Lovely Local Drives

I am an incredibly lucky lady. Living in North Yorkshire I am surrounded by rural beauty which (in my humble opinion) can’t be rivalled. One of my non-resolutions (I don’t make resolutions because I break them) is to photograph more of the beautiful places around us and to facilitate that I’m already planning drives and walks out! We have some great places to visit.

Sutton Bank

Sutton Bank forms the highest point of the Hambleton Hills and is the most commonly used route for  us (I’m in Thirsk) to get up to the North Yorkshire Moors / along to the coast (just over an hour away). It’s something of a steep drive up with a 1 in 4 (25% gradient) and features a hairpin bend but oh my days it is worth it! There is a visitor centre at the top, you can watch members of the gliding club set off, fly and land and it is the starting point for some truly fabulous scenic walks.

And the views!

This is just one of the gorgeous views Sutton Bank offers.

Photo credit

Just ten minutes or so up the road this is one of our favourite “jump in the car and go” driving destinations.

The Hole of Horcum

On the way across the North Yorkshire Moors (which is beautiful in itself) you come across the site of a 400 foot deep natural bowl, just over half a mile across. Some say it was formed via an asteroid long ago and some say Wade the Giant scooped up a massive handful of earth during a row with his wife, to throw at her (I love the latter explanation). A bit of a drive it’s definitely worth the effort,

You have to see it yourself to appreciate the sheer size and beauty of the Hole of Horcum.

Photo credit

There are so many fabulous drives local to me, many of them ending up at landmarks or well-known areas of natural beauty such as these however sometimes we just like to pack a picnic, make sure we’re organised (and covered www.chill.ie/car-insurance/ ) and just drive! Doing this is how we’ve found some fabulous little scenic routes, old villages churches that don’ have their own websites or claims to fame yet should still be appreciated, parks and rivers and grassy knolls…..

If you head up towards Masham and take a wrong turn, for example, you might find yourself on a wonderfully scenic route around the countryside with plenty of places to set down, eat your lunch and enjoy the local wildlife (deer included). The same can be said for Richmond (Richmond, North Yorkshire, not Richmond “down south”). 

Sometimes ditching the tourist guides and the local websites and just setting out to see where you find yourself can be a wonderful thing!

Us, heading up towards Richmond.

 

The Post-Christmas Exhale

Phew!

I did it, we all did it! We shopped and wrapped, we prepared and we cooked and we pulled off all of the other 101 other things we have to do at Christmas time with our usual style. Personally I’m not one who gets stressed out by Christmas, quite the opposite in fact I refer to myself as something of a Christmas fairy and from the second week in December my house looks like a tastefully decorated grotto.

I look forward to the Xmas fayres, as busy as they are, the school plays (Taylor was an incredibly cute reindeer this year), the local events such as Santa (via Thirsk Rotary) visiting the local streets and of course the local Christmas Lights Switch On event (which this year was covered by Channel 5 and had our own Yorkshire Vets were in attendance).

Taylor as a reindeer in his school production of "Santa on Strike".

Taylor as a reindeer in his school production of “Santa on Strike”.

As much as I love the run up to Christmas and all it entails I have to admit to breathing something of a sigh of relief when it is all over. From 5pm on Christmas Eve what hasn’t been done isn’t worth worrying about. We present the boys with Christmas Eve boxes and soon-after they are off to bed.  Christmas morning (obscenely early and usually started off by an impatient me) we are all up and we have a fabulous morning together, just the four of us.
Around 10.30am we (us and all the siblings with their familie) troop a few streets from all directions to Mum & Dad’s house where we exchange gifts and after a giggle, photos, a brew and much laughter we all go home. And we stay there for as long as possible!

We stay in our PJs, the boys play with their toys, we eat, we watch TV and we just relax. Now, I don’t know how it works in your house but the majority of the Xmas preparation falls on my shoulders. I’m not complaining as Roy works right up until Xmas (and often does 12hr days at this time of year). That said, I take it upon myself to treat myself come Boxing Day / after Xmas as I believe I deserve it!

Shopping for myself is not something I do often as I can always find something else to spend money on than myself however with sales on and in particular the Dorothy Perkins sale this year I can bag myself some treats without the guilt. It’s part of the Christmas tradition for me in a way, a little shopping just for me which is a rare occurrence, despite the husband encouraging me to do it more often!

What do you do over Xmas and the days leading up New Year? Do you have the same sense of calm? Do you enjoy the sales like I do? Is this the time you visit family? I’d love to hear!

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