Thursday, 31 May 2012

4/4 to Ripon Races

With a superb weather forecast and temperatures soaring into the mid 20's, my wife and I were preparing for our 3 nights away with particular relish.
Ready for off

It was decided that we would dispense with the need of a suitcase and use a soft bag for our clothes which fitted snugly behind the driver's seat alongside another small bag that contained all those vital female accoutrements that remain relatively unknown territory to the average male! A picnic bag was placed at the feet of 'her indoors' without restricting her legroom and thus, almost fully loaded we set off.

With the sun beating down we drove on the A59 to Skipton, branching off through glorious scenery through Ilkley and Otley, soon smelling the hop and malt laden air of the brewing town of Tadcaster and on to the York by-pass, eventually turning on to the A1079 leading to my sister's home town of Beverley.

Beverley is a beautiful medieval market town with a glorious Minster and well known Racecourse. We spent a lovely afternoon and evening in my sister's house that is in a Mews development, close to the Westwood an area of common land where cattle freely roam, much to the chagrin of local residents when the beasts decide to stray down the streets and into gardens!

I was delighted to hear that my sister's 88 year old lady neighbour had admired the Morgan as it sat outside her property, thinking that my sister's husband had gone upmarket and traded in his Porsche!!
Bishop Burton en route for Harewood

The following day saw us retracing our steps to Harewood House where we were to meet my wife's cousin. The house was built between 1759 and 1771 for Edwin Lascelles whose wealth was a result of slave trading and lending money to planters in the West Indies. It is still home to the Lascelles family.

Harewood House
We stayed for the next two nights in the lovely Crown Inn at Roecliffe where the accommodation and food was first class.

The Crown Inn, Roecliffe

Ripon Cathedral

The sun continued to shine as we set off to Ripon, an ancient market town founded some 1300 years ago and also a cathedral city where monasteries have stood since the 7th century. We had an hour sightseeing before making our way to the Racecourse, where we enjoyed the first four races that added a massive £5.25 to the family coffers, due to the undoubted prowess of my dearly beloved as a punter!
Ripon Racecourse

The final tussle in the 3.40 at Ripon

On returning to our accommodation at around 4pm we decided to go on a short walk to the river before our traditional G&T's. We'd looked at the 'Roecliffe Ramble', outlined on a large map by the gateway to the church, but failed to appreciate fully the distances involved!

The footpath alongside the River Ure
One hour later, on the walk by the banks of the River Ure, my wife who was wearing the equivalent of ballet shoes on her feet, had the audacity to question the sanity of our position and indeed the sanity of the leader of the party, politely asking whether it might be a good idea to turn back. A unanimous decision was reached by the leader, who was convinced that it would not be long before we would be on the homeward leg. So on we went, on and on, on and on, with the leader himself  now having severe doubts as to his own judgement.

Two hours and 5 miles later we got back to our room and straight into a bath to ease our aching limbs, before enjoying the welcome liquid refreshment we had fantasised about in the searing heat of the 'route march'!!

Our final visit before heading home was to Newby Hall , designed by Christopher Wren and home to the Compton family. Full of Robert Adam furnishings and Chippendale furniture and set in beautiful gardens and grounds of 25 acres it is well worth a visit
Newby Hall
The route home was on the A6265 from Ripon to Skipton via Pateley Bridge and Grassington. It should be a wonderful road, but due to the inability of successive governments to concentrate on road repairs, it is an absolute horror in a Morgan, uneven with a pothole seemingly every few yards, an utter disgrace. I suppose if every politician had to drive a Morgan over the roads of Britain and experienced the real truth about the road surfaces, perhaps something would be done! But do I really believe that?!!! Bankers and Politicians, phah!

As we approached Pately Bridge I noticed that the fuel gauge was hovering around 1/4 full so, because I do not have a lot of faith in the accuracy of the thing, I thought we had better stop for fuel and were directed to a Petrol Station, the like of which I have not experienced for years. The pumps were manned by an Attendant whose manner I found a little disconcerting as she shambled towards me and grasped the nozzle of the pump, with a sloppy and casual disregard towards the task she was about to embark on ie., filling the petrol tank of a highly precious, mollycoddled classic with a tank that takes an inordinately long time to fill (at least with old type pumps).

As she could not provide the high octane fuel that we desired, in fact there was nothing high octane about her at all, we settled for the 'bog standard' stuff and I asked for only £20 worth, on the basis that the shortest time she was attending the needs of my car the better!

Sure enough, some five minutes later the nozzle was carelessly removed and petrol was sprayed over the back of the car. I gave her the money and did not wait for a receipt, God knows what we paid for the fuel!

Finally arriving in Skipton we picked up the A59 and headed for home, noting when we arrived that we had covered 315 miles.


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