The day was forecast to be cold and rainy, so we decided to do some urban exploring and chose Harrogate as our destination. The Tour de Yorkshire bike race is being held from May 2 to the 5th, and while we thought we had checked the route, we discovered that the race was going right through the centre of Harrogate, and a number of road closures were evident when we got there.
There are a few things to do in Harrogate other than shopping… the two most popular are the Spas and the gardens. None of our party wanted a spa, but if the weather cleared long enough, it would be nice to take in one of the gardens.
Off to the RHS Harlow Carr we went. Our first stop was in Betty’s, a Harrogate tea shop legend. Once refreshed with our tea, the skies dried up and we were game to tackle the gardens, all 68 acres of them!
It is coming up to the spring garden weekend there and even with the dark wet skies, the gardens and planters were flourishing.
(Thanks Gwen for catching the blogger!!)
These reminded me of the tulip festive that we will have waiting for us when we get home!
The living archway in the kitchen garden was just ready to burst!
From there we approached the woodlands and we found a flower a little more indigenous to Ontario!
We took a detour to the Bird Hide to see if we could spot some of the local birds. While a few were flitting around the bird feeders, the grey squirrels seemed to be a little more dominant there. Oh well, onto the stream walk we went.
While ambling down the path we came across a pine tree with purple cones!! Very interesting indeed.
After the stream walk, we did the woodland walk where we witnessed some of the tallest rhododendrons I have ever seen!
I love the way they repurposed this dead tree into a living expression for the woodland.
For a dreary wet day, this garden certainly perked up our spirits…from the intensely blue ground cover ( which I actually thought was plastic covering from a distance)
To a little robin that followed us for a short way…
We felt rejuvenated and ready to tackle the obstacle course out of town as we tried to avoid the race path.
After about 30 minutes, we arrived in the small town of Thirst where we decided to stop for lunch. This town was the home base for James Harriot where we passed by his former surgery. Quite a thrill for a fan of All Creatures Great and Small!
After lunch we tackled the roads back to Richmond. We managed to avoid the Tour de Yorkshire and saw some spectacular scenery along the way! Such a dramatic contrast here between the bright yellow fields of Canola, the fish greens of spring and the threatening dark clouds of this wet cold day!
We arrived back home late afternoon, and decided that there was time for a short walk around the Richmond Castle walls before supper. Off we went again, only this time we explored the Swale from outside the towering walls of the castle!
In the distance you can see Culloden Tower which was built as a folly during the Scottish clearances…
The castle keep makes an imposing backdrop to this quiet town and gentle Swale River.
After a wonderful dinner at the Taj Mahal we headed back to the house for a nightcap. Tomorrow we are off to Bamburgh Castle. For all you “Last Kingdom” fans this would be Bebanburgh Castle! Looking forward to telling you all about our adventures tomorrow!