Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday 8 September - Harrogate, Knaresborough

Walking along Lendal to the station this morning there was an old, confused lady in a dark blue print dress. Using a walking stick and smoking a cigarette she looked at the confusion of delivery vans and said to nobody in particular:
" Bloody 'ell".
We took the train directly to Harrogate. There are many signs of autumn. The hawthorn bushes have a lot of red berries and several apple trees were well laden with fruit. The fields are populated with magpies, rabbits and old lambs.
There are reminders of the Tour de France everywhere

Harrogate is a high end place with many expensive shops but very few pubs. There is a large green area in the centre which must be left open in perpetuity. There are a lot of massive stone buildings, seriously in need of cleaning which impart a grim, sombre feel to the place. 
Maybe there's more going on here than meets the eye, or maybe its my sick sense of humor.
We left Harrogate sooner than expected and came back to Knaresborough which has real people and gives the impression of being lived in. There are a number of buildings decorated in a black and white checker board fashion. 
An unusual checker board pattern of decoration.
We walked along to the castle and admired the view over the river Nidd then found the Crown for lunch (chili and steak and kidney pudding).
The classic view of a train traversing the Knaresborough viaduct
More Tour de France
Knaresborough has a lot to offer and we enjoyed walking along by the River Nidd even though part of the walk was through a parking lot close to the river bank. There were a lot of very small fish swimming in the shallow water which was warmed by the sun. Much of the river bank is in thick woodland and at one point we were walking through a forest of holly trees. Crossing a field we watched a sparrowhawk hovering about 30 feet above the grass. It was able to stay stationary by flapping its wings as opposed to other hawks which glide in the air currents. We had about an hour to wait for the train back to York which we spent in the Mitre with a very acceptable pint of Black Sheep bitter. 
There is still some semaphore signalling in this area and Knaresborough actually has an unusual stone signal box. There are also two sections of single line working using electric train staffs.
Semaphore signalling
An unusual stone signalbox
One feature we have noticed in the entire area we have visited is "Award Winning" "Prize Winning" "World Famous".  It seems that every Fish and Chip Shop, Pub or brand of Ice Cream has won a prize marking it as the best. There must be a lot of competitions.