Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Beyond the Buttermart - Barnard Castle

 Beyond the Buttermarket in Barnard Castle

The Buttermart or Market Cross in Barnard Castle is an iconic landmark in the town. The Buttermart, as the name  suggests, was once used as a market place for butter and dairy products.  The enclosed building above the veranda was once a jail but the golden weather vane at the very top can lay claim the most interesting story.  The two holes in the vane were made by bullets, fired in response to a challenge in 1804.  Two local marksmen took aim and fired from the door of the Turk's Head -  a range of 100 yards!  Barnard Castle is just over the North Yorkshire / Co Durham border and makes a great day out when staying at Pry House Farm or Hillcrest Cottage. 


But what lies beyond the Buttermart?  Beyond the Buttermart is called The Bank.  The Bank, for many years, has been well known for its many antique shops. Infact you will still find half a dozen excellent antique shops to browse and enjoy.  However it doesn't stop there. 
Beyond the Buttermart is fast becoming the Artisan quarter in Barnard Castle.  Several new shops selling an ecclectic range of goods have now opened their door including The Hand Crafter's Hub who support local art and crafters

The Old Curiosity Shop, home of David Harper Arts, is full of unusual finds.  Colourful and quirky, its one of Beyond the Buttermart's 'must call in shops' 

The Antique Centre at the bottom of The Bank is divided into small spaces for individual dealers to sell their wares.  Robson's Antiques is the oldest established antique shop on The Bank.

Without doubt, the most impressive, intriguing and interesting building in the whole of Barnard Castle is Blaygraves House.  Not only the oldest house in the town but one of the most historic, from rafters to cellars.  This 15th century building has links with Richard 111, the princes in the tower and Oliver Cromwell, who lodged and dined here. Its attics were once a brewery and its cellars or dungeons are reputed to have had a passageway leading to Egglestone Abbey or The Castle itself. Who made their escape via this passageway, I wonder?
Today Blaygraves House is a fine restaurant serving the very best food in historic surroundings.

Sitting comfortably amongst the antique & collectable shops is Claire International Ltd bespoke knitwear, Tinkerdog Computers and Connelly's Toyshop.  Connelly's seems to be have on The Bank forever, an independent toy shop selling traditional & modern toys and baby goods and still as much in demand as when my children were small  If you are having computer problems then Ben at Tinkerdog is your man.  So knowledgeable, so nice - he will have you fixed and away in no time

Of course there is more to Barnard Castle than Beyond the Bank.  The Bowes Museum is internationally renowned and holds exceptional exhibitions, artwork, ceramics and events  The Castle itself is well worth a visit.  Sitting on a high rock on the edge of the town but only a minutes walk from the market place, the castle ruins and grounds make the perfect escape from the busy shops, cafes and eateries 

Whatever you choose to do when you visit Barnard Castle you are guaranteed a great day out.  Town trail maps can be found in the bed & breakfast and Hillcrest Cottage and all the shops in Barney.  Have a good time!

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Circular Walk in Reeth via the Swing Bridge

 Circular Walk from Reeth via the Swing Bridge

A lovely walk for walkers of all abilities. Suitable for families.

Approximately 3.5 miles of easy going along woodland and riverside paths that take you to the impressive Swing Bridge and then through pastures back to Reeth.

Leave your car in the centre of Reeth.  There is always plenty of parking on the green.  Walk down the hill and follow the road across the bridge.  Keep on the footpath on the right until you see the sign for Fremington.  Immediately opposite the village sign is a gate and fingerpost directing you to Grinton.

Follow this path until you come to a gated stile in the centre of Grinton Bridge.

Through the gate, turn right and cross the bridge. The Bridge Inn is on the left and the church of St Andrew, the parish church of Grinton is on the right.  The church is at the end of the Swaledale Corpse Way and was where people who died in the upper dale were brought to be buried.

A few yards past the church turn right signposted Harkerside and the Swale Trail.

Follow the road for about 300 yards past some lovely cottages.  Just before the road rises take a right hand track with a fingerpost directing you along the Swale Trail.

The track runs adjacent to fields and the river and is surrounded by magnificent scenery.

There's an abundance of interesting wildlife to be seen on the river and the tree lined footpath is bordered with wild flowers, shrubs and ferns. 

After a while the landscape opens up.  The path leads to a gate and a small wooden bridge.  Here is where we leave the Swale Trail and turn right, over the wooden bridge towards the impressive Swing Bridge.

Sandmartins nest along the banks of the river here.  Look out for Oyster Catchers, Greylag Geese and Mallard ducks.

After crossing the Swing Bridge turn left.  This is a new path as the old path (right when you cross the bridge) has been closed due to erosion.  I prefer the new path, it is well maintained with duck boarding and footbridges and clear waymarkers.

Look out for a sharp right hand turn as a gate and a fingerpost direct you to double back through a wooded area back in the direction of Reeth.

The path rises and the walk is now in green pastures. The river and the Swing Bridge has been left behind, way below on the right.  Follow the green path through several gated squeeze stiles until it becomes a vehicle track that passes the playpark and the doctor's surgery.

Make your way through the houses and back to Reeth Green for a well earned cup of tea, refreshments or an ice-cream.  My favourite is the Overton Cafe.  I can recommend the cheese scones!


Thursday, 3 June 2021

Keld Charity Tractor Run - May 2021

 Keld Charity Tractor Run 2021 in aid of Parkinsons UK

On Sunday 29th May 2021 twenty six tractors and their passengers left Pry House Farm, Keld in Upper Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales on a 28 mile run to raise funds for Parkinsons UK.

The tractors passed through the villages of Thwaite and Muker before heading towards the open fell and some tricky off-road sections.

From start to finish the sun shone in the bluest of skies.  As the tractors trundled along, smiles were broad, children waved and people gave most generously.  The atmosphere was amazing!

The Yorkshire flag was flying, Parkinsons t-shirts were worn with pride and the Parkinsons UK balloons, tied to tractor mirrors & grills, helped to promote the cause.

Leaving the leafly lanes in the valley bottom behind the tractors make their way up on to the open fell 

and further still to the top of the world!

The tractors come in all colour ........

shapes .....

....... and sizes

Some carry passengers in specially designed seats ....

....... however modern tractors have passenger seats as standard. 

After several miles of tractor driving the lunch stop is a welcome break.

A time to relax, catch up with like minded friends and generally talk tractors!

From the oldest tractor driver to the youngest passenger (on her very first tractor run!) everyone had a memorable and enjoyable day.

We chose Parkinsons UK as this year's charity to support our good friend Caroline who has had Parkinsons for 19 years.  As with all conditions it is only through dedicated research that progress is made and the benefits passed on to those who need them.  The tractor run, raffle and generous donations from well wishers and by standers made in excess of £1000.  A huge thank you to everyone who helped to raise this fantastic total which far exceeded anything we could have dreamed of.