8 min read

Saying Farewell to Russ

Scattering Russ' ashes in the places he loved

A year after the sad and shocking news of losing Russ (my older brother) Shelli organised a trip up to Knaresborough to scatter Russ’ ashes in the places he loved. Sadly, it all happened around my Birthday so the aim was to have a weekend celebrating both Russ and my Birthday.

Friday

I took Friday off – even though we weren’t going to leave until the afternoon – so that I could get things ready, walk the dog, and load the car. That and the fact that I really didn’t fancy working from home in the morning before we headed up to Knaresborough. I know, naughty Darren. What ever.

Shelli got back from her counselling at 1:30pm, ate some lunch I’d prepared for her, and just after 2pm we hit the road. Long story short: THE WORST DRIVE TO KNARESBOROUGH EVER! Basically, the M1 was closed just north of Nottingham, which as you can imagine caused no end of chaos on the roads north.

5 1/2 hours later we arrived at Newton House – where we stayed the last time we visited as they have a couple of rooms you can take your dog in with you – checked in, unloaded the car, and headed out to the Mitre pub to meet Matt.

We spent a nice couple of hours catching up, having some dinner, and drinking some really nice beer, before heading up to the castle to take Snow for a little walk and to look our over Russ’ view.

I don’t remember the castle being lit up before as it was when we got there, but it looked pretty spectacular with the red lights. I took a few photos (see below) which didn’t turn out too badly.

Dog walked we headed back to our room for a well deserved rest after a very long day.

Saturday

Before doing anything I opened my Birthday cards and presents. I had some amazing cards by the girls. So lovely and special. Asri won the prize for making me cry with what she wrote; so so lovely. Love all of my girls!

I had some great presents – thanks everyone – and it was a great way to start what could be a difficult day.

I got up and took Snow for a walk before breakfast. It was quite nice outside so I was hopeful that the weather would hold for our day out at Ribblehead, and it wouldn’t start to rain like it did when we arrived in Knaresborough the night before.

We locked Snow in her travel crate and went for breakfast, which was as delicious as it was the last time we stayed at Newton House. Very nice indeed.

Fed and watered we went back to the room to find Snow not in her crate but locked in the bathroom! The little trouble maker had clawed through the mesh on her crate and clearly went looking for us. Fortunately, the bathroom door closed on her so she was trapped in there, giving very limited scope of causing any real damage, which was lucky. There were lots of dog footprints in the shower though! As you can imagine, she was very pleased to see us and after calming her down we got ourselves ready for the day ahead.

Matt arrived around 9:40am and after a little faffing we hit the road shortly after 10am to make our way to Ribblehead and the viaduct.

We got to Ribblehead shortly after midday, put on our walking boots, and headed off down the road to pick up the path to the viaduct.

The last time I saw the Ribblehead viaduct was on day 36 of my LEJOG walk, walking from Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Hawes, starting the day’s walking with Russ and Rachel. I only saw it in the distance some miles away and it was impressive then, but up close and personal it was something else all together! It was amazing to think it was build in 1870!

We found a quiet spot behind the footings of one of the viaduct’s 24 arches and scattered some of Russ’ ashes on the ground. We also cracked open a bottle of Rekorderlig Strawberry-Lime cider – Russ loved his sweet, fruity ciders – had a slug each and poured the rest on the floor; Russ’ drink.

It was really nice and Russ would have loved the spot I’m sure.

The three of us – and the dog – headed out on a 4 1/2 mile circular walk, taking in the breathtaking scenery, chatting, and just enjoying being in the great outdoors. Snow was loving being out somewhere different with all new smells, mud to walk through and boggy reeds to jump through. She got just a little bit muddy, bless her.

On our way back to Ribblehead we had to cross Winterscales Beck – by bridge, not wading – and we all agreed that this would be a lovely spot to scatter some more of Russ’ ashes, letting him go on his next journey carried by the water’s currents. Matt did the honours this time and we watched as the ashes sank through the peat coloured water.

Again, a lovely spot to say farewell to a wonderful, lovely man.

We carried on along the track and it wasn’t long before we were back at the viaduct and up to the Station Inn pub for a refreshing pint and a little sit down.

Watered and rested we walked back to the car, got out of our muddy boots, and drove back to Knaresborough, getting back shortly after 4pm, dropping Matt at the Mitre before finding no parking spaces at Newton House’s very small car park. Doh! We emptied the car and I took it to one of the streets nearby, parking it for the night.

Cleaned and changed we’d agreed to meet Matt and Jan at the Mitre for a drink before heading up to the castle to say another goodbye to Russ there. He loved that view so there was no way we weren’t going to scatter some ashes there. We met Dawn at the castle and waited for the sun to start to go down, to be greeted by a stunning red sunset, making the trees almost look on fire!

Dawn and Jan did the honours with the ashes as the sun went down. It was a lovely moment.

We popped into the Cross Keys for a drink before heading back to the Mitre to meet up with Will for a few drinks. Sadly, after a long day the day before, followed by a long and emotional day, I was almost asleep at the table before 10pm! Embarassing

Shelli and I walked Snow for a bit – up at the castle again to say hi to Russ – before hitting our room and calling it a night.

All in all a really wonderful and special day saying goodbye to a lovely lovely man who is missed by many every day. I hope he thought we did him proud and was happy with the spots we chose to let him go. I’d like to think so.

Sunday

After the fiasco that was the morning before and the dog, Shelli organised for us to have our breakfasts in our room – Newton House really are amazing! – so one happy little dog this morning.

We took Snow out for a walk, strolling down the road to say goodbye to Matt before loading the car, checking out, and hitting the road back home.

I’m pleased to say that we had a much better journey home – phew! – getting home around 4pm, exhausted but pleased it had been such a lovely weekend, celebrating instead of spending it sad, which is everything we had hoped for the weekend.

Thanks everyone who messaged me to wish me a happy Birthday; it meant a lot.

Russ and his Nutella cheesecake
Russ and his Nutella cheesecake

Photos

Route Details

If you’re interested you can download the KML file and/or GPX file of the plotted route. Please be aware though that the route was hand-plotted and so may not be 100% accurate.

Route Map

Elevation Details

Start Elavation (m)End Elavation (m)Max Elevation (m)Min Elevation (m)Total Climb (m)Total Descent (m)Climbs on Route
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More information about climb ratings can be found at Map My Walk.