'Knitting Fog..!' Early morning mist in fields surrounding our village

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Virtual Tour of Yorkshire

It's been a while since I blogged anything, mainly due to illness, tiredness and lack of enthusiasm, though I have been knitting on and off, mostly socks which I am now addicted to!  But around end of August and September I started writing this Virtual tour for some American friends on another website, one of whom had requested I tell them about Yorkshire in general, so I've decided to put it up here too, in installments.

Virtual Tour of Yorkshire

Well, where do I start? I love Yorkshire, especially the part I am in, the rural countryside. Most of my ancestors on my maternal side come from Yorkshire, though I was born in the south, so in a way I have come back to my roots. Where we are situated is a very rural area, with small market towns and villages. Our village has about 50 residents and is surrounded by agricultural land and sheep, some cattle and several large stables for race horse training.

Yesterday we made the 45 mile journey to Middlesbrough, taking the Stokesley road and passing through Helmsley where my son lives. Helmsley is another small market town and has an old ruined castle, plus Lady Feversham lives just outside Helmsley at Duncombe House, a big stately home. From Helmsley we travelled along a very narrow winding road, there are lots of steep hills and valleys, and the views are wonderful. Patchwork fields in varying shades of green dotted with sheep and cattle, many trees and patches of deciduous woodland and pineforest with picnic areas. Stone built farm houses and homes dotted here and there are built of the local sandstone, with red tiled roofs. The hills above them and beyond the fields are covered in bracken and heather, and the fields are divided by hedges of hawthorn, elderberry, crab apple and blackthorn. Plenty of habitat for the wildlife in the area, deer, badgers, bunnies etc.,

It's the 'silly season' for pheasants and grouse, mating time, and they were all over the place yesterday risking life and wing. It is a very busy road and the birds have no road sense at all. We had to slow down for a bunch of grouse playing around in the middle of the road, shortly after a car appeared behind us and he had to stop altogether. Unfortunately a lot of the birds do get killed.

About halfway to Stokesley we come to a village called Chop Gate, which in local dialect is called 'Chopyat' - if we take a side tour from there, turning off halfway through the village onto a hairpin bend which leads onto a narrow single lane road travelling up a hill for about 3.5 miles we come to a place called Lordstones Cafe, one of our favourite places. It is out in the wilds of Carlton Bank and the cafe is built into a hillside so all you can see is the front. It's very popular with bikers, hikers, tourists and locals, has a very extensive menu and is very reasonable price-wise. As you exit the cafe and look left you can see what looks like the start of a golf course, but it isn't. Walking up between stands of Rowan and fir you come to a 5000 year old standing stone with Celtic markings on it, Walking on up the hill towards the horizon you realise the turf beneath your feet is quite springy and has lots of small wild flowers growing in it. Looking on all you can see is hill top and sky but eventually you come to the edge of a 1000 foot drop into the valley below, spreading out as far as the eye can see on a clear day, more fields, sheep that look like cotton wool blobs and cattle, and way off to the north is the city of Middlesbrough and the northeast coast. It is so quiet, except for the occasional twitter of birds, a hikers voice on the wind or the sound of a tractor far below. Off to the right is a conical shaped hill called Roseberry Topping that has a tragic legend associated with it, tomorrow I'll tell you the tragic tale of the king and queen and their young son.

5000 year old Celtic Standing Stone

The white dots are sheep

To be continued.....

PS I met James Herriot back in 1986 and he autographed a copy of his book for me, his real name was Alfred White and he lived in Thirsk. He passed away some years ago.

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