When we leave the Lake District it is still cold weather and dark clouds in the sky. But as soon as we leave Cumbria and cross the Penines, a mountain range that stretches trhough central England from north to south, the sun starts to break through the clouds a bit. And it gets noticeably warmer, which we like, since it has been really cold the last few days. So we leave the west coast and drive to the east, where we want to visit Yorkshire. This morning we made a detour because we wanted to visit a museum in Keswick, but it was so busy there, with traffic jams from the centre to far outside the town, that we just drove on. In fact, it is busy everywhere in England, wherever we come.Now and then we make a stop in a town, like in Penrith, in pretty Richmond and Thirsk where we pass the James Herriot museum. And, obviously, we see cathedrals everywhere, a speciality of the English: every self-respecting town has at least one large cathedral.
Not so late in the afternoon we arrive at Helmsley, north east of York where we go to the Tourist Information to see if they can help us find a place for the night. Here again, it is very busy. People explain us that the Bank Holiday is the cause. Next week the summer holiday in England is over but the last monday of August is Bank Holiday and everybody wants to take advantage of that last day off. After a few phonecalls we find out that even most of the campsites are overcrowded.
But there is a small campsite, not far from Helmsley, where we can put our small tent. It is nice wether to camp, dry and warm. So we quickly go there, put up our tent and drive back to Helmsley to have a look around and eat a meal. It is nice to be able to walk in t-shirt again! Although we haven't come here for the weather, we always experience more of a holiday-feeling when the sun shines and we don't grow numb all the time as we did in the Lake District.
Helmsley is a colourfull town in a nice, natural environment. Today there have been carraces and in the centre of town people admire the strange and remarkable racing cars that are parked on the square. The restaurants and pubs are crowded but we are able to get a table outside after waiting for a while. When we later walk a bit out of the centre towards the castle, the streets become much quieter.
Here again a cathedral dominates the town; of the castle only a ruin is left. People in medieval costumes just come from the castle and we see more of them in the restaurants and pubs, later. There must have been a busy programm today with performances and plays!In a supermarket Elisabeth looks around in search of her favourite candy, Sweetstars of Bonds of London. Years ago we could find them in several shops in Scotland, but the last few years we see them nowhere aymore. Even the one last shop in Beauly where they had them until last year stopped selling them. But every supermarket we enter, Elisabeth checks the candy, you never know. And today she gets the jackpot! Behind a pillar there are a few, what a luck. Elisabeth immediately takes 3 bags although there are more. At least we know that they still exist and Elisabeth is happy as a child!
Back on the campsite we enjoy the last sunrays of the day but after that it quickly cools down. But we have a warm tent and to spend the night here costs only £ 14 (€ 21), much cheaper than a hotel.
Monday 29 August 2005, through the North York MoorsToday is Bank Holiday, eveybody has a day off and we notice it: people are everywhere, crowds all over the place! The sky is cloudy, but it feels comfortable. We try to avoid the masses and take small roads, first to Rievaulx abbey of which an impressive ruin has remained.
After that we cross the North York Moors national park. Fields with blooming heather cover this high area of more than 1400 km². A beautiful purple colours the whole landscape. According to our travel guide this area is not very touristic, but that doesn't seem to be true today. On most of the roads we drive in a long line of cars.
There are not many roads in this area but we find a few smaller ones and there is less traffic. Now and then we even have to open a gate to continue our way. At first we thought, it is a dead, maybe a road to a farm. But then there would be a sign... The gate is probably just a replacement for the more commonly used catlle grid to keep lifestock in a certain area.
Sometimes the sky becomes very dark, but the dark clouds go as fast as they come. Unfortunately we couldn't make a good photograph of it, since it looked very beautiful. This journey we find it difficult to make good pictures anyway because of the weather conditions. The sky is often to dark, or to white, the sceneries too vast to capture. A pity we are only amateurs, it would be so nice to be able to capture the fantastic sceneries that we come across.
Back on the south side of the moors we take a break in Pickering, a town build around the castle. The skies are blue again and the sun is shining brightly and everybody is wwalking or sitting outside. We walk around the market and have a look at the castle; the 14th century castle walls are still intact. On the market we buy a lovely elfs dress for our granddaughter. She will have to wait a few years before she fits into it, but it is so cute that we can't let it hang there.
Then we drive to the north again, along another road and arrive at Whitby where an old abbey ruin stands high on a cliff above the sea. Whitby itself lies much lower and in the town it is as crowded as we have seen in other places. Where do all these tourists come from, we ask ourselves? Don't they have to go home, now that the holiday is almost over?
Robin Hood's Bay (doesn't have anything to do with the 'real' Robin Hood) is a village (very small on the picture) where tea and liquor were brought to land by smugglers in the 18th century. Nowadays it will be probably cigarettes and tobacco since these articles are now very expensive in the UK.
We have made quite a tour today and when we are back at Helmsley, we indulge ourselves with a 'good' English meal. That is to say, there are carrots and peas present, like in all meals here. We don't have a good relationship with the English kitchen... We know some people won't agree with us, buth we always eat cheap and in England that is expensive enough. The houses here, they are much better, but we can't live of them... So we just finish the plate with all the (not well-cooked) vegetables and too fat potatoes.The sun just sets when we return to the campsite. And maybe it really becomes quieter after tomorrow because some of the tents and caravans have already gone and others are packing. Now we skip sometimes places we would like to see, just because it is way too busy, but hopefully that will change when the holiday is really over!