In July Doncaster Outsiders visited Ripon, the little city with a big heart. It sits on the edge of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. An enthusiastic bunch of B walkers started with the customary group photo, this time in front of the cathedral. Group B love to linger, to explore and really get a feel for the place that they are in. If you had asked them, they probably would have told you that the cathedral was built in 1180, commissioned by the Archbishop of York, with a 7th century crypt lying within. From there they circuited the ancient city, then dropped down onto Borrage Lane, to follow the River Skell out of Ripon.
The cathedral bells chimed 10 o’clock and Group A, eager to get some miles under their belts, strode out of the city to Studley Royal. Studley Royal is a deer park, home to 300 wild red, fallow and sika deer. It neighbours Fountains Abbey and today both properties are jointly owned by the National Trust. Together they have been awarded Unesco World Heritage status. Fountains Abbey was formerly one of the largest Cisterian abbeys in England. It is well worth a visit, when you have time. Group A, continued through Studley Royal, past St Mary’s Church and bypassed Fountains Abbey.
Meanwhile, still on Borrage Lane, it was time for Leader Ash’s self-proclaimed Geek Spot at the former home of Wilfed Owen……… the war poet who sadly never lived to see the end of the horror about which he wrote. Lunch was taken at the magnificent medieval Markenfield Hall, just beyond the walls of Studley Royal. The hall is the best preserved 14th century building of its type in the country.
Group A continued westwards to Aldfield then dropped south through woods and past serene ponds. Monks from Fountains Abbey fished here in centuries gone by. Now swans keep sentinel over the ponds and environs. Today we were in luck – they let us through.
Under constantly changing skies, both groups headed through fields of beautiful wildflowers, newly mown hay and barely ripe corn.
We all met at The Yorkshire Hussar Inn in Markington, awaited by the Blond White Witch, one of the best beers ever, or so I am told. Some of us had a most enjoyable afternoon walk to Ripley, where we partook of an ice-cream from the ice-cream parlour. Another fabulous day. Thank you to John and to Ash for leading. Photos here have kindly been shared by Carol, Begona and Viv.
Next month’s walk is to Cragg Vale on August 11th, led by Ash and Viv. Our route is along the Pennine Way, with glorious views over the valleys, weather permitting. Hope to see you there.