It’s just over six years since me and a friend went wildcamping in the Lake District. Two days of (very) long walks, bathing in crystal clear rivers and sleeping on soft grassy ground. We really should go back.
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My friend Dave and I took a walk around Welton on what turned out to be a sunny evening. We’ve walked the various routes around Welton before but this route was new to us. The first small climb offered up some great views over Ellougton Wold and out across the Humber that we hadn’t seen before.
The route took us back down to our starting point through Welton Dale – which has sadly been fenced on both sides now so it feels like you are being kettled as you walk down the valley. If you’re prepared to jump off the path for a bit you’ll find the Raikes Mausoleum hidden within the woodland. The structure is two hundred years old and sadly in need of some attention now, which is a shame as it still houses the remains of some of the family. It was a bit spooky at dusk and we didn’t hand around – so no photo.
I told Dave that Welton was quite posh, but I don’t think he believed me until we walked past a million quids worth of helicopter parked on someones lawn.
Last year we joined the National Trust. It wasn’t something that we had considered before, but after arriving at Fountains Abbey on Boxing Day and realising it would cost us an arm and a leg to get in, we signed up to their family membership plan to spread the cost. It was a good deal on the day because we didn’t have to spend forty quid on the entrance fee, but whether the £120 spread over the year was worth it remained to be proved. Since I am a massive nerd, I kept track of what we spent over the year.
Without membership we would have paid £242.90 (including £17 parking charges), so we saved £113. Not bad! If cost is the only metric, membership has proved to be very good value for money. Having the card in our pocket (and the monthly direct debit going out) pushed us to get out as often as possible, and they were all well worth the visit.
Here’s a list of the National Trust properties that we visited:
- Fountains Abbey
- Brimham Rocks
- Benningbrough Hall
- Clumber Park
- The Workhouse
- Nostell Priory
- Hardwick Hall
- Nunnington Hall (twice)
- Rievaulx Terrace
Unfortunately there are only a dozen national trust properties within a couple of hours drive of us, and we’ve done the majority of them now. Some of the properties are massive and need more than one visit, so I’ve renewed the membership this year so that we can go back and explore those further and maybe visit a couple of the ones further out. I can’t see that it would be worth renewing further than that unless we move somewhere else, but we only need to visit five or six properties to cover the cost.
Here’s some photos from our year with the National Trust:
This Sunday saw a small group of hardy bikers brave the grim looking clouds and head out for a ride to not so sunny Skegness. To be fair, I knew that it was going to rain anyway. The previous day I had spent two hours fastidiously cleaning the inner corners of my bike. Sods law says that if you do this, the next time you leave the house it will completely piss it down.
We set out with one eye on the clouds, planning to stop off at Willingham Woods and Cadwell Park along the way, offering chance to turn back early on should the heavens unload on us. Luckily, the rain didn’t hit us until just before Willingham Woods and it was over in a flash, so we decided to carry on to Cadwell Park, then on to Skegness.
For the rest of the day it did indeed rain. It rained a lot. It rained so much that the road into Barton was under a foot of water. Despite this a lot of fun was had. I’ve put the route up here for posterity because some of the roads were excellent; particularly the bottom end of the B1203.
The parking at Skegness was free for bikes. Top marks to North Lincolnshire Council.
Suddenly having a free day yesterday (which also turned out to be gloriously sunny), I took inspiration from a reviewed ride on HYB and headed out on my bike to the Yorkshire Moors for the day. No real plan but I wanted to visit Blakey Ridge and Lord Stones along the way.
My first stop was at Fimber which, as usual, was very busy. A frankenstein bike pulled up beside me while I was supping my tea: no lights, no speedo, no instruments and a paint job that suggested it had just been rolled down a hill. It’s owner said it was a Bandit 1200 engine in an unknown frame, with wheels and other parts from old bikes he had lying around in his garage. I couldn’t see an ignition system so asked him how he started it. His reply was a small green electrical connector block pulled out of his jacket pocket. It was his winter bike – just hadn’t got round to getting a summer one yet. He said he’d been stopped loads of times by the police but it’s all road legal, apparently.
After that I headed straight for the moors, stopping periodically to take photos. Blakey Ridge was nice but I decided not to stop because my intention was to head further up and round to Lord Stones – and I can only eat so many butties in one day. Instead I headed onwards and upwards and after a few pleasant miles split off to the left and down into Westerdale, passing a scenic picnic site called River Falls which I plan to revisit one day. From there, out through the top of the moors, past Stokesly, returning to back to the moors through Carlton Bank (which is pretty fecking steep!)
I intended to visit Lord Stones but must have flown right past it, so carried on down to Helmsley, through Chop Gate (had a cool name, but not as good as Wetwang), stopped for chips, then returned to Hull the long way round.
It was sunny all day. Good roads, good weather, good times!