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Visiting the charming Ripon Canal sets me thinking

Tents and boats could be the best of both worlds

I had a couple of days off last week and headed for Yorkshire – or God’s own county as the locals say – to spend two days in the beautifully manicured cleanliness of Harrogate (yes, I did sample the lovely Betty’s Tea Rooms) followed by a night in shabby Scarborough (Oh, people of Scarborough, why don’t you care?). The glorious summer of 2013 held and we took the scenic route via Ripon between the two. I can never resist visiting one of our canals if I’m near, so I took my other half to see the short but beautifully formed Ripon Canal.

Just next to Rhodesfield Lock is a campsite that runs down to the canalbank and a camping family had met up with boating friends who had moored alongside the field.  Here, in a beautiful spot on the side of the canal, it seemed the campers in their tents, camper vans and caravans had the best of both worlds. Camping and boats. Can you better that?

I’ve always had a bit of a nerdy hankering for a road trip in a VW Camper Van – the whole idea evokes dreams of freedom from responsibilities and the open road (I’m thinking Thelma and Louise without the nasty bits rather than Nuts in May). I’ve been told that I would hate it (I’m tall and don’t take kindly to being squished into small spaces), but the dream lingers…

Anyway, back to reality, I tweeted a quick picture of the Ripon Canal looking glorious on the sunny Sunday morning and added #busmansholiday (sorry for lack of apostrophe – Twitter doesn’t allow punctuation in hashtags). This got me thinking about the origin of the expression ‘A busman’s holiday’ (It’s simple really: the idea of a bus driver going off on a bus tour.)  And is that a meta busman’s holiday for me – visiting a canal and thinking about the origin of words? I think I need another break.

About this blog

Liz Waddington

Liz Waddington is editor of The Source, the Canal & River Trust’s monthly staff newspaper. She has been in love with canals and their industrial heritage since her first holiday on the Grand Union Canal when she was 10 years old. Liz likes nothing more than getting out and meeting her colleagues on the cut. 

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