13 Mar 2014

CASTLE BOLTON ~ NORTH YORKSHIRE


I recently joined the Wowcher brigade and spotted a 'two for one offer on a day at Castle Bolton in Yorkshire. I love days out, and I especially love castles, so we headed off for the day!


As you can see from the photo, the castle is a part ruin, mainly due damaged inflicted upon it during the English Civil War, and the weather and time (this place is over 600 years old!) taking their toll, but the lower floor is still intact, with a handful of rooms to visit. Not to mention the fact that the surrounding village is mighty pretty, and affords a stunning daily view to all its inhabitants!

So, here are a few little micro facts about Castle Bolton to get us started! :-

  • This 14th century castle is a Grade 1 listed building and a scheduled Ancient Monument, located in Wednesleydale, North Yorkshire.
  • It was built by Sir Richard le Scrope, Lord Chancellor of England to Richard the II. Building commenced in 1379 and was completed in 1399.
  • The castle has never been sold on and still belongs to descendants of the Scrope family
  • Mary, Queen of Scots stayed here for 6 months, after her defeat at the Battle of Langside in 1568
  • The castle is currently owned by Harry, the eighth Lord Bolton, who resides at the nearby Bolton Hall. Bolton Castle is run his son and daughter-in-law









Access to parts of the castle were restricted during February and March, due to the fact that the 'Horrible Histories' crew were in residence and in the middle of shooting some new episodes, so we were whipped around the parts that were accessible by a tour guide. Because she was conscious of the fact that the birds of prey were being flown and hour from the start of our tour, she dragged us around a little too quickly, (especially up and down the circular stairways! Frighteningly steep!), and needless to say, by the time we got down to the birds of prey, we were too knackered to be bothered! It was a disappointingly short display (there were more than two birds of prey in residence), and the lady handler became a little irritating after a while, as she didn't stand still long enough for you to get a decent photograph of the birds when she had them perched on the gauntlet, as you can see below!

I did manage a couple of shots of this big guy however! Look at the size of those talons!




Apparently, this thing takes deers down! I would not want to be on the receiving end of one of his hunting sessions!

The cafe was warm and cosy, and there were some delicious smells wafting from the kitchen area as we sat sipping our drinks and waiting for the tour guide to arrive. A quick glimpse of the kitchen through the open door as we passed, and it's less than hygienic standards had us swiftly changing our minds about wanting to eat there later! Certainly, I feel that the price per head for wedding parties/various functions is over-priced considering that there is nowhere to stay for your wedding guest/bride and groom after the reception, so that would mean adding on the extra cost of travel to your hotel for the night!

The gift shop was unimaginative and ridiculously over-priced, which I always find is such a shame, and really not much different across the board in these kind of places. It could be such a good source of income for the castle if only contents of the shop and prices were thought through, and there was actually something worth buying in there!

Due to the film crews being in attendance, there were a lot of activities cancelled that day, but as a rule, you are allowed to wander freely (except for in private areas which are clearly marked) around the castle, read information boards and take photographs as you wish.  Unfortunately, this one visit was enough to put me off going back there, as I feel the whole estate is poorly run and not worth bothering with! Such a shame as this place could really be something special with the right kind of management!

There is a gorgeous little church in the grounds that is worth a peep;


St Oswald's Church Castle Bolton was built in the late 14th Century and is a Grade II listed building.






In it's own right, Castle Bolton is a stunning Ancient Monument, which could quite well still be standing intact today if not for the ravages of war! Unfortunately, the place just struck me as a revenue collector for the descendants of the Scrope family, and I was glad that I had the vouchers for the 'two for one' entry fee! It was nice to have seen this sight towering majestically above us;


But you can see this from the road and take some photos if you wish, without having to pay the £8.50 admission charge!

I'm hoping that the next road trip won't be as disappointing as this one!