What a great weekend at Knaresborough and while the news was saturated with stories of floods in Wales and heavy rainfall across the rest of the country we seemed to have missed the lot and it was shorts and tee shirt weather for most of the weekend and just one or two very slight showers.
This was our first visit to the Caravan Club site at Knaresborough and very nice it was too. The pitches were very generous and the facilities were the usual caravan club high standard.
It must also be said that the two wardens we had dealings with were really nice. We're going to have to come across some horrible, grumpy wardens again soon or we'll have to change our view that 50% are good and 50% are bad.
This club site is also slightly unique in that it has its own restaurant/ bistro bar. Although we didn't use it on this visit it looked nice from the outside. There was a large conservatory area and a nice outdoor seating area. If the evening weather had been a little warmer and brighter we might have had a sociable drink or two sat outside. We were however a little put off from going inside as the smell of cooked food was quite strong and we were worried that a short stay inside would leave us covered head to toe in Eau De Kitchen.
Turning right at the site entrance and a short walk into Scotton and there is a pretty village pub that also did food, again though we didn't use it on this visit.
There are several ways of getting into Knaresborough from the site. There is a walk of about 2 3/4 miles along a riverbank path which we opted against as there had been some wet weather prior to our arrival and the wardens advised that the river path could get quite muddy and slippery.
A second walk, along the main road into Knaresborough is about 1 1/2 miles but in places the path is quite narrow and the traffic can be quite heavy.
There is one section when the road is at its narrowest and is flanked on both sides by high limestone walls, which was scary when we drove through it in Myrtle on the way to the site and the thought of walking on the narrow paths through this same section was just, if not slightly more daunting than having had to drive through it. The same to would apply to cycling into Knaresborough along this route also.
The option we plumped for was the good old bus which stopped directly outside the site.
The bus drivers, that clearly have to drive through this route several times a day, seem to have become oblivious to how close they were to either the wall or the oncoming traffic at times. We however, along with a few of the other passengers on the bus held our breath and gripped the seat rail in front of us tightly on quite a few occasions when travelling through this section in anticipation of a scraping noise as the bus came within inches of the wall or a possible crunch should we collide with the oncoming traffic.
I guess a little scratch on the side of the bus isn't as devastating to the bus driver as a scratch on the side of your motorhome and they seemed to fly through the spaces we had crawled through only a few hours earlier.
Be aware this bus service isn't all that frequent and doesn't run too late into the evening either, last bus from Knaresborough 6PM. That said if the worst happened and you missed your return bus there is always the option to take the short walk back or grab a taxi if the weather was bad.
A return to Knaresborough, including the two white knuckle rides, was £3.50 each so for a party of four I'm guessing a taxi wouldn't have been much more expensive but maybe not as thrilling.
On Friday we got the 3pm bus into Knaresborough and 6pm return and on Saturday we got the 11am to Knaresborough 6pm return again.
During our Friday visit to Knaresborough we paid the £6.00 each to visit Mother Shiptons Caves which includes the dramatically named Petrifying Well. I suppose you've got to see these things when you're in the area but a mile walk, a cave, a poor statuette of Old Mother Shipton, a petrifying well with a few teddies hung up to go hard so they could be sold for £30 a pop in the small shop which doubled as a quite under whelming museum wasn't great value for money. Putting to one side what you get to see, which isn't spectacular, and basing it purely on pounds sterling to a minutes consumed ratio it certainly isn't worth twelve of my hard earned English pounds. Things would have been a whole lot worse if it wasn't for the fact that H paid for this one.
After visiting the petrifying wishing well witch thing we walked into Knaresborough for a smooch around and after a while we ended up down at the riverside on the opposite bank to the Mother Shipton Caves at The Marigold Cafe. The cafe shares a spot on the river where the blue rowing boats can be hired as opposed to the other place further up river where you can hire the red rowing boats.
If you ignore the strong Yorkshire accents of the waiter and waitresses, the Marigold Cafe has quite a continental feel about it. We sat on stools on a veranda adjacent to the water and our table was a wooden top fastened to the veranda rail which I thought was an excellent idea.
We can recommend the cream scones which we had, sat in the same spot, not only on Friday but also on the Saturday and Sunday too.
Town centre pubs were plentiful and the few we visited were either quaint or quirky. The Blind Jack was our favourite and this was especially quaintly quirky.
Saturday was Knaresborough Bed Race Day and I think I'm right in saying this is Knaresborough's biggest one event of the year.
Ninety beds or teams, which officially consist of six bed pushers and one passenger take part.
Prior to the race the beds are decorated and the competitors dress up to a different theme each year.
The theme this year was Olympic Countries, beds didn't need to take on an Olympic theme but a theme associated with their allotted Olympic country.
Firstly the dressed beds gather in the grounds of Knaresborough Castle for public viewing and judging.
Shortly after this the beds and there various entourages are paraded though the streets of Knaresborough, accompanied by several marching bands and eventually arrive at Conyngham Hall Fields which acts as the start and finishing point for the bed race its self.
After all the fun and colour of the bed viewing and parade the actual race it self is quite a serious sporty thing for most of the teams taking part.
The beds are stripped of all regalia and pushers strip to proper running gear.
Serious teams selected the lightest and smallest passenger they can to reduce weight on the bed. A rule states the passenger must be at least school year six at the time of the race and I can only assume this is to stop the most serious of teams strapping a new born baby to the bed. Year six school year age is between 10 and 11 I think and some passenger did seem very young and easily broken.
The passenger must wear a helmet at all times and have an air horn, phew that's alright then they've got protection, and the bed which little resembles a conventional bed must also be within a certain maximum and minimum size criteria and must also be able to float for a minimum of ten minutes as there is a river crossing to negotiate close to the end of the race.
Beds set off at 10 second timed intervals and it was predicted that the fasted teams would complete the course in under 15minutes with the slower teams usually taking twice this time.
Apparently the course has been altered over the years to make it safer and there were sufficient Hi-Vis vests on duty to ensure that any breach of health and safety would be instantaneously squashed and everyone seemed to be enjoying the event, us included.
We walked most of the course on Sunday and were well a truly knackered, especially after walking up the long steep climb of Castle Ings Rd back into the town centre so hats off to the 630 competitor that took part and especially the winning team, Ripon Runners who completed the course in 14 minutes 43 seconds.
An amazing time considering two thirds of this years teams took over 30 minutes and the last few teams took nearer 50 minutes.
I'd be up for the dressing up a bit part and would even consider being a bed passenger, if there was a team strong enough to push me around the course but that's about it.
This was a spectacular event and even though I say so myself I am a cracking spectator and will continue to stick to what I do best, watch.
Sunday was another good day.
We left the site at about 11 o'clock and drove into Knaresborough and parked at Conyngham Country Park where the bed race had started and finished the day before.
We strolled around Knaresborough and visited the Marigold cafe for one last time before heading home at 2 o'clock.
Another good weekend away and our last before our 10 day trip to Newquay.