Anglotopia Day 7 – Drive from Edinburgh to Haworth to the edge of the Peaks
“Come, walk with me”
We used to love on winter nights
To wander through the snow;
Can we not woo back old delights?
The clouds rush dark and wild
They fleck with shade our mountain heights
The same as long ago
And on the horizon rest at last
In looming masses piled;
While moonbeams flash and fly so fast
We scarce can say they smiled – – Emily Bronte
We left Edinburgh behind and its million roundabouts just to leave the city and headed south, back over the border and onto Haworth in Yorkshire so I could have a little visit with the home of the Bronte sisters before continuing on to Bonsall, Derbyshire.
Even from the main highways, Yorkshire looked much as it was described in some of Britain’s best literature, including Wuthering Heights. The dramatic valleys, deep green with shadows, and the rocky, dark crags promising caves hidden among the sharp rock zipped by. The sky turned as gloomy as Heathcliff’s expression the deeper into Yorkshire we drove.
But then the mood lightened considerably as we zoomed past the exit for the two best town names in northern England: Giggleswick and Wigglesworth.
Seriously, the best two names to appear on a highway exit sign ever.
Coming into Haworth, we managed to find a parking space relatively near the parsonage house. The afternoon had turned fairly cloudy, but sun seemed to find its way through here and there, highlighting the fields and hills in the distance. Haworth sat pretty high up on the landscape, so from the top of the street, we could see all the way down into the valley, following the line of the houses down.
The parsonage has been turned into a homage for the talented Bronte family, and the rooms of the house contained some of the personal affects and letters and family furniture. The little museum had more information about their lives and their literary works, which was a treat to see. I have been a Bronte fan since my early teen years, so a stop at their homestead was a must on my England Bucket List.
We had dinner at a local pub in town – the same pub where brother Patrick Bronte used to hang out, apparently – and enjoyed the wonderfulness of a steak pie with loads of fat chips and gravy. I’m not sure why England got the short end of the culinary stick for so many decades, but I think good, home-cooked, genuine pub food is a beautiful thing. It satisfies the soul, makes you feel good, and warms you up inside. You walk out full, happy (perhaps because of the beer or ale also consumed with the meal), and ready to face the world.
Or, depending on how much alcohol, ready to hit the bed for sleep.
The drive took another few hours to Bonsall, which had a massive population of about 803 people, only 200 more people than attend the school where I work, and about 400 people less than the previous school I had worked in. In other words, it was a quiet town, especially on a weekday night. Nobody was going crazy up in here, that was for sure.
Our next AirBnB stay was a centuries old brewer’s cottage just by the King’s Head Pub (built in the 1600s) and the market cross dating from the Middle Ages. To say the cottage was everything you’d dream an old English cottage to be is an understatement. Our hostess had turned it into a colorful, artfully decorated cottage with a main living space, sunny kitchen with big windows and large bathroom on the first floor, a twisting stairwell up to the second and third floors, the middle of which had a good-sized two-twin bed bedroom and top which opened up into a huge attic room in bright, cheery yellow shades.
It was easy to fall in love with the house at first glance. It gave off a homey, much-loved feel where you can easily sink into the furniture and spend time in the private back garden. I envisioned the house in winter, with the fireplace going, wrapped up in thick blankets and holding my phone to the window for a cell signal. Being a thick stone cottage, WiFi and cell signals were hard to come by sometimes, but everything else was worth the cozy stay and cups of milky tea cupped in our hands.
After a long day of driving and stopping around in small towns to visit, it was lovely to sink into the big bed in the attic room, enjoying the deep silence of a small town where the nosiest traffic through the town was horse hooves striking the asphalt.