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Pilgrimage to North Yorkshire

From the land of Robin Hood to Robin Hood’s Bay…one Nottingham lass’s pilgrimage to North Yorkshire.

What is it about Yorkshire that draws me?

I find myself asking this question constantly. Even now, when I am at my beige beech effect desk, running up Excel spreadsheets on my grey computer in my Magnolia office, I am dreaming of the green and purple moors, rolling dales and Jurassic cliff faces cosseting tiny villages set against the sapphire blue sea.

It was the North Yorkshire coast’s sharpness of contrasts which made me first fall in love with North Yorkshire many years ago. Walking along the coastal route from Whitby to Robin Hoods Bay I had a Julie Andrews moment, much to the annoyance of my husband. I glanced at the sea which had a picture book little fishing boat settled in the midst, then I looked to my right and saw azure skies and patchwork fields of all the shades of green you can imagine, and ahead of me was the ancient cliffs proudly standing out. I couldn’t resist it, my arms opened wide my face took in the warm sun and I twirled round exclaiming like an Evangelist “This IS Heaven”.

After my rapturous display of enlightenment I realised I had to try and catch up with my husband who had now disappeared down the dip ahead muttering something along the lines of “I don’t know who you are, mad woman!”
I agree, I may have looked barking mad, but how many thousands of people new to this wondrous coastline have felt the same? Ok, so their sanity may have prevailed, but what struck me in that moment was a sense of finding Home. That elusive place very few of us find. Yes, I own a house in Nottingham, and that is where I was raised, but whenever I am travelling up the road to Yorkshire I always feel I am coming Home. I know part of my ancestry does come from Yorkshire, so I like to believe that it really is a homecoming whenever I head north. But whatever it is, I like it.

Now our children are older we like to take our tent and spend a week or so up there, once, maybe twice a year. Our children share our excitement and wonder at the vastness and majesty of the moor lands, of the partridges and sheep who like to take their time crossing the unmarked roads and of the 33% gradients which make me decidedly queasy, but bring about whoops of laughter and cheers from the back seats of the car.

The most wonderful aspect of North Yorkshire is the unequalled variety of things to see, do and experience. There are myriads of tiny villages which comfort the urban traveller by reminding them that the rat race they have just left behind does not have to be their one and only view of life; there are walks to invigorate, walks to relax, and walks to see the wildlife which you cannot find in the middle of a bustling land locked city. There are steam railways and museums such as Rydale Folk museum which allow you to taste the past at your own pace, and if it is the good old fashioned day at the seaside you want you are spoilt for choice ….Scarborough, Filey, Whitby just to name a few.

North Yorkshire has been blessed with views which are perfect for the artist’s canvas and for the appreciative eye. Sitting on a hill above Grosmont railway station, taking in the view from Ravenscar to Robin Hoods Bay or simply sitting watching the fishing traffic come and go through Whitby Harbour are some of my personal favourites. But a winner with us all is that moment you come off the moors and see the gothic splendour of the ruins of Whitby Abbey in the distance. This never fails to raise a cheer amongst our kids and always sends a tingle down my spine as I momentarily share the same sensation and thoughts that hundreds and thousands of pilgrims felt upon sighting the Abbey in the distance.

A trip to North Yorkshire would not be complete without our own little pilgrimage to Robin Hood’s Bay. That most complete of small fishing villages which locals have had the good sense, commonplace amongst Yorkshire folk, to stave off gaudy arcades and themed pubs. Robin Hood’s Bay and its residents instead welcome us into a world of peacefulness and serenity and selflessly allow us to join their world for a day or to.

Which leads me to the subject of Yorkshire people themselves? They have an enviable combination of steadfastness and gentleness little found elsewhere. Their straight talking does not offend, it simply informs; their smooth languid tones mimic the rolling landscape and is easy on the ear, far removed from the harsher staccato accent found in Nottinghamshire. They have a dignified acceptance that they are part of their landscape and work with it, rather than attempt to dominate it as we have done in our Urban sprawls. Moreover they possess the quiet knowledge that they live amongst some of England’s most beautiful landscapes, but have the self-assurance that they do not need to brag.

During some office chat recently, we all discussed what we would do with our lottery winnings if we hit the jackpot. Some said they’d buy a house on some far away Caribbean island, others said they would settle in sunny California. Me? Well my house is waiting for me somewhere in North Yorkshire with a sign above it saying “Welcome Home”

Index : Holiday Reports, Travel Blogs and Campsite Features : Pilgrimage to North Yorkshire - by Legacy1969

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