We are going to hang around the North York Moors National Park for a couple more days.
Riding into Guisborough on the north-western edge of the park
We really enjoyed walking around Whitby Abbey the other day, so we are going on an Abbey Ruins tour. Abbey Ruins was supposed to be the name of the follow-up album to one of the Beatles most popular records, but it was never completed. You can blame Yoko Ono for that.
We heard there were some Abbey Ruins here in Guisborough. Unforunately, when we got to the entrance, it was closed for the day! We picked the one day of the week that it was closed! Damn you, Yoko!
The Guisborough Priory peeking out from behind the walls
We had a bit of a debate about whether to hop the wall or not, but in the end we decided not to, since the Brexit vote, the authorities have been itching for any excuse to kick EU nationals out of the country. That's Neda, by the way...
Okay, there's another abbey in the western part of North York Moors National Park called Rievaulx Abbey further inside the park. It's another nice ride through the Moors, but when we got to Rievaulx, we discovered that they wanted $15 each for entrance! That's steep for a minor-league abbey... We had to have yet another mini-huddle and discuss whether or not we wanted to pay for this.
In the end, we decided not to. But I dashed into the gift shop and took a picture of the abbey from their window...
Deeply disappointed that we didn't see any abbeys today. If they're all going to be priced like this, I think we'll have to follow in the Beatles' footsteps and cancel the Abbey Ruins Tour. At least it made for a nice excuse to criss-cross the National Park. It's getting kind of late, so we find a grocery store along our way.
The town of Thirsk. Neda finds a grocery store while I stay with the motorcycles
Across the street a busker is playing in the town square, but everyone is paying
more attention to this old couple dancing to the music instead. Awww....
I like the cap someone knitted for this pole in the foreground. :)
We find a campsite at the western edge of the park just outside a small village called Osmotherley
More Brit vehicles! A Landrover Defender outside Osmotherley Village Store. I always wanted a Defender, just like Lara Croft!
Stopping to smell the flowers
Dropped into the Queen Catherine Hotel in Osmotherley to have a pint of the local brewer Timothy Taylor's ruby ale. So British!
We're really enjoying our relaxed pace through England along with all the comfort food and dark English ales. Although the days are still warm when the sun is out, the temperatures dip down to single digits at night and we flee into the campsite's cafeteria in the evening and for breakfast the next morning, buying our admission with an expensive cup of tea. Brrr!!!
It's not until almost noon that it gets warm enough to ride comfortably, and that's when we continue our trek northwards along the east coast of England.
My GPS is still losing power intermittently. It's bugging me a lot, so I had to stop to work out the problem
I have to keep reseating the fuse under the seat to get the power flowing back to the GPS mount. I checked the fuse and it seems okay, but I bit the bullet and bought a new fuse anyway. The new one seems to work perfectly. I stared at the old fuse in the sunlight. Perhaps it had just enough material left for current to intermittently get through? If this fuse was partially blown, I know exactly when it happened: when we tried to jump-start Neda's bike in Hungary. :(
I hate wrenching. I like to ride and take pictures. I can wrench, but there are a million other things I'd want to do with my time other than fixing my motorcycle. I know a lot of riders live to fiddle around and work on their bike. That's why those guys ride KTMs...
Hitting the east coast: Riding into Tynemouth looking for a place to eat
Someone left two steak and kidney pies lying on the table of this pub, so we just sat down and ate it. But then we had to pay for them...
Hey, more castle ruins! This one was free to walk around the grounds. Cool!
Tynemouth Priory and Castle
British beach weather. The locals are trying to squeeze in the last few weeks of warm(ish) weather
Tynemouth lighthouse out on the pier
Tynemouth pier. Fish'n chips tonight, mate!
When we got back to the parking lot, there were a whole bunch of bikers standing around our motorcycles
They saw our out-of-continent license plates and were very curious about our trip. They asked where we were heading next, and I replied, "Alnwick". They all had a puzzled expression on their faces. And then one of them figures out what I am saying: "Oh you mean Annik!"
Whut? How do you get "Annik" from Alnwick?
