The Cud Life: Close Encounters of a Bovine Kind

The Cud Life: Close Encounters of a Bovine Kind


When we’d travelled to York recently, we’d spotted an ad for The Decorative Home and Salvage Show being held at Ripley on the weekend of 14th/15th/16th May and, given that the weather had finally switched to hot and sunny mode, we booked a couple of nights at a site between Harrogate and Ripon, in God’s Own County.

The Cud Life had been recommended by Sarah and James from Glawning and we’d tried to book for the early May Bank Holiday, but without any luck, as they were full. No such problems this time, particularly as we were arriving on Thursday and leaving on Saturday – the benefits of retirement, eh?

First, though, Boris had his haircut on Thursday morning, giving us the chance to pack Absinthe  without stressing him out too much, whilst he was being washed and groomed in the van at the end of our drive. Once again, we’d planned to travel light with no Glawning and only the new Puck Buddies sunshade to try out.

We arrived at Killinghall around 3pm and soon had the camp sorted and the awning erected.


There was only one other campervan on the field, plus a caravan next to us – nothing to spoil the glorious views across to the old railway viaduct that we’d visit later during our stay. Apparently, it’s only relatively recently that the view has opened up like this, as there were previously very tall trees in front, making the viaduct impossible to see.


The site has two holiday cottages (Cowslip and Humble Bee), a great coffee shop (The Udder Coffee Shop) and cookery shop (Cooking Fantastic), but bear in mind that the shops only open from Thursday to Saturday – you wouldn’t want to miss out on the Banoffee Pie or the scones…

Tanya and Dave Umpleby are the loveliest of people. Dave has a dairy farming background and Tanya runs the coffee and cookery shops – they seem to have everything you’d want in young entrepreneurs. The fact that they had a VW Campervan as a wedding car just makes them even more perfect to be running The Cud Life!



The site is small, with grass pitches and plenty of electric hook ups. There’s a fridge and freezer for communal use and unisex showers and toilets with plenty of extras, including hairdrier, straighteners and a radio for music. The showers are free and have plenty of room (for two in our case).



The washing up sinks are great and there’s a portaloo emptying facility as well. On Saturdays they have a fire pit that everyone can gather round (we left on Saturday morning so missed out, but we’ll be back).


In summary, this is as good a small site as we’ve ever stayed on, particularly when you factor in the presence of two pubs within walking distance and some lovely walks in the area too.
We popped up to the coffee shop for tea and cake and talked to Tanya about walks and she printed us one out for Friday that takes a couple of hours and passes over the viaduct, before ending up in Ripley. The other one is shorter and goes behind their farm and across fields and in to Ripley, which seemed like a good idea on Thursday evening, after Boris had had his tea.
It was extremely windy in the early evening and quite cool – so windy, that we took the sunshade and wind break down before we set off on the walk. Back up to the farm then, and through the yard, passing some lovely dairy calves enjoying their food.


We carried on over some more field stiles until we came to another farm, passing through their yard and through a field with dairy cows in. So far, so good. I’m not frightened of cows; my sister and her husband have had a farm since I was a teenager and I’ve spent enough time there over the years to be used to them.
We crossed over two more fields with mature cows in, then across a small lane and into another field full of young stock. Things then took a turn for the worse. Boris was still on his lead but the beasts were obviously very curious and ran from one end of the field to see him, getting more frisky as they got closer. I could see Alison wasn’t happy and I didn’t blame her – I was getting less comfortable as we got further into the field.
We both had to spread our arms several times to keep them back and by now I’d decided that we should let Boz off his lead to prevent us all getting trampled. We kept to the edge near the hedge but there was no way to get out of the field – we had to follow the footpath to the bottom of the field but the cattle were getting more and more agitated and then all ran into the bottom corner which was our only exit.
We took the decision to turn back, hoping they’d stay at the bottom but they just ran after us. At one point they had Boris trapped against the hedge and he had to bark and get aggressive to get out. Eventually, as we got closer to the stile where’d we got into the field, I got Alison to pick him up and head out whilst I tried to distract them away. Once out of the field we still had to go back over two more paddocks full of cows – we were very glad when we got to a small lane and a sign pointing into Killinghall. I could see that Alison was quite upset – I’ve heard stories of people being trampled by cows but I’ve always thought I’d be able to handle any situation like that – I’ll think twice now, especially if the cows are young ones.
It was only when we got into one of the village pubs and both had a pint in our hands, that I realised I hadn’t taken any photos – a shame as I’d like to have recorded what happened – ultimately, though, we were just glad that we got away unscathed.
Post trauma pint..
We walked back to the site (along the road!) and settled down in the van with the TV and a cup of tea, and the wind whistling outside. Neither of us slept well, but Friday started much brighter with a promise that the sun might make an appearance later.
We went back to the coffee shop for breakfast then set off on the two hour walk with a flask of coffee and some flapjacks from the Udder.
We passed through the neighbouring farm, which had two of the worst matched horses ever – they’d never do two-in-hand at Lowther Horse Trials with these chaps.
“One’s close, the other one’s a long way away…”
Down through more fields, until we popped out in the tiny settlement of  Knox, across an ancient bridge, up a hill and into a housing estate.





