Yesterday we set off for a day out to one of my personal favourite places, namely Skipton. Known as the ‘Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales’ it also contains a medieval castle which is well worth a visit. It has a thriving market, and a canal basin from which you can enjoy a canal tour via boat. Yesterday was particularly worthy of a visit because Skipton was hosting the annual Waterways festival. We stumbled upon this annual event purely by chance some years ago when we paid Skipton a visit as the festival happened to be taking place. On arrival by the bridge that spans the canal, I couldn’t understand what all the festivities were about, but quickly found out that every year, narrowboats from other areas congregate at Skipton and then deck their boats up in various arrays of decoration. There are lot’s of attractions as well for visitors and a stage with entertainment taking place throughout the day.
On arrival, we went to book a canal tour but the first boat was fully booked by a party. So to pass the time before the next available boat at 12.00pm, we took a walk along the canal so that we could get a close look at the boats and their decorations. This years theme, because its the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, was based on Great Britain, although some boats did seem to veer from this remit somewhat! We were also having lot’s of luck with the weather for although quite chilly, at least the rain did not show its face. We eventually arrived at the park and decided take a stroll up the path before turning around to make our way back to the marina in time to board the next boat.
Seating our selves at the front of the boat on boarding, we set off down the canal. It’s such a tranquil experience cruising along at a snails pace, and so removed from the usual hustle and bustle of our daily lives that I recommend everyone to take a canal cruise at least once in their lives. The boat had hot and cold drinks on board, a waitress who takes your order and of course a toilet. We were rewarded with some stunning views over the countryside before we eventually turned around to head back to the basin.
By now it was well past one, and Kerri had already sussed out (her first job when we arrived as its top of her priorities) where we were going for our dinner, Bizzy Lizzies. This establishment is fairly new, I don’t recall it being there on our last visit to Skipton, and its conveniently sited next to the canal bridge. The service in there was excellent and a telling sign that its a popular eating place is the fact the we had to wait a while for a table.
The table manager was very friendly and he told Kerri that he had seen her dancing earlier on the Quay side to the music from the entertainment. Although it turned out that because it was a Saturday, they didn’t serve their smaller ‘pensioners portions’ which I prefer because a full serving tends to be too much for me these days, my fish and chips were amongst the best I have ever tasted, and I thoroughly recommend that if ever you are in Skipton, you pay Bizzy Lizzies a visit. Kerri had a chicken burger with chips and coleslaw followed by the inevitable chocolate cake.
Following our wonderful meal we made our way up to the Skipton Castle for another visit. Despite the fact that we have visited the castle many times, we never tire of exploring it again, its fascinating to see how everyone lived over 900 years ago, the kitchens, the toilet (which Kerri always enjoys trying out) the dungeon and the old St John the Evangelist chapel. Of course there’s a gift shop in the grounds so I bought my customary fridge magnet (I’m rapidly running out of space for them now, and could do with a double doored fridge) Of course I took loads of photos which you can see via the enclosed photo album. We made our way back to Skipton station and luckily our train to Bradford Forster Square was in.
Travelling on these electric Siemens trains is an experience in itself. They are electric, so they are whisper quiet in operation, lovely and comfortable though they are beginning to look well used now, although we both can remember when they were brand spanking new. I think they were the first trains we ever travelled on that used the tannoy system (and the scrolling info boards in each carriage) which state the next station, and at the end of your journey, the usual ‘this train terminates here, please take all your belongings with you’ to which Kerri always adds ‘especially your knickers’ (yes, I have to hear it every time, and she still finds it hilarious. The joke has kind of worn off for me..) It’s from this particular train that you can visit not only Skipton but also Keighley and Worth Valley railway and also Saltaire which is a world heritage site. So quite a well used route! Enjoy all of my photos of our day.
TG (this blog is composed, formatted and edited in Windows Live Writer.)