On my rest day I take the bus to Knaresborough to visit the touristy but rather fantastic Mother Shipton's Cave, which bills itself as the longest running tourist attraction in England (it's been going since 1630). The cave itself is said to be the birth place of Ursula 'Mother' Shipton, a sixteenth century soothsayer, who apparently predicated the invention of iron ships, the Great Fire of London, the defeat of the Spanish Armada and (rather predictably) the end of the world.
In front of the cave is a petrifying well, by which objects are hung and over time appear turn to stone or "petrify". The process is simply due to the high mineral content in the water which runs over the objects and deposits particles on them. When I visited the objects hanging included a number of creepy strings of teddy bears, a tennis racket and an ice skating boot.
However the real petrified stars are in the museum/gift shop: Jake Humphrey's sock! Julia Bradbury's earmuffs! David Dimbleby's baseball cap! All turned to stone....
Finished off my trip to Knaresborough with a walk under the massive grade II listed beech avenue planted in the eighteenth century and then a wander round the town itself with it's smattering of checkerboard houses.
Feeling rested I set off towards the Dales. Walking from my Air Bnb on the edge of Harrogate I pause to soak up the sun on The Stray - a band of park which snakes round the South West of the city. As i sit I notice a crowd of people gathering. The crowd start walking towards me. Turns out my bench is at the start line of the weekly Harrogate Park Run. The organisers give me a shout out and I later find they have donated to my charities. Thanks guys!
Then head off through the town centre and the Valley Gardens (with it's massive Gunnera plants).
I pop into the annual flower show at the Royal Horticultural Society garden at Harlow Carr.
Then through Cardale Wood.
Along some long straight back roads, past army barracks, through the village of Hampswaithe to join the path along the River Nidd. The path runs round a mill with the smell of flour on the breeze.
The path along the river is lovely - village cricket, dabbled shade and a private toll bridge (35p a time for cars). I keep stopping to chat to the locals.
I arrive at Summerbridge - which is mad for the Tour de Yorkshire - where I stay at the Sam Smith's pub for the night (£1.40 for a pint!). And BINGO!