It wouldn’t be a Blog if we hadn’t spotted a T2
We left the houses and passed into Nidd Gorge and onwards to Nidd Viaduct that we’d seen earlier from the campsite – would we be able to see Absinthe?
The Nidd viaduct at Bilton which stands at 104 feet above the river was built in 1848 and was part of the now defunct railway line which used to run to Ripley, Ripon and Thirsk, carrying freight (mainly coal and later gas) and passengers until it closed in 1967. Thanks again, Dr Beeching…




That shape top left is Absinthe



Coffee and flapjack stop…
The path followed the old railway line, with the River Nidd on the left and bluebell woods, then wild garlic, on the right – perfect walking with Boz able to run free nearly all the way.





We popped out at the old bridge over the A61, Ripon to Harrogate Road, near the village of Ripley. We walked into the village, which has been named as Yorkshire’s most desirable place to live. If you know anything at all about God’s Own County you’ll know how stiff the competition is for a title like that! It has its own castle (no dogs allowed – boo!), a lovely pub and was modelled on a village in Alsace by one of the Ingliby’s, who’ve lived at the castle for generations. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.







Arty Wedding photos at the Castle
The castle is free to visit mid-week but, as they don’t allow dogs, we headed to the pub for lunch instead. The Boar’s Head is a lovely old coaching inn, with a good selection of real ales. We both had fish and chips and very good they were too.



We walked back after lunch, through Killinghall and back to the site.
Killinghall softly with it’s charm..


After a browse in the cookery shop and another Banoffee Pie (take-away) and scones (free gift: thanks Tanya) we settled down for the evening – a snooze may have been taken by 2 out of 3 of us in the later afternoon.
It was still cold – although the Slpy’s help.
Sunday was get up early day and pack everything away ready to go to the Decorative Home and Salvage Show in Ripley.
The sun was out, although there was still a chilly wind and we were at the showground before 10am, so had to queue to get in.
Queuing to get in


Double schnauzer trouble






We bought a couple of things (as well as a bacon buttie for breakfast), had a VW chat in the car park (Q:”How much would your van be worth; £20,000?”, A:”A bit more than that…”) then set off home. It was a great afternoon, so we stopped at Bolton Bridge to walk along the Wharfe to Bolton Abbey.


Happy schnauzer…




Village cricket – I really miss it…
Spot the ball…


A couple of toasties in the Abbey Tea Shop and we were off again, this time stopping at Bashall Barn near the Ribble in the County Palatine – it’s an underwhelming place but has great views of Pendle Hill, spoiled on this occasion by a white motorhome parked in the corner of the car park.


A great couple of days away, then, continuing our short break plans for 2016.
There’s a full set of photos here: FLICKR

Things we’ve learned:

It can still be cold at night in May
Cows can be scarier than we thought
Boz is a brave schnauzer when faced with a herd of marauding cattle
Discovering a new perfect campsite never ceases to please us
There isn’t a perfect campsite that doesn’t have a pub within walking distance
Britain in springtime takes some beating

I'd love to hear your thoughts, so grab a pew and I'll make you a brew - Hobnob or Bourbon?

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