I did say I’d talk about my holiday at some point 😀
Day one was driving up; Two cars, making damn good time, taking a brief stop for lunch in a little village halfway up but other than that just haring up the A-roads to Hinderwell. “Home” for the week was a massive shed on a caravan site, obviously designed for a couple wtih two young kids, but instead inhabited by four adults. Shockingly, despite me and Best Friend sharing a room with no wardrobe or hat-rack, and having brought something like twelve pairs of trousers, fourteen waistcoats and six coats between us (Not to mention innumerable shirts and enough cufflinks to provide a shiny hoard for a medium-sized dragon) we didn’t feel as if we were in particularly cramped quarters.
The first night we went to Runswick Bay, and basically just sat on the rocks, drinking wine (Half bottle of white left over from tea) and watching the seagulls and idly searching the rocks around us for fossils.
The second day was the North York Moors Railway – Started with a migraine that made me so confused I almost gout out of the car whilst it was moving, but then turned absolutely delightful. The trip out was on a diesel BR 25-class called Sybilla, and the trip back on a BR Standard 4MT called The Green Knight. Mostly I was just delighted with the amazing carriages, the compactness of the luxury in them (Especially as compared to modern standard-class and modern first-class) and the peaceful darkness of going through tunnels. The landscape, by the way, is gorgeous, and dotted with strange bits of railway machinery. Perfect. We spent a good chunk of time hanging around at the stations and generally enjoying the atmosphere.
Day three was Boggle Hole, a chunk of beach with a stream leading down to it that Best Friend knew was good for fossils. We started the day down on the shorefront itself (Where I found the find of the week – Probably a crocodilian, ichthyosaur or maybe even pretosaur tooth) and then as the tide came in went plodging in the lovely warm water, then sat by the beck panning for crinoid stems (many), wandered around the end of the cliff in the knee-deep water (spotting loads of trace fossils in the cliff face as we went) onto Robin Hood’s bay, and at some point drank a whole bottle of delicious rose wine. We also happened across a field party of undergrad ecologists, who annoyed me half to death by being squeamish, scared of appearing too earnestly interested in their environment, and scared of seawater.
Day four was a rest – Better to plan one in than to take one as an emergency day later – So I spent the day around the campsite looking at the livestock. Not only did this result in an armful of peacock feathers, some photos of very impressive llamas and plenty of waterfowl, but also a fresh rhea egg, straight from the rhea herself (Indeed, from the rear of the rhea). Half a rhea egg, incidentally, will feed three people. I did manage to drill the shell with the tip of a kitchen knife and blow out the contents, meaning that I now have a lovely rhea egg in my specimen cabinet which would have been nigh-impossible to get in most circumstances.
Day five was supposed to be Whitby, but instead for whatever reason I had a small depressive sink (It turns out that if you take a depressive to the beach, they always remember to pack their depression). So the other three whent to Whitby, and I went for a ramble down to Runswick anyway. It turned out to be a good choice, since as well as managing the walk, being a lot cooler on the beach than in the town, and filling a whole rucksack with fossils for the rest to examine when they got home, I also found plenty of raw jet and a single, remarkably large, piece of Baltic Amber. Turns out that slushing through knee-deep rotten seaweed is actually worth it.
Day six was Stoop Beck – The day on which the weather failed. At first it was pretty good, plenty of walking up and down the foreshore and looking at pretty rocks (And again being accosted by field trips from primary schools to postgrads who assumed that we knew what we were doing). And then it rained. And then it thundered. And then by 2am it was like the world was ending around us and it was beautiful.
Day seven was Whitby, all of us this time, first going to the Whitby museum (Great collection, ignorant staff, terrible labelling) then taking advantage of the return of the good weather to have a ride out on the old lifeboat and around the bay. It was awesome seeing the shape of the harbour (Hard to NOT imagine the Demeter appearing out of the fog, missing the breakwaters by inches, the black dog loping away from the wreck as the townspeople find the captain’s body lashed to the wheel…) and then it was even more awesome heading out over Whitby rocks in search of dolphins. At first it looked as if we’d not see any, but then at the last minute one of our party spotted them, and the boat diverted off to get a closer look. it wasn’t that long before we were surrounded by white-beaked dolphins, and watching the miniature replica of the Bark Endeavour chase us around them.
On the last day we had to leave before ten, and it seemed like perfect timing – The rain had come down, and we got packed up and back home (Where, inland, it was still sweltering in a heatwave) by not far after noon.
Definitely both exhausted and refreshed by having had a holiday.
Been swimming three times since (One great, one medium, one halfway between the two) and generally feeling better.