Packing my bags, up with the blackbird, over the Irish Sea, trains, buses and a sunny afternoon in Pickering. My home for the week and wondering what is to come.
An overnight stay at the Cork Airport Hotel and a 5:30 start carrying my travel back-pack across the early morning dew on the grassy banks surrounding the airport. Ahead is a flight to Manchester, a train to Manchester Piccadilly and a connection across the Pennines to Malton in Yorkshire. Then a short bus ride up to Pickering where my hosts for the first 5 nights are to meet me.
I want to spend some time in Pickering to see the Medieval wall paintings in the church and have a mosey around the old market town but the problem is finding somewhere to leave my bag. I have a plan to visit the local outdoor shop ‘Trailblazer Outdoors‘ which I had discovered from their YouTube videos. The plan works – I may leave the bag – so I buy a pair of socks to feel less of a scrounger.
The wall paintings are impressive but difficult to photograph in the dark nave. Pickering is a pretty, bustling town with steep streets and high pavements. I had hoped to visit the castle but the long wait for the bus from Malton has eaten into my afternoon and I need to shop for some supplies for the week ahead so don’t get there.
I am met as arranged in the Ropery car park and taken to Swan Cottage in Newton on Rawcliffe, my home for the week.
I settle in, unpack and go next door to the Swan Inn for a bite to eat. The meal is disappointing with soggy chips – and things don’t improve all week except for a good curry one night, but there is no choice in the small village.
Afterwards I stroll down into the valley along the old holloway and steep pasture-land to Levisham Station on the historic North Yorks Moors Railway. I peep into the signal box and wonder how long it takes to learn all those levers.
As I climb back up, I watch the sun sink and a light mist rise from the ground and I wonder what my adventure holds in store for me…