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Harrogate Weekend - December 2014

There were twenty-five of us for the pre-Christmas break, all but one staying at the Cairn Hotel, a large Victorian hotel which we visited in 2011.

On Friday Chris led a short walk for those that arrived early.

On Saturday we woke to a crisp and sunny Winters day. The A party drove in cars to the upper reaches of Nidderdale a few miles beyond Pateley Bridge. Here we found an unspoiled and dramatic dale with villages which seemed to be in a timewarp. Apart from a shooting party, we were the only walkers in the dale. We had a short pre-lunch break at an activity centre which offered gorge walking and abseiling in a local deep gorge/ravine, where the men took advantage of a wetsuit/changing room labelled 'for Tups' for a comfort break. After a short and invigorating climb up to a shooting lodge overlooking the valley, we continued walking along the wild moorland and met some runners running a race around the dale. We finally arrived back to the cars after a short walk along the road beside the reservoir. The B party caught the bus to Ripon and walked to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden via the medieval deer park. Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England. There were some National Trust members among us so at least two of us were able to get in free. We spent some time looking around, and made use of the tea shop. After walking back through the park, we headed for the Ripon where some of us visited the Cathedral, and then returned by bus. In the evening we enjoyed a very good three course meal.

On Sunday we walked as one party from the hotel. We had lunch, by the River Nidd. We finished mid afternoon at Knaresborough where there was a large market. Some left to begin their journey home. In the evening ten of us went to see the film 'Paddington'. There were chuckles, giggles and guffaws, and not a single child in the audience.

On Monday some headed off home or went shopping around Harrogate. Four of us went to Betty's; a very pleasant way to end a great weekend.

A big thanks to Peter for organising another enjoyable break.

Chris and Jonathan

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