Christmas in England 2006

DAY 5: Tuesday 26 Dec

York - Wensleydale - Gayle - York

Boxing Day and the weather was a bit brighter. Cloud was lighter but the air temperature was still hovering around 4-6°C. But it was time to see some more of the Yorkshire dales, so we drive north on the A19, through Thirsk then west on the A61 and eventually west on the A684. The road crosses the Ure River at Wensley.

The approach to the bridge over the Ure
Looking downstream on the Ure, from the bridge.
Looking upstream on the Ure.
The village church at Wensley, beside the Ure River.
The bridge at Wensley
A closer view of the bridge.

A few miles west of Wensley is the Aysgarth Falls National Trust. Here the Ure River drops down three waterfalls as it travels west.

The upper Aysgarth Falls
The old mill just downstream of the first falls.
Coppiced tree near the middle falls
Closeup of a coppice
The middle falls
The Welcome signboard - and the PAY HERE instructions

From Aysgarth we continued west to Hawes, the centre of Wensleydale and the home of cheese of the same name. Being Boxing Day, not many of the tourist shops were open, and the cheese factory was not operating (but we have seen cheese factories before so that was not a big issue). However the factory shop was open selling a wide range of Wensleydale cheeses, so we bought a selection and these provided many good snacks through the next week or so. We also bought a slice of fruit cake and some oat biscuits to eat with the cheese. Beside the factory shop is a large cafe, so we stopped there for lunch - a very nice meal too.

Then it was on back to York. I decided to take a country road back, and the road due south from Hawes, through Gayle, looked to be a possibility, especially as the map showed it was very steep in parts, and NOT recommended for large vehicles and buses. I thought this would take us through some wild Yorkshire countryside - and it did. We climbed steeply out of Gayle up the side of Sleddale into a good dense fog. The road climbed from 289 ft asl at Gayle to 600ft asl at the lay-by at Fleet Moss (301 ft in about 2 miles). Not only did we climb, but suddenly at about 580 ft we crossed the freezing level and the temperature plummeted. We were now driving in frozen fog and everything was covered in an amazing hoar-frost. With a strong wind driving it (as the pictures show) the wind chill was very cold.....

We quickly crossed the divide and dropped equally steeply down Oughtershaw Side, through Oughtershaw, Langstrothdale, Hubberholme, Buckden, Starbotton, following the River Wharfe along the B6160 to Grassington and Pateley Bridge and then back to York.

Hoar frost on grass stems, above Hawe, Wensleydale.
Hoar frost forming from freezing fog, driven by a stiff wind.
Hoar on the fence
Barbed wire with hoar frost
Below the freezing level, near Beckermonds
The road at Deepdate
Along the Wharfedale

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Last updated: 30/06/2017