Yorkshire Dales

 Whitby Harbour with Whitby Abbey on the hill (of Dracula fame)

Whitby, Yorkshire (9/1 to 9/4) 

 After our evening flight from Crete, we stayed the night in a Premier Inn near the airport and next day headed east towards Whitby, stopping in Harrogate for some shopping and for breakfast at Betty's Cafe. We drove on towards Whitby and eventually found The Broome House our B&B, a few miles outside Whitby. We were still pretty tired from our journey the previous day, so we didn't go exploring that day.

 The next day, we went to Whitby which we had last visited ten years ago. It was cooler than we had expected, so the first order of business was to buy a fleece for Paul. Suitably protected, we spent the rest of the morning exploring the lovely old town.

Whitby Harbour and the old lifeboat

The narrow streets of the old town

Paul's hero, Captain Cook, who came from Whitby. The seagulls don't give him the respect he deserves.

In the afternoon, we went to Robin's Hood Bay, which is just down the coast. Paul had stayed there as a child but has no memory of the place and Kris wanted to see it because her parents had stayed there years ago and liked it a lot.

The Coble Landing and steep main street of Robin Hood's Bay 

Hundreds of people amusing themselves on the rocks at low tide.

The next day, we took the (steam) train from Grosmont to Pickering, to complete a journey we had started ten years earlier when Paul and his friend David had taken steam train driving lessons on the same line, The North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Waiting at Grosmont

The train (going backwards) through the pretty Yorkshire countryside

A wonderfully nostalgic scene - a steam train waiting to depart from a small country station

The pleasant main street of Pickering at the other end of the line

After our train ride, we drove round the area, finding a really old bridge and an old fashioned water splash.

An old fashioned water splash and a bridge dated 1619

Crakehall, Yorkshire (September 5 - 30)

After three days in the Whitby area, we moved to our rental house in Crakehall, near Bedale. This is a beautifully renovated ale house with three bedrooms called the Malt Shovel House.

Our cottage, the Malt Shovel, is the house in the middle with the flowers over the door 

 Once we had settled in, we visited Freddie, Paul's mum.

Freddie inside and outside her house with two of her four dogs

Birthday Party (9/18)

One the highlights of our stay in Yorkshire was Paul's sixtieth birthday. Various old friends turned up and stayed with us, or stayed somewhere close and on the 18th of September, we celebrated at Simonstone Hall in Hawes.

Thomas and Fiona

Jackie and Terry

The Mums swap stories 

The  birthday boy admires his very green cake !

Happy Birthday !

After the party, Peter stayed on for a few days and because his own sixtieth party had been cancelled earlier in the year, we gave him a cake so he didn't miss out on the celebration.

Happy Birthday, Peter (even if it was four months late !)

While Peter was with us, we also took a day trip to see spectacular Durham Cathedral.  We took a guided tour, but they didn't allow photographs inside, so we could only photograph the exterior.

Durham Cathedral 

 The Cloisters of the adjoining monastery

Peter and I also visited our school (together with Kris and Joan). Peter hadn't been back since the day he left, over forty years ago and he was a little nervous, but the ever charming Headmaster, Steven Davidson put him at ease and by the time we left, Peter was actually expressing his pleasure with the changes that he had seen at the old school.

Steven saying farewell to a couple of very "old" boys !


Sarah (Paul's sister) hadn't been able to make the birthday party, so Paul went to visit her while Kristine visted Carol - HER sister. Kris didn't take any pictures while she was with Carol, so this is just Paul's visit to Belfast.

Sarah and Jenny in the garden next to the Sundial

The next evening, Sarah and I went out for dinner in central Belfast at a restaurant which was originally a very fancy bank. After dinner, we went out into the streets of Belfast and mingled with the crowds -something that is still something of a novelty in Belfast after all the years of "The Troubles".

Fancy surroundings for a rare "brother / sister" dinner

Sarah pushes through happy crowds in central Belfast as we made our way back to our car

Staying with John

After visits with our respective sisters, we met up again in Blackpool and headed to "Brocka", the family home where Kris' son John grew up and where he now lives with his family.  We just stayed one night and then headed back to our cottage in Crakehall.

"Brocka" from the back

The view from the guest room

John has recently renovated the house and the rooms are now fully modernized, but in keeping with the original style of the home.

Dining room


Family Room

 Living Room

Sharon has taken up pig breeding and also keeps horses. We had to see them, but being townies, kept our distance.

Pigs and horses - I guess we must be on a farm

John studies one of Sharon's horses (but that's her hand with the carrot) and no farm would be complete without dogs

Sharon pets one of her horses while Kris and John catch up

Our last adventure before leaving Yorkshire was to try our hand at Clay Pigeon shooting at a large facility just outside Skipton. Although we didn't do too badly for a first try, I think more targets "escaped" than we "killed", as they say.

Kris takes careful aim !

Not sure we will ever be champions, but had a fun time just firing away !

And with that, we packed up once again and headed for Southampton and the QM2.