Summer holiday over 30 years ago
SISTER Tig and I left Norwich on Wednesday August 20th and drove via Kings Lynn to Newark. I had to stop on the way to tighten the clutch cable on the Fiat 127 as the garage that fitted the new one had not done a very good job. (Tig was very annoyed about this.) We had ice creams in Pickering and stopped at Eller Beck on the Moors so that the dogs could have a run and a dip. There was a nice little campsite with tents around a fire. The heather was in full bloom.
We got to Sleights and thence to Bill’s bungalow in Iburndale by late afternoon. Fido was so pleased to recognise the place that he barked with delight and anticipation. Most of the food we had brought with us had survived the journey, but the crab apple jelly tart had got squashed when Tig’s dog Suki stood on it. Later Bill plied us with drinks, Tig with sherry and me with beer (Old Peculier – Theakston’s is a Yorkshire brewery!).
The next morning Tig was up and gone to the Top Shop before Bill or I were awake.
(Top Shop was not then the name of a national chain of fashion retailers and the name merely meant the village shop at the top of the hill.) She bought bacon which we had for breakfast and picked up a leaflet on a walk across the moors, which we decided to do that morning. Tig drove us to Glaisdale; we parked near the station and as the other end of the walk was also near Egton Bridge station we could return by train if we were too tired to continue. This was on British Railways and the service was not as infrequent as it has since become; the line was still double track and the goods yard at Sleights was still used, for coal trucks at least. In the event we did not need to use the line. The walk was mostly through woods and it took us about a hour to get to the Postgate Inn at Egton Bridge. We walked back by another path; this took us throough a field of bullocks which chased Suki and frightened Tiggie. Back at Glaisdale we walked over the Packhorse Bridge that was built in 1619. We then drove to Lealholm where we picnicked on the green by the river Esk and then browsed the secondhand bookshop. Tig discovered a copy of John Knowlittle’s Broadland by Sail and Motor which I bought for £2.
After we got back to Bill’s we changed cars and he drove us over the new bridge in Whitby. We all went shopping and the returned for supper. Bill dug a root of potatoes from his garden and we had them with haddock and cauliflower. Tig and I took the dogs for a walk along the Beck before nightfall and then we watched The King and Mrs Simpson on TV.
The next day we decided to go south across the Moors to Pickering. We went to the trout farm there and purchased three fish. We walked the dogs through the wood and went round the castle where the entrance fee was 30p each. Tig and I duly paid but Bill walked round without paying. This is typical Bill – Tig was of course very cross with him for this. We went to Hutton le Hole for a drink. After a footpath walk we went round the Rye Dale Folk Museum. It is a large 2 acre site with lots of buildings and rural craft exhibits. We had a picnic of sausage rolls, then went round Nunnington Hall (National Trust), a 16th century house in its oldest parts. There are lots of oak panelled rooms but not a lot of artefacts or paintings. Back across the moors we went to Rosedale abbey and Castletown where we did some shopping.
Back at Iburndale Bill’s deputy called with the hospital keys. Bill thought he had to go Scarborough this evening on Rotary Club business, but a phone call revealed that this was not the case and he stayed with us and had lamb chops. He did go to a Rotary meeting in Whitby later in the evening, and while he was away we took the dogs to Sandsend for a walk along the beach. The waves were big and looked rather cold. We had a drink at the Hart. My bedtime reading was rather high-brow – the Lays of Marie de France (12th century poems of courtly love).
Bill got out the vacuum cleaner and started to clean the carpets on Saturday morning, which was another thing that annoyed Tig. We drove to Guisborough getting the car filled up on the way. Up here you can get ICI petrol. I paid £5 and Tig contributed the 40p! We went on to Roseberry Topping. We picnicked by the gate before climbing the hill. A schoolmaster had a party of children up there already (they must have been on a holiday trip) and a dog was of their party too. The dogs had all got rather hot on the way up and enjoyed wallowing in a pool they found on top of the hill. Then they rolled about on the ground and nearly began rolling down the slope. I had a ginger beer at the Fox when we had descended.
We walked back to Grosmont via the former inclined railway line. It was all down hill but the stiles along the way had no dog holes at the base. We had to lift Fido and Suki over them, and Suki ended up like Alexander Beetle, on her back waving her legs in the air. She was an old dog by then, at least 13, and she did well to keep up with all the walking we did. She was no longer as agile as she used to be, however. After that we had to look for other routes for the dogs where they could scramble underneath fences when we came to a stile. We happened upon a Gymkhana with horse races and a Donkey Derby. Tig was in here element. I thought Fido could have won the dog show as the “Dog with the Most Interesting Expression”. When we got back to Bill’s house he go out the lawn mower and cut the grass. My improving bedtime reading continued with a book of Donne’s poetry.
On Monday morning we were again in Grosmont, this time walking along the Monk’s Path from Aislaby. We had an interesting time going along Murk Beck Slack – where do they get these names from? (It is a tributary of the river Esk.) We drove the short distance to Egton to have a drink in the Wheatsheaf – Ian Carmichael the actor (who lived nearby) was also in the bar. Bill was pleased to have laid on a celebrity for us. We found a patch of heather where we had our ham and chicken sandwiches. Then off to Ormesby Hall where the police horses were kept in the stables (this branch of the Yorkshire Constabulary was disbanded in 2013). Although the last of the Pennyman baronets had died as long ago as 1852 Mrs Ruth Pennyman was still living in the house when we visited it. When one of us need the loo we had to go and get the key. The hall later passed to the National Trust. As with many eighteenth century properties in private hands there were some concerning maintenance issues (as we knew only too well). These included cracked ceilings and peeling paintwork.
Tuesday, our last full day’s holiday, we spent at Robin Hoods Bay. We parked on the site of the old railway station. From there we walked down the steep path to the beach and across the rocks and pools to Boggle Hole. This cave is where the smugglers hid their contraband, so it is said. It was rather misty at first, although the sun got out later. The Mill Beck there provides several fresh water pools where the dogs could have a drink. We walked back to the village by the cliff top path, a section of the Cleveland Way. Seeing both a fish and chip shop and a pub we resolved to stay there for lunch. We sat on the steps while a Mercedes truck unloaded a packing case at the Marine Laboratory. Later we found the truck still there, stuck on the hill and needing a tractor to pull it out. After leaving Robin Hoods Bay we drove the Langdale Forest Drive. This takes one through the large and densely planted modern Forestry Commission Dalby Forest.