Tag Archives: Yorkshire Day

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 …

On This Day – Leyburn and Middleham in Yorkshire

Even though travel restrictions are easing I am not yet minded to risk it so I still have no new stories to post so I continue to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 1st August 2016 I was in Yorkshire on ‘Yorkshire Day’…

02 Yorkshire

Middleham describes itself as a township, smaller than a town but bigger than a village and it is a very fine place. Less frantic than other towns in Wesleydale but blessed with history and a magnificent castle, almost as big as the town itself. We parked the car and found a pub for lunch called ‘Richard III’.

Richard III was the last Plantagenet and House of York King of England, the last King of England killed in combat, at the battle of Bosworth in 1485, and succeeded by the victorious Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster.  Before he became King in 1482 he lived for a while in the castle here in Middleham.

Richard III


Read The Full Story Here…

North Yorkshire – Leyburn, Middleham, Yorkshire Day and Richard III

Richard III Middleham castle

“Now is the winter of our discontent 
Made glorious summer by this sun of York.”

William Shakespeare – Richard III, Act 1 Scene 1

The following morning we drove once more to Leyburn and this time the chocolate factory workshop was open so we spent a full morning there while the children made chocolate pizza and Kim and Sally drank coffee and ate chocolate cake.

Next we drove to the town centre which was horribly busy once more and after we had secured a much prized parking place I gave in to the demands of the others and visited the shops.  Actually, I rather liked the shops in Leyburn  and the reason for that was that there were none that I recognised.

Usually in England every town has the same shops, there is practically no individuality in the town centres.  Every shop that I can expect to find in my home town can be found anywhere else.

Leyburn postcard

These are not shops that interest me a great deal in Grimsby where I live so it was completely unlikely that they would do so elsewhere.  To make it worse, in a typical English town there is an over-supply of banks, building societies and pay-day loan money lenders and the trouble with financial service providers is that they simply cannot make their window displays interesting and except for a different logo all they can display is a list of lending and savings rates most of which are exactly the same anyway.

This, I am happy to report was not the case in Leyburn where there were an abundance of traditional shops owned and run by local traders and I rather enjoyed an hour or so looking around.  Please don’t spread that around too much, it might get back to Kim.

In one shop we were invited to choose a white rose from a basket because today, as it turned out, was ’Yorkshire Day’. 

Yorkshire Day is 1 August to promote and celebrate the historic English county of Yorkshire.  It all began in 1975 started by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, initially in Beverley, as a protest movement against the Local Government re-organisation of 1974 which effectively dismantled the historic old County.

The White Rose County of Yorkshire is the largest in England and for administrative convenience was once divided into Ridings, North, West and East, but no obvious fourth and I wondered why?  Well it turns out that there is a simple explanation because the word Riding is derived from a Danish word ‘thridding’, meaning a third. The invading Danes called representatives from each Thridding to a Thing, or Parliament and established the Ridings System.  I rather like the idea that Parliament is called a Thing! I have heard it called worse.  To this day, Yorkshire consists of three Ridings, along with the City of York, and that’s why there is no fourth, or South, Riding.

Quite a few English Counties have a celebration day, it seems to be a modern thing to do.  Hampshire is 15th July, Suffolk is 21st June but in both cases for no specific reason that I can see.  My County of Lincolnshire has chosen the 1st October which celebrates a Catholic rebellion against the reforms of Henry VIII in 1536.  A look through the list leads me to think that most dates are chosen at random except perhaps for Northamptonshire.  25th October is the feast dates of Saint Crispin, the patron Saint of cobblers and Northampton is famous for making boots and shoes.  The local football club is called ‘The Cobblers’.

Further afield, Melbourne Day in Australia is 30th August and celebrates the founding of the city in 1835.

After some shopping for essential supplies (beer, wine and cracker biscuits for the over-supply of Wensleydale cheese after the previous day’s visit to the dairy) we left Leyburn and carried on to nearby Middleham.

Middleham Postcard

Middleham describes itself as a township, smaller than a town but bigger than a village and it is a very fine place. Less frantic than other towns in Wesleydale but blessed with history and a magnificent castle, almost as big as the town itself. We parked the car and found a pub for lunch inevitably called ‘Richard III’.

Richard was the last Plantagenet and House of York King of England, the last King of England killed in combat, at the battle of Bosworth in 1485, and succeeded by the victorious Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster.  Before he became King in 1482 he lived for a while in the castle here in Middleham.

Thanks to William Shakespeare poor old Richard is mostly remembered as a bad man and an evil King who got what he deserved at the battle of Bosworth but history is now beginning to revise this judgement following the discovery of his bones in an unlikely burial place under a public car park in my home town of Leicester, interestingly no County Day yet surely it has to be the day they found his bones on 25th August.

Richard III

Yorkshire demanded that he should be immediately returned to York for a final decent burial but the discoverers held firm and he now lies in the Cathedral of his adopted County of Leicester.

Leicester has laid claim to Richard III. Some people claim that this is significant.  Leicester City are a football team in England who have never really done anything spectacular.  In 2014 they were playing badly and looked likely to be relegated from the Premier League but after the bones of Richard were found they suddenly began to play like champions and in the following year won the English Premier League.  The reversal of fortune has been attributed by some to Richard III and though it is unlikely it is such a good story that I really want to believe it.

Although Leicester is a large city in the UK there are only three places in U.S.A. named after it, in Massachusetts, North Carolina and Vermont.  As far as I can see there is no Leicester in Canada or in Australia.   Perhaps it is too difficult to pronounce correctly?

After lunch we walked to the castle.  Between us there were mixed opinions about paying the entrance fee but with my new castle enthusiast pal, William, eager to climb the battlements everyone finally gave in and we went inside.

It was once a massive castle, one of the biggest in Northern England built on a site previously garrisoned by both the Romans and the Normans and deep within the labyrinth or towers and walls is a statue of Richard III and for those who say he was evil he looked arm less enough to me!

Middleham Castle

Another from my lead soldier collection, this is Sir John Cheyney, bodyguard to Henry Tudor who is said to have brought down King Richard with his lance…

Sir John Cheyney