OS Explorer map 304, Darlington & Richmond: Egglescliffe & Gainford – I do not own this map, and had not visited it before starting this blog. Visited for this post 5th July 2018. (This post is the second of fourteen concerning my July 2018 trip to Harris and Galloway with my Cambridge friends.)
So, my last post told you of the beginning of the journey north that I was making with my Cambridge friends, to go on holiday at my family’s holiday cottage on the Isle of Harris. After collecting Vesper from that Harvester near Loughborough, she, Queenie, Erithacus and I continued our driving, starting to listen to the musical Hamilton as we drove for another hour and a bit to Doncaster railway station. There, we collected Millicent, the fifth of our six.
From Doncaster, we carried on northwards, now on the A1 rather than the M1. We also carried on listening to Hamilton, which Millicent was not overjoyed to discover, since he’d seen the stage show the very last day. Being up late doing that was in fact the reason why he, who lived in Hertfordshire, was meeting us at Doncaster station rather than coming to my house the night before like Erithacus and Queenie did.
Lunchtime  was rapidly approaching by the time we left the A1 south of Darlington, getting onto the A66 to take us over to the west coast. The traffic on this road was a little slow, and so we decided this was an opportune time to do my favourite of methods for finding lunch while on the road, and just get off at a random exit, drive into the first village one sees, and look for a pub. Our first attempt was something of a failure, leading us into the not-really-a-village of Hartforth, which not only lacked a pub, but also much in the way of multiple houses. Fortunately, a quick jaunt along a very narrow single-track road brought us to much better-endowed Ravensworth.
Ravensworth was a very pretty village, with a huge green in the middle of it, and we pulled up opposite the Bell Inn, all entering and sitting down once I and Queenie, scouting, confirmed it did have several promising-looking vegan options. (Vesper is a vegan, and Erithacus mostly one.)
Our experience there was pleasant; the lady behind the bar was chatty in a nice way, although possibly overworked – fortunately it was only us and one other table there, as she seemed to be doing all the cooking, serving and bar work alone. There was a problem with the fizzy drinks machine, as Millicent, Queenie and Erithacus all got fizzy water instead of lemonade. This was fixed, except for Millicent, who elected to keep his fizzy water.  Since I’d be travelling with two vegans, a vegetarian and a kosher-keeper, this holiday would be a meat-free one – I therefore took this as my last chance for a splurge, ordering a steak pie.
Millicent and Vesper received the somewhat interesting mixture of food that consisted of a plate with spring rolls sitting on top of a pile of rice, with a naan bread by the side. But anyway, yes, food was had by all, and it was as a satisfied bunch that we plodded back over to the car and continued on our way northwards.
 And an entertaining day it will be – there is an amusing story to be told about the previous time I went to Doncaster, involving a ten-or-so-year-old me, a lift, and some vomit.
 which, to disagree with Mr Adams, never seems that much of an illusion.
 Millicent very much likes fizzy water, which Erithacus and I find very difficult to understand – we discovered this on our first holiday together, in Wales in 2016, walking part of the Offa’s Dyke Way. Vesper likes the stuff too, but more mildly. Much as Erithacus and I like to denounce the other two as heathens for their water preferences, it is my turn as the heathen whenever tea is to be drunk – I, for my sins, take a teaspoon of sugar.