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En route home from Durham this morning, we stopped off for coffee and to stretch our legs in Knaresborough – because it looked like an interesting town, and neither of us had ever been there before. It’s a charming place, built on the steep banks of a gorge through which runs the River Nidd, and with – as you can see here – a rather splendid railway viaduct. The weather wasn’t great, but on a sunny day I think that this would be a wonderful view. On the plus side, the fact that it was cold and overcast today allowed us to walk from the castle, where I took this photo, down to the river side and then back up the precipitous cobbled streets into the centre of the town, without melting into a pair of sticky puddles.

The black and white chequered building you can see here through one of the viaduct arches is the Old Manor House, which is said to have been built in the C13th – around an oak tree, which still apparently exists within the house – as a hunting lodge for King John. According to the [i]Yorkshire Post[/i], it’s painted like this because one of its former owners was a chess fanatic, but I have to say that I find this quite difficult to believe; whatever the reason, the fashion seems to have spread, and there are several other buildings in the centre of the town painted the same way. During the English Civil War Knaresborough was a Royalist stronghold, and was besieged by Parliamentarian forces; there’s a legend that articles of surrender were signed in the Old Manor House after the Battle of Marston Moor, which I also doubt – but it’s certainly the case that the victorious Parliamentarians ordered the castle to be demolished, and it’s said that much of the town centre was constructed from stone looted from the ruins.

This was my favourite photo of the town, but I’ve put some others on Facebook which I hope give a reasonable flavour of the place.