Do you remember me mentioning priorities that children set for you when camping? That’s how we learned about them. Day after the visit to the York Maze, we were making our plans for the day. Options were: visit the York City, go to Scarborough to visit 12th-century castle or… “Can we just go to the beach instead?” That was my elder son and his suggestion was immediately echoed by his younger siblings, “Yes, let’s go to the beach! We love it down there!”
Weather was warm, parents were outnumbered, the choice was made – and once more it was a right choice. Previously we visited Cayton Bay beach when the tide was in. This time it was out, and what a difference it made. The beach was transformed. At first encounter, it had a quiet, country spirit. But now it was making a statement. Nothing drastic. Just a simple “you didn’t expect that, did you?” To say it was even more beautiful would not do it justice. Hopefully, pictures will do.
But apart from beauty, it gave us something more to remember. While climbing rocks with my elder boy we had noticed strange red shiny stones that appeared to be attached to larger ones that… appeared to be soft to touch. That’s how we discovered anemones.
Of course, there also were crabs, some brown and some green, little fish in rockpools, and climbing more WWII relics. We stayed on the beach until late afternoon after which we drove to another planned adventure.
Here I must confess something comically embarrassing. As our main focus of the trip was the York Maze, we did not give much of a thought about what else Yorkshire is famous for. We had a couple of special activities planned, though. One was to see the sunrise. The other was to see the Milky Way and the meteor shower, which was “scheduled” this year for the night of 12-13 of August. To watch the starry sky you need to get away from the light pollution. So, we checked the map and saw a national park not far from where we camp. So, on August 12, in the afternoon, we grabbed packed dinner, camping chairs, for comfort, and set off for the national park, with a view to have a wander around it, before dark, and then to settle at some viewing point and “enjoy the show”. Both, my wife and I imagined that the National Park will be like many other places of the sort we visited before, a beautiful forest, with paths around it, magnificent old trees. It is hard to describe our feelings, when after climbing the road, among the woods, for a good half an hour, we, suddenly, arrived at North York Moors National Park.
I felt so silly that it never clicked for me, where we were going. “I had read about it, I should have remembered!” But, I did not linger on my embarrassment. I don’t believe it is possible to linger on any negative thoughts or feelings in that place. Not in that place. It is more magical than if to combine Hogwarts and Narnia and sprinkle it with Neverland. As soon as I switched off the engine and got out of the car calm descended onto my heart, tears of joy and gratitude filled my eyes, and I felt that I don’t want ever leave that place.
I could not explain it. It was like getting in contact with something ancient, or timeless. I felt that time had stopped there, or never existed at all. I even checked if the time and date on my phone are still showing. Maybe that feeling was due to the vastness of the open space, or due to the quiet…
Quiet! It was so magical! Normally I love birds’ singing, but… I guess I am so used to live surrounded by sounds everywhere I go that the quiet of the moors surprised me. Quiet only interrupted by the occasional passing car, sound of the wind, and happy screams of my boys, rolling in the heather. And then there was a sunset…
Unfortunately, by the nighttime, the clouds gathered over the moor. They haven’t closed the sky completely, but they were reflecting the lights from towns and villages not far from the place where we parked, which dulled it. We still saw shooting stars and moving satellites, it was still exciting, but the Milky Way appeared to us just like a glow-in-the-dark jelly smeared across the sky. So, it is still on our list, to see the Milky Way in all its glory. But now on my list is something else too. My first ever moor encounter had left me with so many questions and made me so curious. What were the names of a few villages that we saw from our observation point? What else is there to see? What does that cross mean? How the sheep that grazing on the moor are tended? Sure, nowadays one can google up anything and there is a website where you can learn almost everything you want (that’s how I learned that the village we were facing while watching the stars is called Rosedale, and it has remains of the old metalworks there). But it isn’t the same. After the magical adventure, we had on the moor this time, I think I would prefer to go there blind, without prior knowledge, and to be awed and surprised at every turn of the road.
Those were our main adventures. But in all, it was an unforgettable trip, with not a single dull moment. The only regret we have is that there were not enough of those moments. And as for submerging in Yorkshire… Well, how to describe what I feel?… I love the sea. It is almost beyond my ability to come to the beach, where it is safe to swim, and not to dive in. However, I managed only a dip in the North Sea, as it was ice-cold. I also love getting deep into places, love to soak in the spirit… You cannot “soak in” the spirit of Yorkshire in six days. I only had enough time to submerge in it, briefly, which just whetted my appetite and left me longing for more. Even my boys, who were deprived of their gadgets for the entire trip, stated that the next time we must come there for, at least, ten days. I guess that means we would have to go back.