A Breath of Fresh Air

How I'm getting back out into the countryside whilst living with MS

Archive for the tag “North Yorkshire”

On the Edge

We were staying in a caravan in Whitby, or rather, not in Whitby, but above and behind it, like in the old days.

Whitby, North Yorkshire

Whitby, North Yorkshire

We used to camp up here year after year – a fresh air get-away. The highlight was walking along the cliff path which hugs the edge of the fields on one side and plunges straight down to the sea just beyond a crooked wire fence on the other. We would descend the 199 steps into Whitby, mooch around the shops and walk along the sea walls, then trip back up the steps to our haven above the cliffs.

Whitby's red roofs and the 199 steps

Whitby’s red roofs and the 199 steps

Whilst we regularly return to Whitby it had been a long time since we‘d stayed on the cliff top as tents were no longer welcome at the site. However, we had been very pleased to take up the offer of staying in a friend’s caravan.

harbour wall

harbour wall

Our first day was taken up with enjoying the open views from our bolthole – miles of green fields and wide blue skies, with a glimpse of Whitby Abbey in the distance; and refamiliarising ourselves with the piers, cafes and shops of the town.

... with perching cormorants

… with perching cormorants

Although I think I’ve had my fill of the cobbles in the old part – painful bumps, deep fissures that the wheelchair (and Pete) struggled to manoeuvre out of and such numbers of people to negotiate!

In the evening we returned to enjoy the views by night. It was now distinctly autumnal but so fresh, making you feel very alive.

harbour at night

harbour at night

The next day, Pete did an early morning check of the footpath and returned to say that he thought it was negotiable by wheelchair from the site right along to Whitby Abbey, above the town.

approaching Whitby Abbey from across the fields

approaching Whitby Abbey from across the fields

This was great news. I had been pushing away those memories of all the coastal walks we’d done round here, which wasn’t helped by the fact that the caravan was right next to one of the footpaths along which a steady flow of people passed, clearly enjoying the walk.

wheelchair-friendly footpath

wheelchair-friendly footpath

I didn’t need to think of that any more. Soon I was on the path myself, peering through the fence and following the line of steep cliffs careering down to the sea hundreds of feet below. The tide was out and we watched tiny people walking their dogs across the flat rocks. And we simply watched and listened to the sea.

cliff edge

cliff edge

After about half a mile we reached the ruins of Whitby Abbey, and shortly after that, having bowled through Dracula’s graveyard, we found a bench overlooking the town. From here we had spectacular views of the harbour, the maze of houses with their red roofs, and, of course, the sea.

cliff top view

cliff top view

It was great to be back on top – and I didn’t have to negotiate the 199 steps either!

Advertisements

Camping Wild(ish!)

It’s been nagging at the back of my mind for some time that the thought of going camping doesn’t appeal in the way it used to. Too much hassle for a body that has limited strength and energy. But the thought of sleeping outdoors still appealed in an abstract way …

dreaming of camping!

dreaming of camping!

Meanwhile, I’d been trying to arrange a night away for us at Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire. When I rang to book us in they laughed and said it was booked up for months but we could camp outside if we liked. I started to ponder … One night camping right outside a pub sounded like an acceptable way of resolving my problem.

And so off we went!

We headed north, past the Ribblehead Viaduct where we saw lots of people who were midway through the Three Peak challenge. Then it was on to Hawes, where the odd polkadot could still be seen fluttering on bunting, in memory of last year’s Tour de France. We stocked up with provisions for our night’s camping: bacon, bread, milk. Then it was time to go on.

Passing out of Keld, the road climbed and the landscape grew emptier. We passed beyond the stone barns of Swaledale and up on to the moors. The landscape was vast and wild.

leaving behind Swaledale's stone barns

leaving behind Swaledale’s stone barns

I hopped in and out of the car a couple of times to take photos but struggled to keep the camera steady in the strong wind. I quickly got back inside. We had definitely got on to higher ground!

open moorland

open moorland

At last, we came across Tan Hill Inn. It stood alone on the open moors. There was nothing else for miles around. I couldn’t even see any sheep.

We were blown inside by the wind. It was packed with people! There were bikers, walkers and cyclists. More people came in with presents, ready for a celebration. It was all a bit mad!

Tan Hill Inn

Tan Hill Inn

We found seats not far from the fire – it might have been July but its cosiness and warmth were still very welcome. Once Pete had put the tent up out on the moor at the more sheltered side of the pub (definitely camping wild – no facilities here!) we settled into our seats for the evening.

camping wild

camping wild

The reason for wanting to  come to this particular pub was that it is the highest pub in England at 1732 feet above sea level – it certainly felt that high! Also, we had camped there before (many years before!) when we had been walking the Pennine Way. It is an even more welcome sight after a long day’s walk! So it was good to be there again – and camping again!

the Pennine Way outside the inn

the Pennine Way outside the inn

The evening ebbed and flowed most pleasantly. The initial crowds, popping in as part of a day’s ride, headed off. People came in for a bar meal, more came for the party in another part of the pub, and groups of young men came and went, carrying camping gear. They were celebrating a 30th birthday and were camping out like us.

perfect fireplace!

perfect fireplace!

There was a slight lull for half an hour but it was all bustle again before we knew it. A girl singer provided entertainment later in the evening. Later still, one of the birthday lads began quietly strumming a guitar. Eventually, we decided it was time to find our tent.

happy customers

happy customers

It was now pitch dark – no street lighting here! Fortunately, we made it to our tent without incident. As I snuggled into my sleeping bag and Pete fell to sleep immediately, I discovered that my shoulder was on its own little slope which was pushing me towards Pete. I felt I had to cling onto the mattress to stop myself from falling on to him! It was going to be long night!

And then the birthday lads started singing along with their guitarist. Lovely songs – but not in the middle of the night! And sometime later, having heard a large array of songs, I heard a huge argument between four other campers. It was all happening at Tan Hill Inn!!

Thankfully for me, Pete woke half way through the night and agreed to swap over sleeping positions, so we each got a little sleep.

breakfast bacon with a view!

breakfast bacon with view!

It was all forgotten in the morning though, as it was breakfast time – the best bit of camping has to be the bacon butties for breakfast! These were excellent, as was the view from the tent. A most satisfactory night’s camping.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: