Day 33 – Sunday, May 27th

Brewing Vats at Black Sheep Brewery

A beautiful Church that we found along one road.

The sheep laden walk up to Jervaulx Abbey

The beautiful Abbey ruins.

We awoke this morning to rain and colder temperatures. We knew that this was predicted, so we had made some indoor plans for the day. After breakfast we headed to the town of Masham (pronounced Maasam), stopping along the road to take photos of rock walls, stone markers and churches. We were struck with the difference in the environment from yesterday, being in a valley area today. The steep inclines were replaced with rolling hills and much of our road followed a beautiful river called the Ure.

The clouds were ominous, so we headed to the Black Sheep Brewery. When we got inside, we found that the brewery tours were booked until the 2:00 tour, so we signed up for it and then headed back into the town itself. We walked around the town a bit and visited a Chocolate Shop and a Glass Blowing shop. There were some beautiful pieces, but we knew better than to try to get them home safely.

It started raining again, so we drove back to the Brewery and went inside to the restaurant for morning tea. Michael had a scone and coffee and I had a luscious slice of Lemon Meringue pie. Many of the locals were there for a typical Sunday lunch of roasted meat (mostly beef or lamb), Yorkshire Puddings, roasted potatoes, boiled vegetables (carrots, broccoli and cauliflower) and pudding. “Pudding” is the name given to everything eaten after the meal, much as we use the term dessert. It all looked wonderful, but we were still too full from our “Cooked English Breakfast” to eat it.

After tea, Michael walked around some in the town and took photos while I retreated to the car and spent about 45 minutes reading. He took some nice pictures of the local houses, churches and businesses. When he returned, we took the tour of the Black Sheep Brewery. The building was about 180 years old and had housed a brewery before this one. We saw all of the different stages of brewing the beer, including seeing what hops looked like (it is a green leafy flower). We also tasted some of the roasted barley, one of which had a distinct coffee flavor. I would like to coat it with chocolate….it would be wonderful!!!! This brewery uses only components and supplies that are produced in England and they are very proud of that fact. The current vats are round and made of stainless steel, but the original ones were made from 4 ft by 8 ft pieces of slate and bolted together into a square. One of the newest brews was made specifically for the 30 year anniversary of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. It is named “Monty Python and the Holy (Gr)Ail….the (Gr) is crossed out, and claims that it is “tempered over burning witches”. Michael bought a bottle that had been flattened and plans to put it in his office!!!

We left Masham and headed to Middleham to visit yet another castle, but when we got there it was raining quite hard and the castle didn’t look all that interesting. So, we turned back around and went back to an Abbey that we had seen earlier in the day. It was called “Jervaulx Abbey” and was built in the 12th century. It currently sits on private property, but visitors are welcome to explore. They have an “Honesty Box” and request that visitors donate 2 pounds to the upkeep of the grounds. The walk up to the Abbey was populated with sheep although they were fenced out of the Abbey ruins. The ruins were absolutely beautiful and we were able to find many of the landmarks described I the brochure that we bought. We found crosses that were carved on the altar, a stone effigy of a knight who was buried there and several other tombs that were marked with flat stone slabs inscribed with crosses and chalices. It was a beautiful area and we had a wonderful time taking photos, even though it was raining for a good portion of the time that we were there. It finally started pouring so we sprinted to our car and turned the heater on high to warm our cold hands and feet.

We were starting to feel hungry so we headed back to West Burton and our favorite pub. Tonight we continued in the “pub fare” vein and Michael had “Pub Curry” with rice, papadam and chips (nice combination!!!). I had a Vegetable Quiche with chips and salad.

Some of the men from the pub were playing “Quoits” out on the village green. It is much like Horsehoes, but the “shoes” are a circle and not open on one end. There was also the usual dart board on the wall of the pub and the bartender and waiters were wearing tee shirts that boasted the dart teams that were sponsored by the “Fox and Hounds”.

We once again returned to our B&B and looked out our window at the beautiful Dales, but this time with a blowing rain in between us and the hills. We are hoping for sun tomorrow for our trip back to Oxford.

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