Leaving Hawes fairly handy this morning we decided to have a leisurely drive around the Dales National Park with a destination of Thirsk in mind for an overnight stop.
We took the B road which runs alongside the River Wharfe as its shown as a scenic route. Very much so, and probably even better when you aren’t driving against the TDF traffic. A fairly narrow road in places and some very tight squeezes of us and other motorhomes between dry stone walls. When it wasn’t other motorhomes it was packs of cyclists (and wow can they go fast even coming up hill towards you). Again though one of the main joys was driving the route and seeing how every village and farm seems to be taking up the TDF with relish with bunting, flags and painted bikes, even the planting in window boxes is either yellow or red and white – really fantastic atmosphere building already, We stopped for a coffee break and to recover our nerve on Greenhow Hill which has the most incredible views for miles after mile in both directions. As we started down hill we met Team Cofidis coming towards us on mass – quite daunting to see them all in red hurtling along, however they gave us a wave and a few smiles so we may be supporting them purely for that.
Somehow we lost track of our route at this point and rather than being in Ripon we were actually in Bedlam (appropriate) so we changed tact and decided on Knaresborough for the night. As the TDF is hitting here too its was pretty chaotic so we were unsure if we would get on the site, as we pulled up outside we saw the “site full” sign. Having experienced these signs at CC many times we know they seem to have very little meaning so we drove in and popped into reception – low and behold they aren’t full and we are happily pitched up on site. Another typically good CC site, this one is a little different in that it has a small Bistro on site, good facilities and large pitches so it will do nicely as home for us for one night.
We popped out to stretch our legs earlier and came across Nidd Gorge, which follows the meandering River Nidd with over 15 miles of footpaths through forests and farmland. A very special place where you coukd walk for hours and not see another soul, signs at the entrance told us there were deer around so we went for a walk to see what we could spot. Footpaths are fairly well carved along through the trees and in places there were boardwalks alongside the river. We managed a few miles but alas no deer although we did hear woodpeckers. Back at camp for some tea and an earlyish tonight – tonorrow we have a full day out planned at a modern history theme museum before its finally time to head for the coast for the weekend.