The morning was damp and misty, so we set off to visit Ripley Castle. The estate village, rebuilt in 1820, is very attractive, and the castle was most interesting to visit. The excellent guide made the history of the castle come alive. We saw the room where the lady of the house sat up all night, armed with two pistols, keeping guard over Oliver Cromwell the night he stayed.
From here, we went to visit nearby Newby Hall. This was built in the 18th century, and a very different style of dwelling. Built to show off 'new money', and remodelled to hold the huge quantity of treasures acquired by one of the descendants. Robert Adam was commissioned to design an interior to suit these acquisitions. So two tonne marble pillars, statues, exquisite tapestries were all planned into the design. The house is an absolutely stunning hidden treasure of Yorkshire. If this house is not the best and most complete example of Adam's work it must be a very close second. It is also home to the unique “Newby Chairs” and the only place where a complete set of Gobelins tapestries remains in the room for which they were designed. We really enjoyed our visit (and lunch) and by the time we finished the sun was out, and we were able to complete our circular drive around Nidderdale in bright sunshine.
This area is a National Park,and very scenic. We stopped at one picturesque village after another, starting at Pateley Bridge (with the oldest sweet shop in England) and finishing at East Witton. London and traffic seemed from another lifetime, in the timeless villages, hills and dales.
We passed near Bolton Castle again, and from a hilltop lookout near Leyburn,we saw where Mary Queen of Scots was captured after her escape from the castle.