28 August 2012

Across the Yorkshire Moors

What a lovely thing it is to arrive home after a long trip and to be surrounded by ones family and pets again!  Even better to have a suitcase (or two!) full of memories and photos to share!  While life is quickly resuming a measure of the old busy-ness and the pressing need to find a job and a new home of my own, I have also loved taking time to review the trip and relive some of it's delightful days!

There were so many days that I was unable to share in real time due to slow or no internet connection and so I am going to post about some of those days until the trip is complete from beginning to end.  In looking back at this trip, I am astounded at how full each day was.  At the time they were just pleasant days of exploring!

Come along with me on my journey from the small town of Coxwold, Yorkshire across the moors to the seaside town of Whitby!

Harebells at Bylands Abbey
I woke on this day to the promise of increasing rain throughout the day.  My plan was to drive over the Yorkshire Moor to the town of Whitby, possibly taking a side trip to see the Rievaulx Abbey ruin along the way.  I hadn't gone very far down the road when I spotted this lovely ruin that I had not known about.  With lovely clumps of harebells spouting from every nook and cranny on the rocks, it was a lovely place!

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It turned out to be Byland Abbey and apparently, most people bypass it on their way to see the more complete ruin at Rievaulx.  They miss a real treasure.  Other than the caretaker, I had the entire place to myself for well over an hour.  I wandered the grassy floor and marveled at the remaining structure.

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But it was the tile floors that really captured my attention.  Despite having been exposed to the elements for the better part of 600 years, they still bear the wonderful patterns and color they had when set in place back between 1100 and 1300 a.d.  I was told that the grass covers far more than is currently visible.  Unlike our floor tiles of today, which are only about 3/8" thick, these tiles are about 1 to 2" thick.  I found them fascinating!

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The ruin itself was lovely, with many arches showcasing the view beyond.  They gave the sense that this must have been a lovely abbey when it was in use.

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I was intrigued by the stairways that ended partway up and the contrasting use of stone to define the entry of this one.  When I asked the caretaker about the destruction of the abbeys, he told me that they rarely actually "destroyed" the structure, but simply removed the timber roof, removed the leading from the windows and that time and the elements did most of the rest, while area residents sped up some of the progress when they removed stones to build their own homes and other buildings.

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In some places the tiles had glazed designs that still showed clearly, while in other places the design was worn away.  It ended up being a fabulous unplanned detour and after seeing Bylands, I was happy to miss seeing Rievaulx Abbey.

Sheep on the Yorkshire Moors
As the road continued on up towards the moors, I cam across this lovely flock of dark brown sheep!  Much smaller than many of the sheep I encountered on this trip.

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The heather was barely beginning to bloom while I was there.  I was told that it usually begins around "The Glorious 12th", which is the first day of grouse season.  I did see a few grouse at one location!  They still had a couple more weeks to enjoy the quiet life on the moor!

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Cutting into the moor were beautiful valleys filled a patchwork of green fields.  The hillsides were covered with sheep in every direction!

Sheep overlooking a valley
Most of them had been recently shorn and were sporting fresh paint marks.

Yorkshire view
Looking down into the valley was just lovely!  I had a short hike along the side of this one.

Rabbit on the Yorkshire Moors
There was more than just sheep on the hillsides!  There were endless rabbit warrens along the way and I saw many rabbits sunning themselves!

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As I prepared to drive down into the valley, I was a bit surprised at the road grade signs!  33% grade is incredibly steep!

Steep road in Yorkshire
I'm one of those crazy drivers who everyone else probably hates, because I had to stop in the middle of the one lane road and take a photo (with the emergency brake on for safety!)  Thankfully, there wasn't much traffic to contend with!

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Up on the other side of the valley was this stone cross.  At first I thought it might be quite old, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was erected to commemorate the millennium in 2000!  How nice to see that erecting monuments like this isn't just a thing of the past!

Whitby Abbey
At last I made my way into the bustling town of Whitby.  The old abbey crowns the far hilltop while the newer abbey sits just below it, with many more churches in the town.  The town was filled with people on summer holiday and I was lucky to find a spot to park!

Pony rides on the beach at Whitby
The beach was filled with activity, even on this cool damp day.  I loved the donkey rides on the beach for the youngsters!

Whitby beach
The tide was out, so it was a long walk from the pier down to the water's edge.  All along the rocky berm, people were searching through the rock pools to see what bits of sea life they could.

Beach at Whitby
While along the water's edge there was an assortment of mostly children braving the cool water to play in the wavelets coming ashore, while being supervised by the adults a bit further back!

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I enjoyed a walk out along the pier to the harbor entrance.

The pier at Whitby
Along the way I passed this old stone lighthouse.

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The wind and water have etched the most amazing patterns into the stone column.  I found myself wondering how much longer it will stand secure.

Light at Whitby
Looking back towards it from further down the pier offered a nice view of the abbey ruin as well.

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After a few hours time poking around in Whitby, I headed back across the moor on a slightly different route.  The main road here was a single paved lane.  Each time another road met it (often an even smaller single lane, that might be paved or not), the crossroads was marked by one of these stone pillars with a hole in it.  I wondered if at one time the hole held a sign showing what town lay in that direction.

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In one location there were several of these stone rings with an opening on one side.  I wondered about them and later found out that they are used by the sheep for protection from the elements when the weather is bad.

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At the end of an interesting day, it was good to arrive back in Coxwold at the Newburgh House where I was staying.  The owners of this home were such kind and delightful people!  They made it such a pleasure to stay there!  


3 comments:

Leeanne said...

Love it!! Thanks again for sharing your joys!
All those sheep....it looks like here in New Zealand!

Margaret said...

Thank you Lisa for further details of your trip. I am enjoying it all and dreaming of the day when perhaps I may get to visit the "old country"

Flutterby Patch said...

So pleased the weather was fairly kind to you in north Yorkshire Lisa though I could see black clouds hovering overhead! I've never been to Whitby but am now tempted especially by the ancient floor tiles you showed us(I'm fascinated by that sort of thing). Glad you had a safe journey home after such a huge adventure.

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