Sunday, 13 May 2012

4/4 to Giggleswick.

The Met.Office assured us that Saturday was going to be sunny, granted the temperature would only rocket to 11 degrees, but at least the seemingly incessant rain would stop. As we sat eating breakfast, in my case a kipper, to fortify my ageing wracked body, the threatening clouds above us suggested that perhaps they were wrong again.

Once I had extracted the various rogue kipper bones from my teeth, cleaned them and partaken of a mouthwash, not wishing to alienate us from the rest of the village, I checked their website again and found that the cloud was expected to clear by ten, when the rest of the day, both here and in the Yorkshire Dales which is where we intended to head was going to be good.

The Morgan was made ready, appropriate clothing donned, for it is still a mite chilly in these parts and off we went to the tumultuous acclaim of the solitary resident propped up in the bus shelter opposite.
Coffee Break!

Our route initially took us along the very well worn route to the A6 and then across the moors to the east of Lancaster, via Quernmore to Caton in the Lune Valley. It was obvious by the amount of traffic that it was       weekend, a time that we would normally avoid like the plague, not because we are necessarily antisocial, but  being retired, we do relish the opportunities that arise to revel in the peaceful delights of the countryside and landscape while other poor souls are working.
East towards Ingleborough Hill

It wasn't only cars on the road, but motorcyclists driving passed at breakneck speeds, to meet up with their fellow bikers at Kirby Lonsdale, a weekly meeting venue. We hoped, as we turned off the Kirby road towards Wray, a small village that holds a regular 'Scarecrow Festival', that things would get a lot quieter, and so it was.

Soon after passing through Wray we turned right onto a narrow country road in the direction of Settle. Lying to the east of the Tatham Fells, this was a road we hadn't used before and it was delightful, affording far reaching views across the moorland towards Ingleborough Hill and Pen-y-Ghent.

As we drove along we passed under bridges that carried the famous Settle to Carlisle Railway Line, probably the most scenic line in the UK., and a 'must do' for anyone with the slightest interest in railways.

Before setting off from home I had already identified a likely looking hostellry where we could enjoy a beer and a bowl of soup to sustain us and this is where we headed.

'The Black Horse Hotel', a 16C coaching inn, is situated close to the church in the centre of Giggleswick, a village near Settle, and home to Giggleswick School, a boarding and day school where Richard Whiteley of TV show 'Countdown' was a pupil and Russell Harty, the former TV personality, taught English. Sarah Fox, the internationally renowned soprano was born in the village and also attended the school.
Church of St Alkelda, Giggleswick

Our little lunch was excellent and well served, so, well nourished, we made our way to the beautiful church of St Alkelda next door. It dates mostly from the 15C, although excavations have shown that there was a building here before the Norman conquest.

We are not religious people, but find that on our journeying through the UK and abroad, we always seem to find ourselves visiting churches to be rewarded with the peace and tranquillity that they engender.
Looking north on Slaidburn road from Long Preston

With our spirits revived we leapt into the Morgan!.... wait a minute, I'll rephrase that! We lowered ourselves gently and carefully, slumping down into the blissful comfort of the Morgan's luxury seats and headed off to Long Preston, on the upper reaches of the River Ribble where we would take a right to Slaidburn.

The road was in the process of being repaired and as such, it seems to me, must represent another major  milestone in the efforts to restore  British  roads to the standards that exist elsewhere in Europe!! Trouble was, it was being done in sections, only the really bad bits were being renewed, so there were deep ramps that had to be taken at extremely low speeds to avoid bottoming  the Morgan.
Dunsop Bridge Church and a lovely Morgan

Just after Slaidburn, we passed through the village of Newton and spotted a couple of original Morgan Three-Wheelers that looked as though they had been dressed for wedding duties. Dunsop Bridge came next, the nearest village to the centre of the British Isles, where I stopped briefly to take a shot of the Morgan by the church and a rather lovely cherry tree.

Finally, we passed through the Trough of Bowland and back home after a very memorable drive of some 100 miles.

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