Tuesday, August 30

Grim up North? Anything but...

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have detected a distinct lack of activity on both the WME Blog and my Flickr photostream recently. There is a simple explanation for this - I've been on holiday, enjoying a fortnight or so in Yorkshire beginning with a week-long stay in Richmond and concluding with some cricket at Headingley. Here's what I've been up to...

Saturday 13th August: The journey up to Richmond and a chance to settle in to our North Yorkshire base in a cosy cottage just outside the town centre. Richmond is a fascinating place with plenty of history provided by the medieval castle, rushing River Swale and a cobbledy marketplace.

Sunday 14th August: A relaxing morning in Richmond, sampling a home-cooked Sunday roast in the Talbot complete with a proper Yorkshire pudding. An afternoon walk takes us to the village of Hudswell where the George and Dragon pub offers local brews from Black Sheep and Daleside.

Monday 15th August: venturing out across moor and dale with a spectacular tour that takes in the remoteness of Reeth and the bleak beauty of Hawes. Leyburn offers traditional fish and chips (cooked with dripping no less) and we also squeeze in some cheese-tasting at the Wensleydale Creamery.

Tuesday 16th August: A damp morning gives way to a brighter afternoon so we decide to dip into Darlington. The town was far from being the drab industrial wasteland I'd wrongly anticipated and I thoroughly enjoyed getting photos of the market place, railway station and Feethams cricket ground.

Wednesday 17th August: delving deeper into the Dales with a stunning drive down to Grassington and Pateley Bridge. It's then over to Masham where we can sample the ales direct from the Black Sheep and Theakstons brewery taps - wonderful stuff!

Thursday 18th August: Northallerton beckons with it's long High Street and a chance for more railway photos. Back to Richmond for the afternoon as the Ship Inn on Frenchgate catches my eye for a swift half.

Friday 19th August: Up into County Durham with a visit to Barnard Castle, prominently placed as a gateway to Teesdale. Another traditional chip shop lunch is supplemented by the occasional bus photo on Galgate, then we call in at Gilling West where the White Swan is hosting a mini beer festival.

Monday 22nd August: After a couple of days back home restocking my suitcase, I join forces with Mr Beardsmore Esquire for the Yorkshire vs Warwickshire County Championship match at Headingley. We're actually staying in the Lodge at the ground, hence views of the pitch direct from the room. Once settled in we enjoy a genteel evening in Harrogate, admiring the pump rooms and bath house before taking to somewhat different waters in Hales Bar and the Coach & Horses.

Tuesday 23rd August: Play is underway at Headingley and a depleted Bears attack do a good job to dismiss Yorkshire for 297, Gary Ballance topscoring with 57 and giving us much pun ammunition. Our evening entertainment is provided by a wander into Kirkstall, a busy Leeds suburb on the main A65 road towards Ilkley.

Wednesday 24th August: A day of solid Warwickshire batting with Shivnarine Chanderpaul especially masterful to be 167 not out overnight. We sample the liveliness of Leeds this time around, with Whitelocks Luncheon Bar proving a delightful discovery, hidden away up an alleyway but purveying excellent real ales.

Thursday 25th August: Warwickshire manoeuvre themselves into a position of increasing dominance, Chanderpaul finishing with 193 and Keith Barker 85. This leaves Yorkshire facing a first innings deficit of 185 and they crumble either side of the tea interval; 127 all out and Warwickshire have won by an innings and 58 runs - what a result! We celebrate with a mooch around Headingley where the Arcadia Bar has a pleasant continental vibe despite being a shopfront in the Arndale Centre.

Friday 26th August: A spare day being as the cricket finished early, just as well we won given the weather we now have to contend with. We put the day to good use roving around Wakefield and Ilkley - I seem to be developing a taste for Yorkshire Curd Tarts from Bettys!

Saturday 27th August: Suddenly it's all over as we head to Leeds Station to catch the train home. Yorkshire has made a real impression on me these last two weeks with lovely scenery and warm hospitality - it just goes to prove that the old grim adage is complete and utter tosh.

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