A Yorkshire Love Affair

100_7927I seem to be tied with an elastic band to Yorkshire as it pulls me back year after year. Upon my return from one holiday there my heartstrings are pulled taut and as the tug over the months becomes more forceful and relentless back I ping to the county where I grew up.

100_8003 Following last weeks holiday in the midst of the Yorkshire Dales, the elastic band is tighter than ever with my heart unwilling to return just yet…my body alas has already come home.

With an early rise on the day we travelled we successfully managed to avoid the worst of the half-term and Bank Holiday traffic (a national nightmare of school holidays!). IMG_0787 As the A1 gloriously rolled its way northwards across  the moors my heart fluttered and unconcealed joy shone on my face. A grin that was to last the week took a firm hold. For us all it was as if our souls gave a collective sigh when the locks to the weights of work and school clicked open and lighter, happier we drove to our cottage.

I knew it was remote; just not how remote. Leaving the giant golf-balls of Menwith Hill – one of world’s largest monitoring stations – far behind us we headed North.  Now on top of the moors, a slight yelp of panic as familiar civilisation was replaced by complete isolation.  No other cars, no mobile reception, just the odd couple of houses here and there grandly sign-posted as a far-flung village. From the main road we turned into a lane, then a smaller lane and finally a gravel track before travelling up a long drive-way taking us up to the cottage. IMG_0763 In reverence we stepped out of the car. The vibrant silence struck me first. Total and absolute. In awe I slowly spun around; we were surrounded by the moors with the cottage and the owner’s house nestled in the valley. Then the sounds of nature penetrated my car-weary mind and the baas of the sheep, the tweets from the birds, the rustle of the gentle wind lulled my noisy brain. The tingle of the fresh air glistened upon my skin. 100_8004 Soon in a peaceful solace my husband and I sat outside enjoying the glorious views whilst delighting in the unique combination of home-made fruit cake, local Wensleydale cheese and home-made onion and ginger chutney. All courtesy of the welcome hamper – the most generous I have ever received and despite our best efforts we only managed to make a dent in all its contents during the next few days.

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That first night was the most restful and refreshing I have experienced for a long time. If I woke the odd call from the sheep soothed my mind and contentedly I drifted back to sleep. The next morning I opened the curtains and in awe gazed at the surrounding nature – until my hungry chaps (husband and teenage son) started muttering about breakfast… IMG_0752 Day after day my eyes feasted on the moors. One day as we took a a two hour drive across the central North Yorkshire moors en route to a tourist destination we encountered treacherous narrow lanes, soul-defying hills, steep road edges. Such amazing stunning scenery. Truly life-enhancing and again and again we stopped for photographs. Three hundred or so photographs later I am still busy sorting.

The beauty was not lost by the odd light shower and through the dismal drizzle we were rewarded as the sunlight pierced the grey/black clouds and radiant sheer light fell upon a patch of moor, beaming its purple hues across the landscape, lighting up the green brilliance of the fields below where sheep were scattered and across the valley hung a ghostly misty haze.

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Slowly my heart is returning home, the elastic binding me to the moors is easing gradually and soon body and soul will be rejoined. Then during the year I know the grip will become more fierce, the wrench ever stronger and nothing can keep me from the visual and spiritual wonder of the moors. IMG_0823

‘Now we will count to twelve

and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,

let’s not speak in any language;

let’s stop for one second,

and not move our arms so much.’

From ‘Keeping Quiet’ by Pablo Neruda.

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22 thoughts on “A Yorkshire Love Affair

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you Marjorie, definitely a touch of heaven, it just lifts the soul. Very tranquil but at times when the storms move in a real tempest and so unbelievably different. I love the drama though!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much Jill. When the sun breaks through the clouds and lights up on the moors it is sublime. Driving there is never boring as the we are treated to such a feast of visionary beauty.

  1. Peter R says:

    Beautiful. Yorkshire always will have a place in my heart. If I wasn’t a “Shropshire Lad”, I’d quite happily be a Yorkshireman. I must make a point of visiting again before the kind weather is over. Winter is very impressive, but you need Yorkshire blood to really be able to feel at home in it.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Peter, I think once Yorkshire has got into your heart it’s there to stay, no getting away from the fact! Hope you get up there soon. Talking of Yorkshire reminds me of one beautiful winter morning when my mother and I had dressed up in our winter gear and drove to the top of the moors. As we stepped out of the car, the howling wind was absolutely freezing and we may as well have been wearing nothing. We looked at each other before leaping back into the car..and heading to the pub no doubt to recover!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you Dorne, it was a special holiday but alas seems so long ago. We travelled home this time last week. I’m so chuffed you liked the post and photos; it’s not difficult to take good photos with such a stunning subject matter. Many thanks for the retweet – hope many get to see it and want to visit Yorkshire.

  2. Mike says:

    What a wonderful discription of the moors – I feel as if I was there with you. I’ve been to Yorkshire a few times and this brought it all back to me, Reading this made me realise how much I actually miised the calmness, empiness, the clear air (well apart from the smell of sheep) and the moors! It’s fantastic even when it’s raining.

    It’s made me want to go back there soon. Time to get the hiking boots out again.

    Mike

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you and so glad you liked the description; I think it’s difficult to do justice to all that natural beauty. Yes, walking boots would probably be a good idea – I’ll remember to bring mine next time as it was at times rather wet and muddy. Not a good idea to cross the stepping stones at Bolton Abbey in trainers, especially when the River Wharfe was at such a high level!

  3. Mirja says:

    So much beauty and depth in this post. I am with you all the way; walking the
    moors virtually. I know the feeling of suddenly step out to such silence that words
    defy although you put it eloquently. The feeling is ‘otherworldly’.

    So glad you had such a wonderful break and hope that elastic band will let you come
    back totally – for a while.:))
    Your photos are great and I delight in watching them.
    The full Neruda poem I funnily just wrote down in long hand in a special book. Wonderful.

    You go girl!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much for your warm and encouraging comment. I’m going, I’m going for it! I like the ‘otherworldly’ feeling – very apt and precise. My heart is nearly back now so I’m soon complete – until the next tug. Even considering returning in October holiday – madness though?! We’ll see:-)) So happy you liked the photos – just consider yourself lucky, there could have been a couple of hundred to wade through!

      • Mirja says:

        Oh well, I am on holiday now so could manage to wade through more.:))
        With a lovely cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun.

  4. Annika Perry says:

    I only recently came across this poem and it stayed with me since. During the holiday it often came to mind as the silence and peace helped me to find a new inner calm. I now want to read moreover his poems and notice that you have quoted from him too. I’m so glad you enjoyed the ‘tour of the moors’ and do hope you have the opportunity to visit – words just aren’t enough. Thank you so much for your comment and interest.

  5. JC says:

    I love the poem,‘Keeping Quiet’ by Pablo Neruda. he is one of my favorites. And the Moors, your words take me there. One day I will have to visit…….

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