Harrogate, North Yorks.
& a Boat on the Oxford Canal
May / June 2011
Wanting to include Benson in our main holiday of the year, and always wanting to tick things off our 'to do' lists, we came up with the idea of a canal boat holiday. But what if we hated it? We decided on just one week - to be safe! But what about the second week? Returning to the lists, we realised that we had both heard good things about the Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate, but that neither of us had ever been there. So that was it, a week on a canal boat followed by a week in a dog-friendly apartment in North Yorkshire, Except that it became more practical to go to Harrogate first so, after spending a night with our friends Ross and Fizz in the Peak District, we entered England's largest county.
Signs on the M1 south of Leeds led us to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which
sounded like a good way of mixing culture with a good doggy-walk! And
so it proved. Although Benson's arthritis prevented us from exploring
too far, we were fortunate to be able to experience an amazing exhibition by
Spanish sculptor Jaume Pensa.
Harrogate itself proved a great base, with our second floor ("Loft") apartment being right in the centre of town amongst the restaurants and high-class shops. The main attractions of the week however were to be found further afield. Firstly there were Plumpton Rocks (rock formations around a lake), then nearby picturesque Knaresborough. Slightly further afield we spent an afternoon in York, which we found to be similar yet different to our newly-adopted Canterbury.
Day trips took us first through the North Yorkshire Moors to the coast at beautiful (but touristy) Robin Hood Bay and the more low-key Staithes. The next day we headed west into the Yorkshire Dales, including a walk by the Aysgarth Falls and a visit to a Wensleydale creamery in the village of Hawes.
A Narrow Boat on the Oxford Canal
Our friend Tony joined us for the week on the canal boat, as he had never tried it either. We chose the Oxford Canal almost by chance, but were delighted by the countryside we passed through, including parts of Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.
Of course there were days when it wasn't so relaxing - with many locks to pass through - but we would certainly do this again.
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