I start my fourth entry to this blog with some really sad news. A really good friend of ours, Floyd, passed away a few weeks ago. Floyd was a stunning blue roan Cocker Spaniel, and after he stayed with us for a few weeks we decided to find our own Cocker. Unfortunately, at only 5 years old Floyd suddenly fell seriously ill with pancreatitis, and despite the best efforts of his vet, and the love of his family, he didn’t make it. Poor Floyd.
He’ll be missed by his family, my family and everyone who ever met him.
Our two families are very close, and we’ve had lots of amazing walks with our dogs over the last couple of years; Roseberry Topping (which I’ve written about several times now!) and Castle Eden Walkway are firm favourites!
A really nice walk close to us is up on the North Yorkshire Moors, and is known as the Rail Trail. This woodland walk starts in the Village of Goathland and follows an old trail that horses used to follow when they were pulling carriages along a railway to the village of Grosmont. This line originally opened when George Stephenson was in his heyday, and this trail was originally used during the construction of the main railway. The horse drawn railway has gone from this trail now, but has left us with a beautiful woodland walk along a river between these two very famous villages.
For those of you that don’t know, Goathland was the setting for the long running ITV drama “Heartbeat”, while Grosmont station is probably more familiar to you as the train station at Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter Films. Goathland still actually looks like the set of Heartbeat, with many of the buildings retaining their set dressings. The old garage is still there, but is now a visitor attraction complete with old cars in the workshop. The village is still popular with fans of the series, and in the summer there are regular bus trips there. Grosmont however, doesn’t play up to its wizardly connection - partly because it simply doesn’t have too. It’s very busy all year round with steam engine enthusiasts, walkers, cyclists and bikers, and at Christmas it runs one of the most popular Santa Express Trains in the North! There won’t be many kids in this area who haven’t been to see Santa there.
Our two families spent a lovely day walking The Rail Trail a few years ago. Archie was fairly new to us back then and still only just one year old while Floyd was nearly three years old. The two boys always got on well, with Floyd trying to show Archie the way, and Archie having none of it! The walk starts in the main car park in Goathland and follows a 3.5 mile route along the river, crossing it in several places. You walk through some stunning woodland, through some wide open fields, past some beautiful houses, and then eventually you come to a rocky beach area that most people stop at. This gives the dogs and the kids a chance to go for a paddle, and to make as much mess as possible! Ours were no exception to this!
Once everyone is refreshed you walk onwards through more woodland and fields, and you eventually end up in Goathland. You walk off the trail onto the platform at the station, and as you do so, you are greeted by an amazing flower display on the other side of the tracks. I gather the station is mostly run by volunteers, and if this is true they deserve some major credit because it’s immaculate! And the steam trains are just gorgeous! If you are ever in this area, you have to visit Grosmont Station – at any time of the year!
This time, our walk ended at the Station Tavern for some, err, lemonades, while we waited for the train that was going to take us back to Goathland Station. This beautiful old train is a real step back in time, and luckily dogs are allowed on board too!
Happy memories of happy times, with lovely people and beautiful dogs. Floyd will definitely be missed.
On a more recent note, we spent a lovely weekend in the Lake District staying with my in-laws who have a house near Penrith. We were over there for the Lakes Chilli Festival (www.thelakeschillifest.co.uk ) at Dalemain Mansion. This was a celebration of the chilli in all its amazing levels of heat! There were lots of local producers selling all things chilli! From sauces that were too hot to describe, to chilli burgers and chilli plants. We had a lot of fun trying out each seller’s variations of sauces. Then the fun stopped for me when we discovered the “rim ripper” sauce made by “Bernie Bumm” (www.berniebumm.co.uk ) from Newcastle. Personally, I have never tried anything so hot in my life – words actually fail me to describe how hot this sauce was! What I can tell you is that for the first 5 seconds, it was delicious, but then a wall of chilli hits you, and all you can think about is looking for medical help! Very hot indeed, but not too hot that it put me off buying any! I have a bottle in the fridge ready to challenge the bravest of my friends at our next bbq! Lol
So that’s all for now, more stories to follow in entry 5. The kids are off school for the summer holidays, so we’ll be in the lakes a lot this month!
Bye for now
Tony & Archie