Welcome to 'Kelly's Guide'...
A sort of Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island," from a lovely Goathland Guest House instead! Here you'll find local information, news from the house, short tales and observations and anything else which springs to mind as I type. Well March ended much like the old adage claims April ought to begin, with showers! One moment glorious sunshine and blue skies, the next dark clouds and monsoon-like rain (with the odd smattering of hailstones for good measure)… Maybe April really will see British summer time begin! When the sun shines, it has some genuine warmth, with temperatures well into double figures in the shelter of the back garden. Even up on the moor, we’ve enjoyed plenty of coat-less walks and the hats and gloves are about ready to be put away for a few months.
We’ve yet to see lambs out and about; the farms are full of bundles of fun, but we’re a couple of weeks away from seeing them frolic out on The Common and on the moors. As ever, they’ll provide better entertainment than anything on television once they’re out and about.
There are daffodils galore, crocus and primroses are peeping out in the front garden, and I can’t bring myself to bring the Easter chicks in from the driftwood tree – they are just too cute. Though they are weighted in place by Cadbury’s crème eggs, so I guess I could be tempted to bring them in… The gorse bushes are close to full bloom as you head into Darnholm and over Green End and the controlled burning on the moors is just about complete ready for the ground-nesting birds to settle in. The NYM Railway timetable is in full swing with trains running daily from Pickering through Levisham, Goathland, Grosmont and on to Whitby, right through until the end of October.
We’re busy with the last of the internal Spring-clean, and are hoping to give Room 3 a makeover before the month is it. We can’t wait for the ground to dry out so that we can get into the garden and get jet washing the paving and weeding in the front garden. After such a wet winter, the back garden is distinctly swamp-like. We have a new shed to install out there, new planting to go around it, and we’re desperate to get the veggie patch dug over. Thank goodness the forecast looks promising. The lighter nights are a lovely bonus, and dad is using them to recommence his training… he is once again signed up for the Hutton-le-Hole half marathon in June and the Goathland full marathon in November, keen to beat last year’s times.
Our comprehensive ‘What’s On’ guide is available from the homepage, to help you plan your stay… open air theatre productions at Castle Howard? Art exhibitions at the moors centre? One of the hugely popular agricultural shows? A weekend away to watch the ‘Tour de Yorkshire’? Take a look; it really is packed with great ideas. It never ceases to amaze me, how much there is to do throughout the year in the area. As though acres upon acres of moor land, miles of coastline, footpaths that criss-cross the area and link to the Lyke Wake and the Coast to Coast and views that can a take a day to of simply watching to fully appreciate, weren’t enough; there are farmers markets, agricultural shows, craft fairs, theatre productions, galas… In August for example, Glaisdale hosts a theatre production of brilliant quality, in a wonderfully quirky setting where you can enjoy a pre-show glass of wine in the garden. Throughout the summer, you can catch a steam train on the Esk Valley line and enjoy great music and real ale whilst being whisked through stunning scenery. Or you can sit outdoors, enjoying a picnic, and watch open-air theatre in the middle of Helmsley Castle. Or enjoy one of the top-rated Jazz festivals in the country just down the road in Scarborough. And catch a steam train to Whitby and avoid all the hassle of parking in the town, arriving full of nostalgia for a bygone era and ready for fish and chips. I think I’ll spend the rest of the year pretending to be a guest!
You might like to know, for example, that if you've had a leisurely Saturday hopping on and off the NYM Steam Railway, eaten an ice-cream or two and whiled away an hour watching the sheep nibble their way up The Common, that you won't need to drive down to Whitby to enjoy fish and chips... Eskdale Fisheries in Sleights is a great spot, with picnic benches in the garden outside so you can enjoy fish and chips at their best - open, in paper, in the sunshine!
Ever heard about the little pub you just have to visit in Beck Hole? Just a mile from Goathland by car and little less to walk down the Rail Trail... The Birch Hall is one of the best and smallest pubs in Britain, complete with sweet shop and beer garden. Enjoy a 'Beck Hole Butty' and a pint of 'Beck Watter'!
