Northern Castles (and an Abbey)

We've been enjoying our trips to castles this summer. In fact, in the past few weeks we've bagged no less than six of them: Brougham Castle in May; then last month we did a trip across the A66 (Stainmore Pass) to visit Brough Castle, Barnard Castle and Bowes Castle; and last weekend we drove across Wensleydale to see Middleham Castle and Bolton Castle.

First, Brough Castle which, like most of the castles in the area, dates from about 1200.

Next was Barnard Castle, set high up above the market town and commanding fine views down the River Tees gorge.

From Barnard Castle we travelled a few miles south to Egglestone Abbey.

And finally for our June mini-tour we stopped off at Bowes Castle - like so many of these beautiful ruins, it is just found in a field.

And then last weekend we had a lovely drive through the Yorshire Dales to visit Middleham Castle and Bolton Castle in North Yorshire. We made our way up the Lune Valley and across to Ingleton and up Langstrothdale to Hawes; then through Wensleydale, passing through Aysgarth to Middleham.

As we passed the Ribblehead Viaduct on the iconic Settle to Carlisle line, I wondered if the stone structure would last as long as the castles we've been admiring.

Once the home of Richard III, Middleham Castle is one of the finest in the north of England with fantastic views across Wensleydale. And the ancient village of Middleham is attractive with a cobbled main street and fine houses.

Bolton Castle (at Castle Bolton) is still lived in and is also used for weddings so we couldn't get access - but still definitely worth a few pictures.

So we've definitely 'done' all the major castles in this part of the world. Where shall we go next?