One thing we have learned in our travels is that our friends oftentimes have adventures they have always wanted to experience but never taken the time. This is how we found ourselves on a steam train from Skipton to Carlisle. Our host Karin commented that she had always wanted to take a steam train across the dales of northern England but had never fulfilled her dream in the 14 years she has lived in England.
So, I booked a trip on the Dalesman, a steam locomotive pulling classic passenger cars from Skipton to Carlisle across the hills and dales of northern England. The passenger cars were wonderful, the steam locomotive was impressive, the the English countryside was glorious.
It was a great experience but could have been improved if we were taking the train to an actual destination rather than an out and back trip to Carlisle. Carlisle is not on anyone’s top ten places to visit in England. Actually, it is probably not on anyone’s top 50. It is also possible that my travel/budget mind could not appreciate a train ride for the beauty of a train ride, the journey rather than the destination.
I could more easily wrap my head around a $150 first class ticket riding in style on a steam train to a destination like Edinburgh where we would stay a few days. Regardless, it was a great day with great friends, and it is always fun to fulfill someone’s travel dreams even if it involves a round trip ticket to Carlisle.
Later in the week we walked the beachfront at Morecambe Bay with a nice lunch in Morecambe followed by a visit to the 1000 year old church and graveyard at Heysham. A beautiful setting overlooking the bay where we encountered the odd headstone of Sarah Hannah Jones, “Poet Philosopher and Failure”. I googled Sarah and found many comments on the headstone but no explanation of the epitaph. If you can enlighten me, please do.
Heysham is beautiful, I was just being artsy with the filters
Since our arrival Karin and Fredrick had promised a trip to Wallings Ice Cream in neighboring Cockerham. It is a destination Ice Creamery and once promised I refused to let them forget.
On our last day in Lancaster they drove out to Wallings where we each selected two scoops from the 40 or more flavors. Unlike most Ice Cream shops two scoops at Wallings should really be categorized as two flavors because I watched as she piled about 6 scoops total onto my waffle cone. A delicious meal…or two. For just £3.50.
Later that evening we joined Karin and Fredrik for quiz night at the Brit, a local pub. Quiz night in England is like trivia night in the US. I usually consider myself above average at trivia. Obviously they had heard of my trivia expertise so they handicapped my game by reading the questions in English, just not any English I had heard before. So, half of the time were staring at each other saying “what did he say”. Was that even English? And then they threw in topics like famous television actors, from British shows I had never heard of. Next, the home towns of rock bands which might have been in my wheel house if it weren’t British bands I had never heard of who came from towns I had never heard of. Honestly, did you know the Specials or that the were formed in Coventry? Or that the Human League came from Birmingham? Needless to say, our team did not win, we managed 5th out of 8, but we were the team that had traveled the farthest to participate.
As our stay in Lancaster came to a close our hosts insisted on driving us to our next stop in Knaresborough. Pronounced Nasbru, just forget all of those extra letters, this is England where they invented the language and can make up the rules of spelling. Karin said she hated to see us go but they may have decided to drive us just to insure we were really gone. Either way, the plan was a scenic drive across Lancashire and Yorkshire. I wanted to go by way of Giggleswick, just because I wanted to see a town named Giggleswick. But Fredrik assured me the northern route would be much more scenic. I am sure it was very scenic but the fog and driving rain prevented us from seeing much of anything. We made it safely to Knaresborough in time for lunch and planned to rent boats and go rowing on the river Nidd. However, no one really wanted to row in the pouring rain so after lunch we sat in a riverside restaurant enjoying a beverage and watching it rain. We bid our hosts a tearful goodbye, though the tears might have been rain, then checked into our BnB, the lovely Newton House.
The beauty of an English BnB is the British breakfast included in the price. Eggs, sausage, bacon, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns, black pudding (don’t ask) and toast. I thought I had the whole BnB thing down so when our host asked for my order I was ready with “eggs over easy and wheat toast”. I had failed to see the menu card which listed about 10 different breakfasts in addition to the standard British. So, imagine my disappointment when she did not deliver the standard British breakfast with eggs over easy and wheat toast but just two eggs over easy and two pieces of wheat toast, and nothing else. Recovering from my disappointing breakfast we headed out on an almost sunny day allowing for a walk around the castle, along the river and a nice row in a rowboat all without rain. A very nice stop in a pretty English town called Nasbru but spelled the proper English way Knaresborough.