Sandsend... glorious beaches, good coffee and cake at both 'Sandside' and 'Wit's End', art gallery, pub, a 'foodies' shop and just a couple of miles north of Whitby town centre. Perfect. But don't tell anyone else about it!
For fish and chips, 'The Magpie' is rightly famous. Cue the queues! Alternatively head over the swing bridge into the old town and keep to the right... you'll find Hadley's. It's good. And Fortune's own-smoked kippers (find them on Henrietta Street), can even be posted home for you.
For a walk from our doorstep, follow the Rail Trail down to Grosmont - head to the Geall's Art Cafe for coffee and cake to set you up for the walk back. Or pop into the Old School House Coffee Shop for a slice or scrumptious chocolate cake. And you can even cheat and catch the train back to Goathland Station.
One of our favourite 'drives' starts by heading out of Goathland towards Egton, then up through Glaisdale and on to Danby. If you're peckish en route, stop in Lealholm for a home-baked treat from the bakery and enjoy it whilst looking at fantastic views towards the North Sea. Beyond Danby you'll find Castleton before circling back towards Hutton-le-Hole. Stop off at the Red Lion at Blakey Ridge for a spot of lunch or just a cheeky drink. By Hutton-le-Hole you might need to stretch your legs around the shops and if you forfeited lunch after your hearty Fairhaven breakfast, head to the Blacksmith's at Lastingham for an early dinner and then head towards Pickering for a straightforward drive back to Goathland, or towards Stape for a more adventurous route across the top of the moors!
What's happening now?
I think an early Easter and nine days of the Flying Scotsman being in the area, made March busier than usual and now April a little quieter than usual… the ‘What’s on’ guide looks a little slim-line compared to usual. Maybe this is the perfect time for a visit if you prefer things a little quieter! Light nights, warmth in the sun but not so many crowds? However, if the acres of moorland, miles of coastline and gorgeous villages and towns in the area aren’t quite enough, here are some extra suggestions… art exhibitions at the Staithes Gallery and Inspired by Gallery at Danby; the monthly food market in Malton on 9th; Scarborough Book Festival from 13th – 17th; the Spring Goth Weekend in Whitby from 22nd – 24th (and an epic Vintage Festival in York the same weekend); and the piece de resistance at the end of the month, the Tour de Yorkshire. Tempted?! The Tour was fantastic last year; I can highly recommend a walk down the Rail Trail to Grosmont to watch the race pass through the village. The atmosphere was incredible last year, and lots of people spent the day scooting around the region to watch it in different places!
Ok, so what does early April look like right now? A little showery and a lot sunny! Tonight was the first night we didn’t light the fire – yep, it was that toasty after an afternoon and evening of sun. The last of the lemon drizzle cake disappeared, and in its place a lime & coconut cake magically appeared. And it smelled scrumptious. Today’s guests have enjoyed Castle Howard (the house is open again daily) and Whitby (with a trip to The Magpie, obviously.) A friend has also just opened ‘The Blitz’ in Whitby… you’ll have to come and visit if you want to find out more! Mum has been decorating Room 3, dad has been spring-cleaning the cars and I’ve been spring-cleaning the house. Just need the lambs to come to play and we’ll really know it’s Spring…
Hopefully, that’s whet your appetite. If you’d like to see off the winter in style and need a quick reminder that spring is on its way, come and join us. There are wonderful views, glorious walks, empty beaches and miles of un-chartered heather moors right outside the front door and within a few miles in each direction. Inside, there are snuggly quilts, an open fire, a well-stocked bar, a kettle that’s rarely off the boil and more books, films and cds than you could shake a stick at. I can think of few things better than a few days away doing nothing more taxing than planning the next walk, via which pub and tea room and working up a healthy appetite for dinner after a hearty breakfast. We look forward to seeing you soon!