Monday, 9 July 2012

Mother Shipton's Cave - Knaresborough


Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out



















Hubby took a week off last week and we decided to travel around a bit after our London trip, exploring new places we haven't been before. We wanted to go to Harrogate in Yorkshire, which has a beautiful Abbey called Fountain Abbey (which we had to cancel as it was raining heavily). Knowing this, my brother suggested us to stop by Knaresborough as well to see Mother Shipton's Cave. I'm always into scary stuff (although I'm easily scared), and the petrifying well really had my attention. We booked a hotel in Ripon and set off as early as we could (after 10am, we have two kids to sort out you know?) We did wonder whether it was a good idea as it was a lovely morning. Leaving the sun behind during a rainy week was almost illegal.


Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out

















Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out

















Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out



















Luckily, the sun came out in Knaresborough when we arrived Mother Shipton's Cave area. The place was absolutely stunning. It was like a small nature park, and even the path was covered in stones. We were really worried about our MacLaren's (Techno XT) stroller but thankfully ours had a suspension and the trolley came back in one piece. Clay laughed all the way so I guess he didn't mind the bumpiness!

The main entrance has a small playground, tea room and toilets. There aren't other toilets in the park, but leaving from the museum and gift shop would lead you back to the main streets. We parked under the High Bridge and walked from there towards the cave, petrifying well, wishing well, museum and gift shop.


Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out



















There was a lovely picnic area right next to the waterfall further down the car park. The scenery was beautiful and the sound of the waterfall made it feel really peaceful. Further up was a slope and a serenity walk towards the cave. 


Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out



















There were 3 places that had stairs. It was manageable to carry the trolley with Clay inside on the first two. The third stair case was located in front of the petrifying well, which was a bit longer and steeper, so we had to remove Clay and fold up the trolley while descending the stairs. We then left the trolley near a bench right outside the well.


Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out
Petrifying well just around the corner


















Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out

























The petrifying well has grasped our full attention. I was expecting it to be fenced off, but we could get as close as we wanted to. There was lots of teddy bears hanging on the top of the well, together with the odd items such as a lobster (I think it was a real cooked lobster?), ice skates, and a clay head (at least that's what I think it was!). 

According to Mother Shipton's website, it takes approximately 3 to 5 months for a teddy bear to be fully petrified. The ones we saw hanging would be for the gift shop to sell. The well is the only one of its kind in England, and the water carries a large amount of Calcite that turns everything into stone.

I was going to listen to the full history, but found myself abandoned by hubby and Abby. They left eagerly to Mother Shipton's birth cave.


Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out






















Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out
















Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out
Brightened up the picture to show
Mother Shipton's statue at the back of the cave























When we told Abby that we were going to Mother Shipton's cave, we explained to her that Mother Shipton was rumoured to be a witch, just for fun but also true (the rumour). She seemed really interested, but we didn't realise that she would be so scared, especially when we stood by the entrance of the cave and looked inside. It was fairly dark but not as dark as the above picture. The cave wasn't that big, and we quickly spotted Mother Shipton's statue at the back.

Abby was already quite frightened, and it wasn't helping that, when I pressed the story button, an evil laughter echoed around the cave. Hubby found the children version's story button a second too late, as Abby has already fled the scene. I stood there for a bit longer, trying to listen to the story, but the longer I stood there, the more creeped-out I was, and I too took a quick exit.


Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out

























Across the cave was the wishing well. I expected it to be a bit more, well, well like. But it was more like a sink on the side of a small cave. The water was the same as the one in the petrifying well, and you were suppose to make a wish while dipping your right hand in the water, and let the water dry naturally on your hand. I didn't make a wish as I didn't want my hand to be covered with a layer of Calcite. (Alright, yes I chickened out from the thought of having my hand petrified!)

We left the cave and wells, and headed for the museum and gift shop. The museum was quite small, slightly bigger than the size of a living room. Previously petrified items from famous people such as the royalty and pop idols were displayed, and there were more history about Mother Shipton and Knaresborough. Did you know that Guy Fawkes was born in Knaresborough?

Unfortunately there weren't any petrified teddies for sale, which I think you can order from their website, but they do sell wishing well water in bottles.


It was raining heavily with the occasional thunderstorm right when we left the park area, so we sat in one of the cafe to wait it out with some gorgeous cheesy chips, fried calamari and the kids' blue bubble gum ice-cream. Have you seen a baby's poo after they've eaten something that blue?! Anyway. The timing couldn't be more perfect, we went into the cafe and the sun came out. Luckily the sun stayed long enough for us to be able to enjoy a short walk along the river (the opposite of the park's car park)


Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out



















There are other tourists area in Knaresborough as well, including a castle. I think it's definitely worth visiting as a family day out.


Mother Shipton, Knaresborough, Yorkshire day out
A cat sun bathing on a wall