Saturday, 27 January 2018

Hatton Station (Rain, training courses and a memory of evacuation)

We woke to strong winds and heavy rain on Wednesday morning; the wind was so strong it was making waves on the water and it was like we were moored on a river.  Although the wind died down, it continued to rain all day.

View from our bedroom on Wednesday morning after the wind had died down – not really enticing us to venture outside

We didn’t go for any long walks because of the weather so ended up staying in most of the day.  It meant I could get on with booking some of the courses we need to do in order to get the necessary qualification of competency to cruise in France.  One is the Code Européen des Voies de Navigation Intérieure or CEVNI as it is known.  This qualification is achieved by sitting a multiple-choice test on the lines of the British driving theory test, but water rather than road based of course.  As we are British, a pre-requisite for sitting the CEVNI test, is gaining the British Inland Waterways (IW) Helmsman certificate which is set by the Royal Yachting Association.

There are many places around the UK where we can get the IW certificate but, as there is a centre in Warwick, it makes sense to get the certificate there before we set off on our travels again in a few weeks.  So, we are now booked in for a two-day course using our own boat at the beginning of April.  This means the French expenses have started and, I must admit, this first step is not a cheap one, so it proves we are serious about it😉

On Thursday morning we left the boat early and drove up to Yorkshire to spend a few days with my parents.

Leaving the boat on Thursday morning – Hatton station in the distance and the rain had stopped!

We tried out an Airbnb cottage that we haven’t stayed in before.  It was in Wycoller which, although it’s in Lancashire, is just on the borders with West and North Yorkshire.  Wycoller is a true hamlet as it does not have a church. Only residents are allowed to bring their cars in so it’s very quiet; tourists have to park about 1/3rd mile outside and walk in.  As we were renting one of the dozen houses that make up Wycoller we were able to drive in.

Wycoller grew up as a farming and weaving community but became derelict, like other settlements, when the large weaving mills were built in the surrounding area.  Fortunately, it has now been restored and is also a real tourist trap because of it’s past.  Penelope Keith (of Hidden Villages and The Good Life fame) restored a barn here about 25 years ago and the house is currently for sale.  More details here - sorry, it’s the Daily Mail 😉
There are six crossing points of the beck that runs through Wycoller – two road bridges, three footbridges and a ford.

A pack-horse bridge, one of the three footbridges

We loved the worn footway across the bridge

A clapper bridge, another one of the footbridges

The ford with the remains of Wycoller Hall behind

On the other side of the ford are the remains of the 15th century Wycoller Hall.  It’s amazing it hasn’t been completely plundered for stone over the years especially as it is in the centre of the settlement.  The Brontes lived in Haworth (another town we have stayed in recently) which is only a few miles away.  Apparently, Wycoller Hall is the Ferndean Manor of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

Wycoller Hall

Massive fireplace at the hall

Dad was still in hospital on the Thursday but was transferred to a care home on Friday.  We spent a lot of Friday settling him in and transporting personal items from his house about ¼ mile away from where Mum still lives.

Before we came home on Saturday we took Mum up to see Dad and, whilst we were there my youngest brother, Richard, and his family turned up.  They had come down from Scotland for the weekend so Dad wouldn’t be short of visitors.  We have to admit that Dad seems very comfortable and happy now he is out of hospital and the staff and nurses are very attentive.

The care home is one of a group of buildings established around a mill on the River Aire at Gargrave; the mill is now converted to apartments.  My dad was evacuated in WWII and, coincidentally, was evacuated to one of the mews houses which join the mill to the care home.  I say coincidence, but the reason my parents bought a house up in the Dales was because of my Dad’s fond memories of his childhood when he was evacuated there.  So, it’s not really a coincidence but he and the family are all happy that he is settled in to where he has his happy memories.  He is also happy because it means we can take Buddy in to see him which wasn't possible when he was in an NHS hospital.  We have to watch the staff though as they were all keen to give him biscuits (Buddy not my dad).

I mentioned the other day that we will need modifications to the boat in order to use her in France.  As we will be cruising around Yorkshire over the coming summer we decided to book her in to a boatyard in the area to have the mods done whilst we have a summer holiday.  We have now booked her in for the works (and to get her hull blacked) at the beginning of September.  We have also arranged to leave her at the boatyard for September and October whilst we are having a little holiday in Italy 😊

Buddy was happy in the cottage we rented – just like being at home on the boat

Depending upon the weather, we may have a little cruise back towards Lapworth tomorrow as we are meeting up with friends at the Tom o'the Wood for lunch.  Wendy, a boating friend of ours, has sent me some information on the two derelict working boats that I mentioned in the last blog entry.  I’ll include some of this information in the next blog entry.

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