After about a month in St Andrews staying with my dad, we set off for our next adventure about the middle of July. On our last trip around England we mostly stayed in B&B’s, but this trip was mostly timeshares, supplemented with a couple of B&B’s. The schedule included Manchester, Yorkshire, Lake District, Henley-on-Thames, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. We were due back in St Andrews by Aug 24th, as we had Edinburgh Tattoo tickets on the 26th.
Heading down to Manchester to spend a few days with our daughter-in-law’s mum, the fastest route would have been down the M74/M6/M61/M60 & M67. However, I planned a circuitous and scenic route through Scotland’s southern uplands, then crisscrossing the Pennines, which are considered the UK’s backbone. Heading south, the weather was dreadful, with low cloud and almost continuous heavy rain. After a few hours, we stopped in Hawick for a spot of tea. Returning to the car, we noted the moors were completely covered with surface clouds, so we changed plans, heading for the A68 then down the A1(M). Little did we know, but the weather that day was going to be all too common an occurrence throughout most of this trip.
After 3 days in Glossop, just outside of Manchester, we headed back north to spend a week in Yorkshire, staying at the Sutton Hall timeshare, located about 3 miles east of Thirsk, on the A170. The timeshare is located in a Grade II listed 18th Century Manor House, which was converted into 8 apartments. In addition, they have an additional 6 modern cottages in the grounds. We were assigned one of the cottages. The resort was well located, clean and met our purposes; however, it was definitely a more basic resort than our home Worldmark resorts. Regardless, we had a most enjoyable and comfortable stay.
Our patio from the lawn
Staying for a week, we used this as our base for a whirlwind tour of the local highlights – Moors, Dales, Whitby, Scarborough and James Herriot World in Thirsk.
A small market town in North Yorkshire, it is better known as Darrowby, the fictional home of country vet and author James Herriot. We both read the books many years ago and enjoy watching episodes of All Creatures Great & Small; therefore, visiting the James Herriot Museum on day 1 was an easy decision. I am reading the books again, and having visited the house and surrounding area, it provides an excellent perspective.
Skeldale House – Vet’s home & surgery
Above is their actual home and surgery, which is now a museum. If you’ve watched the TV programs, you wouldn’t recognise the building, as most filming took place about 40 miles away around Askrigg in the Dales.
Vet’s Plaques by front door
So who are the owners of the plaques?? Well, Dr J.A. Wight or James Alfred “Alf” Wight, is better known as James Herriott and Dr D.V. Sinclair or Donald Vaughan Sinclair, is better known as Siegfried Farnon.
Tickets are purchased from the giftshop, currently UKP 8.50 for adults. They can also be purchased in advance from the website. With tickets, you depart the shop and walk the few yards to the front door, by the plaques. Entering the front door, we immediately noted the long passageway, as described in the books. At the end you turn right, entering another long passageway with 2 doors.
Living Room – where the books were written
Dinning Room opposite the Lounge
Past the lounge and dinning room, the passageway turns left, leading to the consulting rooms and kitchen.
One of the consulting rooms/dispensary
The kitchen leads out to the garden, which provides access to a number of attractions. At the back of the house they have set up a mock TV studio.
Stairs from the TV series
Dinning room from TV series
The highlight is probably the actual car used in the TV episodes – The Austin 7.
The old stables are set up with a Farrier’s Demo, a series of information boards and a 15 min film narrated by Christopher Timothy.
Upstairs is a series of rooms displaying memorabilia, old veterinary instruments, a kids educational playroom and a variety of other information and displays. The self-guided tour ends back in the gift shop.
Cobble-Stoned market square, a short walk from the Herriot museum
Driving around the local area we also recognised a number of areas discussed in the books. The most notable was the monster hill, with 2 hairpin bends about 6 miles east of Thirsk.
Yes – it really was a 25% incline for about 1 mile
In one of the books he discussed descending the hill in his car, which was totally devoid of brakes, or taking a significant detour. He took the hill, and having both ascended and descended the hill and associated curves, I certainly wouldn’t try it without brakes. As a side note, this road has numerous signs that caravans (RV’s) are banned from attempting this hill. I’ve hauled our 16,000 lb trailer up 12%, but 25% is not worth even contemplating.
All in all an excellent day. It was raining, so this is an excellent rainy day attraction. We spent a most enjoyable almost 4 hours wandering around the museum and reading all the information.