Just when I thought I was in a country where I understood the language perfectly, they had to cock it up by changing the pronunciation. UK English is bizarre. Syllables get added or dropped
with no rhyme or reason. Edinburgh gets an extra syllable and is pronounced: Edinborough. Leicester drops a syllable to become Lester. Worcestershire? Well, just for fun let's cut *two whole syllables* from that word and call it: Wooster. Whut!?!
And it's not just the names of places. Aluminum? Add another syllable: Alumin-EE-um.
That's just ridiculesterous.
Still, it was great fun talking bikes with these English lads. Despite the language barrier... After Annik we were headed up to Edin-BOROUGH, but instead of heading straight there along the coast, one of the guys showed me another more interesting route on my GPS. Cool! I love just wandering around with no plan and getting suggestions from the locals while on the go!
Pulling into Alnwick, er Annik, late in the day
Although we've sworn off the Abbey Tour, there is just one more castle we needed to see. Unfortunately we got to Annik too late and the castle was just closing up for the day. We'd have to come back tomorrow when it reopens.
We found a campsite on the outskirts of Annik. It was right next to a rugby field! How much more British can you get? :)
That evening the cold wind howled and ripped at our tent while we lay shivering inside. Little drops of rain pitter-pattered on the thin layer of fabric over our heads and I thought, "Uh oh, the dreaded English weather has finally figured out that we're here!"
But in the morning, it's dry and the sky is clearing up for our visit to Annik Castle. Luck is on our side!
The castle is just 5 minutes away from our campsite. We find a parking spot just across the street!
But we have to slip between some orange cones to get in, not sure if this is legal or not... *shrug*
Annik (Alnwick) Castle!
Alnwick Castle is the home of the Duke of Northumberland and is the second-largest occupied castle next to Windsor Castle. We didn't pay to get into Windsor Castle and although the Duke of Northumberland is not considered a royal, we are dishing out the entrance fee to get into Alnwick because:
The castle was used to film many of the Harry Potter movies!!!
Again, I'm not the most knowledgeable Harry Potter fan, so I'll just relay to you what I think I heard or remembered about the books or movies. Alnwick Castle was Hogwarts School for Gifted Youngsters. It's run by an old man named Professor X who takes in young people with special powers who are misunderstood and persecuted by the general public. These youngsters are then trained to use their powers to fight evil and save the world.
The primary weapon these gifted youngsters use is the broom. And also a dustpan if the villain is extra-heinous.
During our visit to Alnwick Castle, there are different types of tours that are run all day catering to different interests. There is the "history channel" tour with a guide that explains the origins of the castle, who the current occupants are, blah blah. We started off on that tour but soon fell asleep. So we quickly hopped onto the "popular culture channel", where they talked about how Alnwick is used as a filming location for shows like Harry Potter, Downtown Abbey and several Robin Hood movies. That's more our speed!
As part of the Harry Potter tour, guides are dressed up as wizards and show the children how to use their broom weapons.
Neda takes possession of a Nimbus 2000, which is the transportation model of the broom. That's why they called it a nim-BUS.
In the Harry Potter books and movies, there's a game you can play with these brooms. It's called Curling.
A young wizard surveys the English countryside. She is plotting the enslavement of all the muggles who have teased her her whole life
The interior of Alnwick Castle - beautiful!
It's not all Harry Potter though. Another popular tour is the "Weapons of War channel"
An indigenous English person demonstrates how her family used to use bows and arrows to hunt for their food
Instead of shooting wild boar, the kids practice on targets. Real arrows, BTW! :O
As part of the weaponry course, you can even learn how to fire a musket. Real bullets, BTW! :O
This is what they're aiming at. Never bring a sword to a gunfight.
Even if you're wearing plate armor... They have to hire a new indigenous person/target every day.
Like most cultures, they don't treat their indigenous people very well...
Is this Landscape Mode? Or Portrait mode...?
Part of the tour is a medieval dungeon with a house of horrors walk! Spooky!
I heard that they are planning a "Star Wars channel" here as well. In all the brochures, they keep referring to Darth Vader as Alnwick-an Skywalker...