... and then to Richmond, Richmondshire ...

...where the River Swale swirls below the rather impressive medieval fortifications of what may be Yorkshire's "Best Kept Secret", Canadian cousins and pro tem ex-pats John and Barbara invited us to stay on our way back north

Richmond is a peaceful spot, most likely, when its not the annual Richmond Meet. The Meet is not a quiet event

Starting back in the years of industrial gloominescence, at the time of the formation of the Harriers clubs and the prototypical Ramblers - among the most lastingly successful of socialist/ communist initiatives in the UK - cyclists' groups from Yorkshire and the industrial North East converged on Richmond at the May Bank Holiday, when the Swale is warm enough to paddle in, and to cool the overheated cyclist from Halifax or Jarrow. Those who moan of lycra-louts today should not forget the past of cycling and its place in labour history

Swale Meet (Again? ... No, please)

Nearby Easby with its ruined abbey and remarkably unsacked church was a more tranquil terminus ad quem for a holiday Monday walk. The light wasn't outstanding, as a storm was brewing mid-afternoon that broke in te early evening, but these pics give some idea:

Easby Abbey - 1

under-rated H8 mash-up monasterio, just a very pleasant stroll from the town ...

Easby Abbey - 2

... as this telephoto shows (least I think that's Richmond Castle, taken from same place approx. as the last shot of the Abbey, with approx. 90º turn to right)

Richmond from Easby

And this, by way of reflection on the walk, is Easby from the window John & Barbara's top floor flat in Richmond

Easby Abbey Telephoto

We liked Richmond. With the flower-bedecked castle ...

Richmond Castle Walls

... the rapids ...

Swale Falls at Richmond

and its topological charms

Culloden Tower, across Richmond

So thanks! John & Barbara, for putting us up.

We're sorry we didn't have longer to explore, but we do look forward to returning the favour sometime soon, up here 'n'a'heelans

J & B


to wendy world...

... where, at Cocked Hat, Dave and Wendy

made us welcome on the Sunday afternoon, as

the reunion reunited...

Oh and Ralph....

The climax of the day was either the superb repast of Yorkshire pork with roast spuds, cheesy leeks and all sorts of other goodies - even the veggie option looked enticing, though we didn't get our hands on any - or else it was the walk in the woods, with adults, children, a horse, three (four?) dogs and a mog.

Jim took lots of pics along the way, and they make up most of what's on display here - check it out. And if anyone's got any pics of stuff they think we've overlooked, then please do email them to Jim and he'll add them to the appropriate collection


to ripon...

... for a meet with folks we seldom see

In fact, it usually takes a funeral to get this lot together. But now Jim's the oldest survivor this side of the Atlantic. Duh!!

Chez Jill and Vic at Low Lindrick - a spot unknown to local taxi men - we passed a pleasant afternoon renewing old acquaintance and forging new.
The sunshine battled against and intermittently overcame the cold Yorkshire wind. But a wow! of an event it was, and all thanks - we should prolly say kudos in the blogging context - to Jill and Vic for their welcome, hospitality and massive array of nosh! Safe to say we were all well fed up and agreeably drunk...

Click here to view a first gallery of pics - more to come, probably tomorrow


voyage to the northern perimeter

between Saturday the 9th and Thursday the 14th of May

we took a trip up round the very north of Scotland - you'll see our route in Multimap form here - with overnight stops in Dornoch, Thurso, Tongue and Lochinver, and passing through - inter alia - Wick, John O'Groats, Assynt and Ullapool.

On the way out we stopped at Inverness Airport to pick up Peter Wareham who wanted to come along for the ride.

First night we stayed in Dornoch. Most famed in recent times for hosting Madonna's wedding the day before we got married in Morar (we owe her one for distracting the paparazzi from our nuptials). But as well as its cathedral Dornoch has a rather fantastic beach where we watched terns and diving gannetts

in the long-evening light.

We'll post a full gallery of pics as soon as other things allow - it's off to Yorkshire next weekend, and Ruth's computer screen's gone blank - but for now, here's a shot of John O'Groats (not nearly as crass and commercialised as people tell you)

and one of Thurso beach - which according to the Rough Guide doesn't exist!! - but which does, and to prove it hosts surfing championships (BRRR!!!)

Thurso, though, is a nice wee working town, and rightfully qualifies as Scotland's "Best Kept Secret".

One of the great surprises was Tongue - a genuinely pretty little village in Sutherland, and one with a dramatic setting, beneath Ben Loyal. Here is the view of the Ben from the village at sunset:

Come back soon for more pics from the far north!!