Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Can you see the fairy-tale castle in the distance?
This is Bolton Castle, in Wensleydale, Yorkshire and this tantalizing glimpse is the most I've ever seen of it until today. The first time was in 1967 on a trip to Yorkshire (on my first trip north of Norfolk!) and it has always intrigued me. The romantic feelings this view arouses in me may well have something to do with the fact that, as we chugged along the dale in a bottle green Triumph Herald all those years ago, a flash sports car overtook us - Dirk Bogarde was at the wheel and the beautiful French film star Capucine was his passenger. (Were they? Did they? Was he...?) 
Today we saw the castle up close and the romance survived.
Bolton Castle stands in a beautiful limestone landscape - too rugged for Mr N's taste, but I grew up with tree-less chalk downs and cliffs and so its familiar bleakness warms my heart.

Some parts of the castle are ruined, but many rooms remain including the bedroom of Sir Richard le Scrope, who built the castle in the late 1300s. In the 16th century Mary Queen of Scots was "imprisoned" in the castle with a retinue of 30 knights and 6 ladies-in-waiting. Cooks, grooms, hairdresser, embroiderer, apothecary, physician, surgeon and more knights took lodgings nearby.
Mary was allowed to take walks and go hunting, though it is said that her main amusement while at the castle was having her hair done!
Our main amusement today was to climb the tower and to see what Mary saw.