Drawn by the some’uts ‘appening in Grassington rumors (Grassington Festival), we set Fathers Day Outing coordinates for upper Wharfedale in The Yorkshire Dales yesterday. Grassington is one of my favorite places. Even though it gets hammered with tourists with the rest of them, it never seems to sell out, or worse, have that air of ‘us and them’ that so many honeypot tourist destinations have.
Grassington is a hobbity sort of homely place nestled in a stunningly beautiful pocket of Gods Own County. I’m lucky to having been out suppin’ wi’ locals a few times, owing to having some good friends who grew up there. The town seems to have a hunkered down self sufficient quality, largly unaffected by outside forces and the community has its own unique warmth, depth, and distinctive resilience. Isolated but not out of touch, as demonstrated in the current display of it’s arts and culture plumage, in the 15 day event that is, Grassington Festival.
Now, to call this a festival review, would be totally inaccurate. I could call it a Grassington Festival snapshot perhaps, because we didn’t spend a huge amount of time in Grassington proper this time (why? read on..) but the bits we did see were fun. We spent a thoroughly enjoyable half hour in the Market place, entertained by a comedy brass umpah band
whilst being tempted by the local-as-it-gets produce; like the troutie treats from Kilnsey Park and Trout Farm just a couple of miles up stream. There no doubt will be excellent reviews though – of the rich diversity of events on offer – from the small drop in workshops to the big ticket stuff like Jules Holland and The Levelers.
We on the other hand, (the read on bit) headed out of the top of town, to an utterly special bit of ancient woodland, that I’ve had my eye on exploring for years. The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust managed Grass Wood Nature Reserve which sits about a mile of old drover roads or so North-West of Grassington.
We ambled up through the wood dotted with ruined Iron Age settlements, over limestone scars and breathtaking, flower filled clearings. Hazel and Ash being the stallwarts of the Wood part of the equasion, with just a smattering of non deciduous coniferous whilst the Grass clearings displayed an intoxifying mix of grasses and wildflowers. It really did feel like time has stood still there for hundreds of years, or that we’d stepped back in time. The peace and tranquility was tangible – blissful solitude – we didn’t see another soul the whole afternoon. Fathers day wish fulfilled: I got a total immersion in proper nature for me and my family. There was a sub plot to my destination selection though – in the form of a geocache called BeeDee’s Beach View the yonder side of said woods, which has a wide expanse of river beach on its doorstep. (Noted, for a future sporadic sunny day swimming and cray-fishing potential). From there, we walked back down the river into Grassington where we’d left the car. A 5.08 mile (according to my handheld GPS) round trip. We’d zigzagged our way through the woods, it could have been a bit less, but the journey, in this case was the destination.
From there, we caught the tail end of activities in Linton.
A picture perfect little village near Grassington, complete with pub, green, little bridge and (for one day only) a Yorkshire Pudding competition extravaganza. Our friend (who was competing in the Yorkshire Pudding Hat contest) told us of all the great stuff we’d missed, whilst we’d been off being hippies in the woods. Yorkshire Pudding eating contents, Yorkshire Pudding spoon race and all sorts of other genuinely great fun sounding activities. A great atmosphere – mainly locals. It was nice to be a part of all. I also bumped into a fella called Jack that we know who promised me a go in his tractor – to fulfill my 7th year running New Years Resolution. More on that in another post, me thinks.
To top (literally) the day off, our friend scooped a 1st Prize rosette for the toad in the hole themed hat she’d made. A ‘Top’ end to a top day. No wait, the Beef Bourguignon that I’d left on the slow cooker at home for 7 hours whilst we were out, was the ultimate end to a splendid day.