Archive for ‘England’

The four journey to the North York Moors!

The four journey to the North York Moors!

The four of us flew from Barcelona and drove across to our home away from home at Crag House Farm in the lovely North York Moors where we were warmly welcomed by our hosts Liz and Danny who were flying the flag for our arrival! The weather chose that week to change from mild to wild but we spent a lovely cosy week in our barn conversion complete with all mod cons venturing out for some touristic experiences and a little walking.

Puffer jackets, rain coats and umbrellas at the ready we walked the streets of York, visited Whitby and Rievaulx Abbey, had numerous coffees/teas and the odd scone or cake in the cafes in the little villages on the moors and enjoyed a rollicking return visit to the weekly Eskulele ukulele club meeting in the Fox and Hounds at Ainthorpe.

A few pics below to show how we a) were nearly blown off the headland at Whitby, b) snowed on the moors road and c) reasonably frequently rained on during our week. Made for some great photos though!

We arrived just before Halloween and Whitby was having its annual goths/steampunks festival which also included a atmospheric lightshow at Whitby abbey for a few nights before Halloween. We planned to go as it looked to be spectacular but decided against a repeat visit in the wind/rain/potential snow!

We did get in some walking, which included a delightful walk beside the Falling Foss waterfall and May Beck and a couple of wanders near the farm, one up to see the serious looking Sitting Man looking out over the moors.

One benefit of the changed weather was the beautiful autumnal colours everywhere – below a) and c) taken on our walk near Falling Foss, b) at Rievaulx Abbey (the visitor centre).

The churchyard of St Mary at Lastingham also looked spectacular as the sun shone and illuminated the autumn colours against the grey stone of the church and the headstones. This chuch has a 7th century crypt (left three pics) under which St Cedd is said to be buried. Originally part of an outpost of St Aiden’s monastery at Lindisfane, the remaining crypt is a simple but quite atmospheric place.

Another week of journeying in the south and we will be on the way home – and the final bulletin for this expedition will hopefully be posted!

Weekend in Canterbury

Weekend in Canterbury

We met up with our travelling companions in London and then headed to Canterbury for a couple of nights where we stayed in the delightful Canterbury Cathedral Lodge which is inside the grounds of the Cathedral. Lots of places to wander and see the city’s history – we found out a bit more about the Canterbury Tales, enjoyed the Roman Museum and of course the Cathedral and the mediaeval city itself. Lots of spectacular views of the Cathedral by day and beautifully lit by night for our evening wander outside the walls for dinner.

Top pic on left is from our room showing the entrance to the lodge with the Cathedral beyond, pic on right is the memorial to the martyred St Thomas A’Beckett inside the Cathedral, an exploration of the city’s ice cream offerings and the Cathedral and precincts by night carefully composed to eliminate the scaffolding covering the western end!

We took a bus to Dover and climbed the hill to Dover castle (equivalent to 22 storeys according to my phone!) with its spectacular views and extensive tunnels. Note the ear plugs on one member of the trio who was listening to the rugby grand final from Aus! Autumn definitely coming in but some lovely fine weather and still some late roses and other flowers around.

A week in the Channel Islands

A week in the Channel Islands

We have just spent a great week walking and sightseeing in the Channel Islands, starting in Jersey, moving on to Guernsey with a side trip to Sark.

Jersey and Guernsey have cars and other motor vehicles but low max speed limits of around 40mph and plenty of designated green routes where speeds are even slower, so great for walking. Pics above include two of the world’s greatest golfers (top right!), the lovely Brelade Bay in the late afternoon complete with lifesavers, and the entrance to the Jersey war tunnels which has a great exhibition of Jersey during the Occupation in WW2.

Below are some pics from Guernsey, the book and movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society have obviously spurred on some tourism efforts – souvenirs in lots of places. Didn’t try the potato peel pie! The top right pic, Official Notice, is a photo from a museum. Lots (particularly children) did evacuate, with families being split up for years. A long occupation and lots of privation. Along the coast were towers and fortifications built by the English against the French interspersed with fortifications built by the Germans against the English. Lovely walks again, with plenty of warnings about golf balls, lots of blackberries in the hedge rows and fantastic coastal scenery.

We took the ferry across to Sark from Guernsey and spent a wonderful day wandering there. No cars at all. Horse drawn vehicles, tractors and bicycles or walking are the only way to get around! As you can see from the pics the day was spectacular and we couldn’t get lost as the island is very small!

Back to the North York Moors and then south before home to 36°S

Back to the North York Moors and then south before home to 36°S

I’m writing this after we have been back home at 36°S for several weeks.  So it is much overdue but I wanted to complete the record!

Our last walking week was in the lovely North York Moors. We returned to one of our favourite locations, Crag House Farm, in Danby Dale, to a warm welcome from Liz and Danny. This time staying in Dale View Barn (on the right of the dovecote in the picture) having stayed in Beacon View on our previous visit. Both are immaculately renovated  and just so comfortable. The fizz in the fridge and the fabulous sponge cake were extremely welcome after our longish drive from Scotland!

crag house farm

Overlooking Danby Dale, there is walking right from the door of our Barn and not much further away there are many other walks ranging from strolls to really hard hacks. We did a couple in the middle of the moors and a lovely coastal walk from Runswick Bay to Staithes and back. Staithes being a very picturesque village where a young James Cook worked as a grocer’s assistant. We had fantastic local crab in sandwiches at the pub in the middle of the village. The coastal scenery in simply stunning.

coast path

Our inland moor walks were more rural – think fields, woods and moors – but equally enjoyable – more great pub lunches like the one on the bottom left with beautiful local ham served in the flower filled walled garden of the hotel in Lastingham.


Our book of walks on the North York Moors is no where near exhausted so we may be back for more one day…….

On Liz’s suggestion we spent a fabulous evening spectating at the the Ukulele Club evening at the Fox and Hounds in Ainthorpe.  A guest singer from 36° (not me!) led the group in a rousing rendition of Waltzing Matilda! It was great, everyone knew the words and strummed andsang along. The next evening we happened to go the Duke of Wellington in Danby where some of the ukelele players and some other also excellent musicians happened to be having their monthly session – another great evening and another rendition of Waltzing Matilda!


After Danby Dale we headed south for a weekend with our friends in Suffolk.  A morning in Bury St Edmunds and another encounter with the steampunk community – this time performing morris dances near the market – on a sunny Saturday morning. (At least I knew what they were this time!).  A visit to Bury is not complete without a wander through the Abbey gardens and a photo of St Edmondsbury Cathedral.


The next day was unseasonably warm – 23 ish – for the time of year and we had a walk along the sea front from Felixstowe Ferry along past the golf course and the Martello towers to the colourful beach huts/bathing boxes and back.  It was a brilliant day and some of the sunbathers outside one of the huts answered quite a number of questions to enlighten a member of the 36°S team!


After the weekend it was onward south to Kent for a few days – a quick visit to the Churchill’s home at at Chartwell (lower right) on the way.  The next day, a visit to Canterbury and the Cathedral along with multitudes (it seemed) of school children from all over Europe. Hard to get any pics without lots of people in them – but got two (on the upper right below) – the left one of the pair is the commemoration of the martyrdom of St Thomas A’Beckett.  The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, is a great place – well worth a the best part of day.  Even I crawled through a submarine (lower left), but the bits I liked best were the historic buildings and ships and significantly their stories. It’s really well done. The BBC were making the final of one of their art competition series while we there and it was fun wandering backwards and forwards watching progress on the paintings. Hope it gets screened at 36°S sometime!


Finally, time to head to Heathrow and home via a visit to our family in Hong Kong and back to reality – for the time being at least!!