t make me reach his level


  8. You are hereby appointed an honorary Yorkshireman. A friend, originally from Leeds, moved to Skipton about three years ago after many years in Warwickshire, and talks so enthusiastically about the place (especially about things they can do without having to go in the car, and bumping into friends and chatting in the street) you want to move there immediately. It seems to be just distant enough from Leeds etc. to have retained its character.


  9. Road trip!

    I’m now going to look for a concrete sheep for my backyard.


  10. Enjoyed my travels with you


  11. I don’t know whether I have been to Skipton. Grassington yes, and I explored much of Yorkshire in the 1960s with my family and with school trips. I’m not sure I’d cope with the colder weather there now though, but the market towns do entice me.


  12. Ah I got beaten by an earlier responder because obviously I do know the origin of Derby County’s nickname. The ram is or was the mascot of the Derbyshire Regiment for the same reason. For your amusement (I know you like these little things), I was born in Derby (ram) on the very middle day of Aries (ram). My surname is Sharman which not only contains the letters of the word ram(s) but is a derivative of Shearman, as in, one who worked with….yeah you’ve got there now…


  13. Nowt wrong wi Yorkshire! But I’m surprised Jude didn’t give you more of an ear bashing. Loule happens to have a very fine hardware store too. Wrong country! Happy birthday to Richard.


  14. Got to love a good hardware store. We used to have one here… it’s now a Costa. I have never quite forgiven them.


  15. Luckily, it is still relatively easy to find these hardware stores in the small towns of the US, but they are disappearing too and being replaced by franchises. I have one in my small town, which is technically a franchise, but you’d never know it by looking. Each morning they pile all their wares out onto the sidewalk and inside you walk the aisles on creaky lopsided wooden floors, and the things on the top shelves are covered in dust, and old couple who run the place know every item inside by heart. That’s a great statue of Fred Trueman.


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