With only two hours to discover a new town, where would you go first?
This was my predicament when I arrived in Skipton.
There are many people who live full-time on these tiny crafts.I could go into depth on the history of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, but to tell the truth, I don't know much. All I know is that the "sidewalks" on one side of the water were once trodden by the horses that pulled canal boats back in the day when canals were major trade routes through the heart of the country.
My friends and I thought it a rather romantic trip, slipping through the quiet water with walls and houses rising up and dipping down on either side. Since we only had a short jaunt down the waterway we didn't have time for humorous escapades like the famous Three Men in a Boat, but I did get the chance to take some rather nice pictures (if I do say so myself).
It was quite picturesque, and the best part was when we passed under the ivy-covered cliffs that climbed up to where an ancient castle brooded high above us. The masses of ivy hanging off the rock reminded strongly of the "secret garden" behind my grandparents' house where I used to play when I was little. I would imagine all sorts of adventures there, believing it was an abandoned paradise instead of the overgrown weedpatch everyone else thought it was. My cousins and I would play we were secret detectives flying through death-defying capers, saving the Queen of England and whatnot.
Now I've ridden a canal boat right under a real live castle, just like my kid-self might have dreamed.
The Obligatory Castle Tour
- sit on a Medieval toilet (the Long Drop),
- experience complete darkness in a tiny prison cell,
- and stand in an enormous fireplace in which you could easily roast a couple of cattle (which as a student of historical English cookery I found absurdly exciting).
Even after going through the entire castle, I still had time to spend money in the gift shop and dip into a used bookstore. I purchased a copy of Jane Eyre, which was singularly appropriate as the authoress was born and bred in the same wild countryside through which our coach wended its way back to the safe confines of Capernwray Hall.