Our first stop was the James Herriot museum in the village of Thirsk. (If you have read the books or seen the TV show, Thirsk is the real name for "Darrowby", the village where Harriot lived and practiced.) Here are David and me outside the museum:
Here's a picture of Alf Wight, the real James Herriot from the museum:
and the recreated dining room of "Skeldale House":
It seemed appropriate to be greeted by a playful cat as we walked down the street after leaving the museum:
And in Thirsk I found something near and dear to my heart: the local knitters had been yarn bombing!
Soon after leaving Thirsk, we stopped by for a look at Middleham Castle, the "childhood and favorite home of Richard III". There wasn't much to see there besides the outer walls. The castle had been damaged by fighting during Richard III and then (like a whole lot of castles, apparently) torn up a lot more during the Reformation. Still, pretty cool!
And shortly after that, we passed a pretty spot which was used as a location in a popular movie set in the time of a different King Richard:
After Alan realised I loved castles, he added a stop at Bolton Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was once held prisoner:
Our next treat was a drive through the high dales. We went across some ridiculously narrow roads -- the kind where you pray nobody's going to show up and want to pass you! -- through an amazing landscape. All that grows there is rough grass sort of stuff. It's bleak but has its own sort of beauty. Farmers let their sheep loose there, since they like that sort of grass. They leave them out there all summer and collect them for the cold winter weather -- fattened up without any of the farmers' money spent on sheep food. Apparently sheep have a strong homing instinct so it's not as hard as we might think to sort out whose sheep is whose. Many of them also have spots of paint on their backs, which identify their owners.
A notable landmark on the way was the Tan Hill Inn, "Britain's Highest Public House" at 1,732 feet above sea level. Not very high by Canadian standards, but I can tell you it feels pretty high and remote when you're there.
Back down nearer civilization, we ended our tour by visiting several spots where exterior shots of the TV "Darrowby" were made. These two places were used in the opening credits:
It was a truly wonderful day. I first read the Herriot books when I was a teenager, several decades ago, and now I finally can picture what this beautiful part of England looks and feels like.