So, after our brief pitstop in Hereford to unload the van we set off on a lovely sunny morning for the four hour drive back “up north”.
As it was a Sunday the traffic was nowhere near as heavy as it was for the drive down last Friday, so once on the motorway I set the cruise control to 56 mph and off we went. I have found that on a long journey this gives me about 26-28 mpg (compared to 16-17 mpg around town this is good!). Also it means that there is no need to overtake anything as normally everyone else is going a lot faster, which is why it is a more enjoyable journey with no stress.
We stopped off at a service station after about two hours and Angela made us a brew and a snack, after which I had a walk around to stretch the legs before setting off for the last leg of our journey.
We were heading for a campsite called Ripley Caravan Park which is in a place called Ripley! ???? it is four miles away from Harrogate and a bus stop is just a short walk away as is the pretty little village of Ripley. Apparently Ripley is world famous for ice cream!
We had a nice greeting from Ian and once all of the formalities were over we followed him in his golf buggy and he took us to our pitch and explained where everything was. All of the staff we met were friendly.
The campsite is quite full as it is still half term so there are a few children around. I know that this puts some people off but as long as they are well behaved it does not bother us and it is nice to hear the sound of laughter. After all we were young once were we not?
For the children on site there is a playground, playing field, a playroom which has table tennis and a pool table, a small swimming pool which is only £1.00 for a child and £1.50 for an adult and a sauna.
There is a little lake that has lots of ducks that like to be fed and are so used to people that they will quite happily take bread from your hand as I proved.
The toilet block is fine, powerful showers with plenty of hot water. In the ladies there are personal washing cubicles but not in the mens. The washing up area although we did not use it was clean and tidy. We would definitely come here again.
The shop is well stocked in case you have forgotten to bring any essentials.
Monday we got the bus into Harrogate which cost us £8.00 for two returns. The buses are every 15 minutes and from the site to the bus stop is only a short walk (10 minutes max).
It was a chilly day so we had a quick mooch around before going for a coffee. We went to the Turkish Baths to book Dean an hour long Turkish aromatic massage for his birthday on Wednesday and had a look at Betty’s tea room. It is always very busy and there is generally a queue which at peak times can be rather long. Our plan is to go there after Dean has had his massage.
Turkish Baths were common in Victorian times and only seven remain which date back to the 19th Century. Harrogate has the most complete and full working order one.
It is decorated and designed in a Moorish theme with great Islamic arches and screens, walls of vibrant glazed brickwork, the arabesque painted ceilings and terrazzo floors laid by Italian experts all add to its historic fantasy qualities.
After a bit more exploring we got the bus back to the site for a nice cosy evening.
Tuesday we decided to go out for a walk into the village of Ripley to explore.
The village which is only small has a French feel to it and we later found out that the then owner of the village called Ingilby had actually moved it to its current position and built it in the style of a region in the Alsace after visiting there.
We went into the church first which was very nice and very relaxing. A nice touch we thought was that at the back of the church there were about four photo albums with pictures from weddings that had taken place there.
Outside in the churchyard was an old Weeping Cross which according to the sign is the only one
left in existence. We walked around some of the headstones before going for a walk along the edge of Ripley Castle grounds passing by a lovely waterfall feature that flowed under a bridge.
As it was a nice day we carried on walking alongside the perimeter wall for a bit longer. We saw over the wall a large herd of deer who were also taking full advantage of the sunshine. We continued on for a bit longer chatting as we often do on a walk and before we knew it we had gone so far that we decided that as it was a perimeter wall it should take us back to where we started! That is all well and good but what we did not know was how large the estate was!!!
We were correct in assuming that we would eventually get back to the start and we think we had walked about 3 miles which is not a lot but we did not take any water with us so when we got back to the village we were pleased to see that Ripley Stores did take away foods. They did a meal deal, sandwich, crisps and coffee as well as home made pork pies, Cornish pasties, quiches and a mixture of cakes…….yumm!
Just outside were four picnic benches where you could sit and eat your treats as we did, whilst watching the world go by surrounded by a mixture of chickens and a large cockerel.
We both had a coffee each and Angela went for a pork and relish pie while I went for a lovely Cornish pastie.
Wednesday, Dean’s 47th birthday! Got the bus into Harrogate, went to Starbucks (other coffee shops are available!) had a coffee and a panini before Dean went to the Turkish Baths and Angela went off for some retail therapy.
I was told when I booked the massage that I could arrive early to use the jacuzzi so after checking in at reception I was shown to the changing room, given a bath robe and told to get changed before being escorted to the spa room. I could stay here making use of the facilities and would be collected when Hayley, my masseuse was ready for me.
The water temperature was lovely and after hitting the button at the edge of the pool the bubbles soon began to build until my body was being pummelled from all angles. I have been suffering with a bad back for a few weeks now so this was lovely and by now I was really looking forward to the massage.
I was collected by one of the team and taken to my treatment room, given a form to fill in and waited for Hayley. She came and greeted me, went through the form and we went into a room that had very low lighting, was nice and warm, smelled wonderful with all the aromatic oils and relaxing music was going on in the background…..is this what heaven is like?
As I was having a Turkish Aromatic Massage there were five options of customised blends of aromatherapy oils to choose from depending on how you wanted to feel at the end of it.
As I like Patchouli oil I opted for Aqua which was a blend of geranium, patchouli and coriander this should leave me moisturised and renewed,
Back, neck and shoulder 30 minutes is £35.00 or as I had full body 60 mins £56.00
Well what can I say………it was a great birthday present, I felt great when I came out but knew I was going to ache later and the day after. Yes it is relaxing but she worked hard on my joints which were tight and knotted.
Angela met me afterwards but as the queue was long for Betty’s we went to the Pitcher and Piano for a Gin & Tonic! After all tea is tea and as famous as the tea room is we were not prepared to queue and pay about £4.00 for a pot to be served by someone dressed up in all of the regalia. I can get a pot of tea in the motorhome and have Angela dress up in one of her uniforms for half the price but that is for another story!!!!!
We stopped off at good old M&S for some goodies and went home for a lovely evening.