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.
Where do the weeks and months go?! One minute we’re waiting on the first of the season’s lambs and the next we’re into the month of the longest day!
We had a glimpse of Summer with a week of mild and sunny days, but the wind has picked up again and there’s a drizzle threatening. The forecast looks good though, with temperatures promising to rise for the first weekend of June and plenty of sunshine – fingers crossed!
The calendulas are starting to peek through, the bluebells are out in force along with the blossom and we have salad leaves, sweet peas, green beans and herbs growing out in the pots. Dad is cutting the grass every few days and we’re out weeding and tidying at every available opportunity. The lambs are growing and appear in ever-increasing numbers every time you blink!
It’s starting to feel like Summer is ready to show-up and stay… I love the impact of sunshine… there are people on every bench, every spare blade of grass has a picnic rug on it, people are walking around at snail-pace, desperately trying to rescue an ice-cream that’s bowing to the pressure of 20+ degrees, children (and adults alike!) are paddling in the river at Darnholm for hours at a time, it’s still daylight at 10pm, we’re getting out in the garden and I have the grazes to prove it! It sounds ridiculous bearing in mind we own a guest house and that kind of implies a holiday spirit, but the sun and warmth give it doubly a holiday-like feel! Guests enjoy their tea and cakes sat on the benches at the front of the house, all the rooms have a bottle of sun cream on the shelf and you can walk back from dinner without a torch!
This month will also see dad take part in a half-marathon around Rosedale and Hutton-le-Hole (again – will he ever learn?!); we did a quick ‘recce’ again last week with the dogs and walked the route. It really is a stunning area, with a loop from Hutton-le-Hole, taking in a section of the Tabular Hills walk, climbing to Blakey Ridge Road and skimming the top of Rosedale past the old Iron Works. An intermittent bad back has affected dad’s training and he’s only just started running again (with less than two weeks to go!), so he might not beat last year’s time, but I’ll keep you posted.
The end of May saw Malton Food Lover’s Festival, and mum and I couldn’t resist a whirlwind tour round. The smells were heavenly, the streets were packed, the sun shone and the atmosphere was brilliant. We returned home with cheese (including Yorkshire halloumi!), chutneys, artisan breads, chocolate vodka, pastries, ginger crunch cake and lots of cards and flyers with future treats earmarked for mail order. It’s an awesome weekend!
June also heralds the season of country shows, fairs and a packed ‘What’s On Guide. Music festivals, folk festivals, the Awesome 70’s weekend and Diesel Gala, the North Yorkshire Country Fair, regattas, vintage fairs – you name it, it’s on! The North York Moors Railway Summer timetable is in full tilt and the Coastliner Summer timetable in place. So you really can forget about your car and enjoy some good old-fashioned modes of transport and stretch your walking legs in between.
Looking further ahead, July and August will see all the great shows – Egton, Danby, the Great Yorkshire, Ryedale, Thornton-le-Dale and so forth. And then there’s still Stokesley, Lealholm and Castleton to host theirs in September. There’ll be open air theatre productions at Castle Howard and Helmsley Castle; art exhibitions at the moors centre; Afternoon tea on the Steam Railway and Whitby Regatta. 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 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?
And what’s happening right now? Well, our guests are split between walking (the Mallyan Spout looks pretty spectacular that the moment), spending a leisurely day mooching around Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay, and playing on the trains – including the Pullman Sunday lunch. We’re split between gardening (mum), tackling the paperwork pile (Kelly) and chopping kindling from our own log store (dad!)
We’re also going to fit in a stretch with the dogs to Thackside, Stape and back via the Roman Road (and meet the new pigs at the Birch Hall Inn en route), and tonight will see our guests dining at the Mallyan, the Horseshoe at Levisham and sampling fish and chips on the coast.
Tempted to join us? I hope so. We’d love to hear from you once you’ve got some dates in mind… sit, walk, snooze, explore, cycle, climb, catch a train, hop on the Coastliner, catch up with that book you’ve been meaning to read since you unwrapped it at Christmas, eat, drink and be merry… Well, I can think of worse ways to spend a few days! And few places better than here to spend them…