ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Grassington Dickensian Festival : snow in the Yorkshire Dales.

Updated on January 25, 2013

Grassington Dickensian Christmas Fair.

I had been trying to get to Grassington Dickensian Christmas Fair for several years so Christmas 2010 was going to be the year I got there. I could almost taste the mulled wine, see the blazing braziers and torchlit procession and hear the choir singing Christmas carols.

So obviously there was no way a little bit of snow was going to stop me.

When I say a little bit of snow, what I really mean is somewhere between 20 - 30 cms of snow which is not inconsiderable to us wimpy Brits who like to winge if the sky is cloudy. (We're internationally reknowned for our weather-watching habits and, I suspect, internationally mocked).

The trouble is that despite the 2009 winter having more snow than usual we continued to think it was just a one-off so we weren't geared up for another one in 2010. We'll nail it next year though.

The road to Grassington
The road to Grassington | Source
Approaching snow storm.
Approaching snow storm. | Source
Grassington Car Park
Grassington Car Park | Source
The square, Grassington
The square, Grassington | Source
'Dickensian'  cheesemonger ... complete with mobile phone.
'Dickensian' cheesemonger ... complete with mobile phone. | Source
Pub sign.
Pub sign. | Source
Commemorating the infamous, and murderous, blacksmith, Tom Lee ...
Commemorating the infamous, and murderous, blacksmith, Tom Lee ... | Source
Snow clouds coming my way.
Snow clouds coming my way. | Source
Snow on the horizon
Snow on the horizon | Source

The pitfalls of driving in the Yorkshire Dales in snow.

I thawed out my car after a frosty night amongst the low-lying water meadows of beautiful Bolton Percy near York and set off up the A1 heading for Harrogate.

Optimistically taking the Skipton road out of Harrogate I was quite unprepared for the quantity of snow I suddenly came across as I climbed up to the Yorkshire Dales which sit on a section of Britain's boney backbone, The Pennines.

In retrospect I was desperately naive … as a native Yorkshire woman I really should have known better.

I missed the turnoff from Blubberhouses that cut through to Greenhow Hill. Well, not so much ‘missed' as 'couldn't find it', buried as it was under almost a metre of pristine snow.

So I pressed onto Bolton Abbey where I skidded into the car park of a tea-room to take stock of the situation and take charge of a cup of tea, the traditional British remedy to crisis, and a large scone with jam. This, I reckoned, was definitely a crisis.

Yorkshire Dales in the snow … make sure your journey is necessary.

The road from Bolton Abbey to Grassington is called The Scale. It is often incredibly narrow and very bendy, add deep snow piled up against the dry stone walls at either side and it gets even narrower.

As I gloomily munched my scone I listened in to the waiter's conversation and gathered that The Scale was passable, but only just, so I needed to decide whether or not to go on.

On the face of it it looked like sheer folly and remembered newsflashes of idiot drivers stuck in the snow rose in my mind. What would I say when they interviewed me? ‘But I really wanted to go to Grassington Christmas Fair,' sounded like a lame excuse, even to me.

Despite this depressing thought I decided that I really did want to be that foolish. Not that I didn't have second thoughts as I puttered along ... third and fourth thoughts even.

Grassington at last.

Frankly the trip was hair-raising and I would have killed for a 4x4 but it was also unbelievably beautiful and I just had to stop and photograph my way along, trying not to get hopelessly stuck in the snow piled up at the roadside.

The sun shone on farms and distant hillsides, glittered in trees and everything was monochrome except for the vivid blueness of the sky.

Being bred in God's Own, as we conceitedly call it, I am well used to traveling round the Dales but snow ... deep, pure snow ... added another dimension to its beauty and I was glad I took the chance.

Eventually, after adroitly avoiding the few other demented road users I met and the drystone walls lurking beneath the snow drifts, I trickled into Grassington. The sun was shining and there were people everywhere, significantly most of them were wearing wellies.

Leaping out of my car excitedly into the deep snow of the car park I yanked my wellies from the boot of my car, put them on and had only gone three steps before my socks had been eaten by the boots and my feet were bare.

The necessity of proper socks for Wellington boots.

So my first stop was at a shop selling outdoor wear where I bought the most amazing pair of walking socks which had both the size woven into them and even an L and an R so I could tell which foot to put which sock on.

I was well impressed and found I could ignore the fact that as my feet are very small these socks were probably made for children. Now, adequately socked and booted at last, I set off to discover what Grassington's Dickensian Fair was really all about.

Grassington … jewel of the Yorkshire Dales.

Grassington is one of the undisputed summer jewels of the Yorkshire Dales and it is just as spectacular on a snowy day, but in a different way. Despite the snow, its cobbled streets and square bustled with just enough people to make it interesting but not uncomfortably crowded.

The Christmas stalls sold everything from little cheeses sealed in brightly coloured wax coatings to hog roast baps, succulent with apple sauce, sage and onion stuffing and crisp crackling. The shops sold crafts of every sort, antiques and art and the spiced fragrance of mulled wine and gingerbread drifted all around. And in every inn window people looked out at the snow and the visitors and smiled in their comfort.

There was definitely a feeling of all the most romantic aspects of a Victorian Christmas in the crisp air.

Leaving Grassington as the snow fell.

As I wandered my way round the village, in and out of the numerous little cobbled lanes, or 'folds' as these alleyways are called here, savouring the long-ago-Christmas feeling, I eventually became aware that the sun was going down and that the snow clouds were advancing again.

Sadly it was time my adventure in the snow ended before I was trapped in the village. Not that I felt that that would be such a bad thing as there were plenty of warm and hospitable inns and quaint and cosy cottages offering bed and breakfast.

It had started to snow again by the time I had turned my car onto the road again heading for Pateley Bridge and I was nervously aware that the roads would become very slippery too.

A last break in the clouds as the sun was just setting on my way to Ripley had me stopping for one last photo memory of the day before I hurried back down towards Knaresborough and the safety of the lowlands of the Vale of York.

But I promised myself that I would return the following year and then I would definitely stay for the weekend to sing carols and wander through streets lit by flaming torches.

The road home at sunset ...
The road home at sunset ... | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)