Wolds Diary with Sue Woodcock

The calcifying pool at Mother Shiptons Cave proved an unexpected treat.
The calcifying pool at Mother Shiptons Cave proved an unexpected treat.

On Monday I drove up through the Howardian Hills to visit a lovely couple in the village of Hovingham, who had very generously offered me some ties for my craft work.

Hovingham is a beautiful and charming village surrounded by glorious countryside, which is a myriad of colours at the moment.

As I drove I was delighted by swathes of purple rosebay willowherb, contrasted by the rich golden colour of the ripe corn, which in turn was scattered by the ruby red of poppies and with a backdrop of lush green hedges and trees.

Then there is the brilliant yellow of ragwort beside the roads.

This maybe a dangerous pest, so far as livestock is concerned, but it is striking.

There are the wonderful hues of nature wherever you look.

Having met the couple and their two delightful dogs I came back through Malton, where I stopped and did a bit of shopping and then the next day I went over to Ripley Castle, where the Harrogate Talking Newspaper for the Blind is recorded. I occasionally contribute to this.

Having done my stint there, I drove back through Knaresborough, and passed the signs to Mother Shipton’s Cave, which I have never actually visited despite being a potholer for years and being fascinated by caves.

I drove up to the gates, paid my fee and set off on the magnificent wooded walk beside the River Nidd. The trees are astoundingly beautiful and there is every facility for families, with a fine playground.

The cave itself is interesting and I even made a wish at the wishing well.

The calcifying pool is fascinating as is the waterfall under it.

The whole experience was, for, me a real treat. I invested in the book of Mother Shipton’s Prophecies and it makes for very interesting reading.

Having indulged myself with such a treat, the next day I tackled clearing the garden and made a new bed.

Between dog walks this was the task for a couple of days.

On Friday I went over to Flockton, not far from Huddersfield, to collect some Zwartbles fleeces kindly offered to me by a lady and gentleman who have a smallholding there.

As I approached the area I was impressed by the magnificence of the Emley Moor Mast nearby.

I had a coffee and delicious cake with my hosts, made friends with their five dogs, including Rhodesian ridgebacks and a French Bulldog.

They showed me their sheep and I was able to admire their chickens – Rhode Island reds and some bantams – before being entranced by their Indian Runner ducks.

Having had a wonderful hour there, I left and decided to follow the sign for the National Mining Museum nearby.

It was, I decided, my week for treats and I pulled in and had a ride on the little train, went to an interesting show about the history of the Davy lamp, one of which I have an early example of.

I booked myself in for a trip underground and having handed over anything that was dangerous, like electronic items, I was provided with a helmet and light and a group of about 20 of us descended down into the coal mine.

Our guide, Dave, was really good and made it a very interesting tour filled with history and science.

The only thing that spoiled it for me was the way some of the children in the group behaved, flashing their lights into the eyes of everyone else and shouting and screeching while our guide was talking.

Once up on the surface I had a good stroll around the centre and I think it is a superb adventure for well-behaved children and a very reasonable price for a great day.

As I drove away and got on to the M1, the clutch on my car went and I was in trouble.

I managed to get off the motorway and found somewhere off the road to park and was rescued by the RAC, who sent a breakdown truck.

The driver, Josh, was such a nice young man and soon he was bringing me and my car home, and even dropped the car off at my garage.