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The Aching Feet

Bank holidays are not to be wasted. I’ve realised that as I’ve got older. Annual leave at work is precious and an extra day off work needs to be utilised to it’s full potential.

Well, I went that one step further and booked off the Friday. That equals 96 glorious hours to pack full of whatever takes your fancy.

I was that annoying person at work who when someone says on the run up to a long weekend ‘thank God it’s Friday tomorrow’ and I smugly retort ‘it’s my Friday today’.

And off I sauntered arriving home to pack up the cool box and gather the last minute essentials before my partner and I whisked ourselves away on a long weekend. You thought for a minute there perhaps we were on our way to Luton airport. Barcelona? Paris? Brussels? But it was the mention of a coolbox that made you doubt yourself; a coolbox doesn’t quite fulfill the definition of hand luggage…

Yorkshire was the destination of choice. Not exactly hip, not exactly cool but we’d considered somewhere in Europe and that doesn’t always equate to ‘getting away from it all’, which we’d decided was high up on the priority list. After all, we’d been on an All Inclusive break in April and couldn’t wait to no longer see the same faces on that trip (read The Fly & Flop), so in fact we knew we wanted the complete opposite.

My partner’s parents had been to Crossbill Cottage twice before, so it had come highly recommended. After nearly 3 and 1/2 hours in the car (including a bumpy ride down a dirt track with suicidal pheasants wandering fearlessly in front of the car) we arrived at our accommodation for the weekend. As soon as I stepped out the car I knew we had made the right choice: tranquility and escapism with only the sounds of nature basking in the evening air.

Waiting for us in the cottage was a welcome pack of bread, milk, chocolate brownies and fresh eggs laid by the resident hens:

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We nicknamed this dashing cockerel Charles, as he had a rather regal look about him

The next morning after filling up on scrambled eggs and toast we set out on our walk with an end goal firmly in mind: food.  We had been told about the Lordstones Country Park and with a rough idea of the direction we were headed and our trusty OS map (did you know that you can hire these from your local library?) we set out, greeted by rolling countryside and cows and sheep  dotted among the hillside. We even saw a cuckoo, which my partner pointed out is quite a rare find!

About 20 minutes walk from the cottage we stumbled across The Wainstones, magnificient rocks that jut out of the landscape. Of course we couldn’t resist a hike up to the top which provided us with uninterrupted views of the Yorkshire countryside and with it being a beautiful day we could even see as far as Middlesborough and the distant sparkle of the North Sea. Lots of people come to the area to rock climb if that’s your kind of thing!

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After a long, arduous hike over a very large hill we descended (what goes up has to come down, much to the sadness of my tired legs) and continued on our journey, with the lure of a burger firmly planted in our mind.

The Lordstones Cafe is nestled away in the Yorkshire countryside (it even has grass and flowers on its roof to blend in with the natural surroundings) and offers a great place to eat for walkers, bikers, hikers, motorcyclists and friends and family from the local area. Even dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area.

As both of us are avid burger lovers, we went for ‘The Beltie Burger’, a homemade chargrilled beef burger served with dry cured bacon, Yorkshire cheddar cheese & caramelised onions, served in a brioche bun with fries.

It didn’t disappoint:

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During our stay we also managed to fit in: a drive around other parts of the Yorkshire Moors National Park where we turned off the engine and enjoyed the eerie silence, a day trip to Whitby for customary fish and chips on the beach and a 12 mile walk (round trip) to a local pub (local round there literally means 4 or 5 miles away) for a carvery roast dinner where on the walk back we managed to get lost in a field, had to backtrack and walk down a lane with about 30 sheep ‘baaing’ at us, plus we ended up high on a hillside walking precariously close to the edge, whilst being able to see the cottage but having to walk all the way around the edge, scrambling down the Wainstones before finally reaching the home straight!

It certainly got the blood – and adrenaline – pumping. Plus for all you FitBit lovers out there I managed to walk the most steps I have ever done since records began, a whopping 23,000 steps = result!

So next time you are considering a weekend away spare the Yorkshire Moors a thought. We initially had considered going to the Peak District (as for some reason when I think of walking and nature I think of there) but due to there being nowhere available for our dates we had to re-think and I’m so glad we chose Crossbill Cottage.

There’s so much of the UK that I haven’t explored and I feel guilty that I’ve been to some far flung destinations without even checking out what’s on my doorstep, so I definitely need to change that.

But I think that’s always the way whatever nationality you are. I remember someone telling me that Australians love exploring Europe, which I thought was crazy given how large and expansive their own country is and how long and painful the flight is to get to Europe!

We are so lucky to be able to explore a lot of the UK simply just by jumping in a car/train/bus and we definitely need to make the most of that.

I’d love to hear about your favourite UK escapes in the comment box below.

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Who needs Barcelona?

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