God’s Own Country

There’s a reason people in Yorkshire call this ‘God’s Own Country.’ Seriously, can there be anywhere better?

This week the weather has been glorious – high 60s temperatures, feeling like low 70s in the sun, with bright blue skies, endless sunshine and whispy white clouds. And we made the most of it. On Monday night after we finished work, we grabbed our things and headed out for a drive up into Nidderdale. Not actually part of the Yorkshire Dales national park, it’s nonetheless a lovely spot. Just 15 minutes took us into some gorgeous countryside, all rolling hills, bright green grass, stone walls, and sheep

And 45 minutes brought us to what felt like the middle of nowhere, but was actually Middlesmoor, a tiny village set high up at the top of the dale.

Unfortunately, we scared the locals when we wandered past the local church, where apparently the sheep keep the grass short

The view from here was just amazing, stretching literally for miles

I took this short video and if you turn up the sound, you can hear right across the valley including a faraway dog barking and the sound of sheep in a distant field.

After driving back down, we were in need of some sustenance, so we headed for the Boar’s Head in Ripley.

This is my grilled trout with crab mashed potato and honey roasted carrots. Yum!

We were home by 10 o’ clock. It’s amazing to think that such lovely countryside is right on our doorstep and – at least in summer when the nights are long – that we can enjoy it any evening we want to. All the next day I kept reliving the feeling of being up there far from everyone, looking out at that stunning view and feeling truly at home. Priceless!

Then today, we needed to do some shopping so we decided to head into York. It’s 40 minutes away and it’s a place I took for granted all the years I lived nearby. But now I see it with new eyes and appreciate it with all the enthusiasm of a camera-wielding American tourist. How great is it to be able to wander round a city that was founded by the Romans in 71AD?!

The drive in took us past one of the old medieval bars (or gates) used to restrict traffic in olden times and extract tolls from visitors

Once in town, we were supposed to be shopping but I couldn’t resist snapping photos.

I mean look at this stone for Pete’s sake!

Stonework like that is everywhere in York and it gives you a weird, contradictory feeling that is both a firm sense of your own insignificance and the rather pleasing notion that you’re playing a part, however small, in an important story.

I had a lovely time browsing around this street market while Phil was buying some electrical device or other

And even though there was much photo snapping, we did actually do the chores we set out to do – including buying overnight bags for the many trips we plan to take once we find a catsitter. All in all, it was a lovely day.

And seriously … where could be better?

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12 thoughts on “God’s Own Country

  1. Gah. I’ve been oozing jealousy from every pore since you moved back to the UK. Now this post has me perusing our visa options and considering exactly which people I have to bribe to reacquire our UK jobs (these impulses make perfect sense for a 7-months-pregnant lady currently in California).

    And I 100% agree with you: the constant reminders of history make one feel both insignificant in the face of millennia *and* part of the big picture. I miss that a lot.

    • Hi Beth, Thanks so much for reading. I apologize if I’ve made you feel jealous, but I hope one day I’ll be saying ‘welcome home’!

    • My favorite is Swaledale too, but that will definitely be a daytrip rather than a quick evening drive – maybe with a stop at Middleham castle on the way 🙂

  2. As poster Beth said ‘ oozing jealousy’ i think you have managed to capture in photos the perfect English day out in Yorkshire. It reminds me of many I have spent there in the past. Beautiful photos, thank you and the food looks gorgeous. Making me wish I was there now. I was in York in December while visiting for Christmas. It is a beautiful city. We even parked outside the center and caught the bus/ commuter shuttle into the center to avoid the parking headache. Wish you well on your new journey.

    • Thanks slidingbye, for reading and for the kind words. I hope that the photos I take are of some comfort to people who are missing England – I know I looked for pictures and anecdotes when I was homesick in New York. isn’t York fabulous? Such a different experience from the ‘standard’ English city (Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham etc)

      • Yes York is great. I’m not sure if the York wheel was a seasonal thing but if not it is a great way to see the city from a different angle, whether by day or night. Its on the way to the railway museum if you are there again and fancy it. In the grounds of the Royal York Hotel. Please keep posting your photos. The one of the cheese board is really quite good. Would make a lovely poster print.

  3. You traded living here in NY for that? You are surrounded by such lush beauty! Now I’m feeling jealous.

    BTW, temps have been in the mid 90’s the past couple of days with humidity right up there as well.

    • I saw those temperatures. If it makes you feel any better, today was nothing like my photos. Instead it was raining heavily almost all day with heavy grey skies. The same is forecast for the next 6 days. Being born here, I prefer this to the 90+ degree temperatures, but I think most Americans would really have a hard time with the lack of sunlight.

      • You are so right about dealing with the lack of sunlight, I know that would bother me after a while.

        I am so enjoying your blog, it’s almost like taking a vacation without leaving my home! I’ll probably ask a ton of questions as you continue, hope you don’t mind!

  4. I’ve only been to a handful of places in the UK, but York is my absolute favorite. Hoping to get back over there soon. Lovely photos!

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