A trip on the trains

The last two days saw us taking Alice for her first trip staying away at another house. We got two tickets for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, as part of a teachers go free deal. As it’s a little bit of a journey in the orig to get there for the first train we asked Amy’s dad if we could stay the night before. His house in Robin Hood’s Bay is a bit closer to the railway start point making it easier getting Alice up and ready. We’ve visited the house with Alice last year, but not stayed yet. Loading the car was a military operation, being our first night away we didn’t know what to take. So in the end we probably had enough nappies for a week.

Alice was up early ready to go on train day. Alice wanted to make friends with the cats, but they were a bit more wary of her.

We got to the station in Pickering OK and sorted out tickets. We didn’t go down to look at the engine at this point, as we wanted to make sure we were comfortable on the train with Alice’s things.



We got on the train and settled with a useful table.



The railway takes you through the North Yorkshire Moors. You travel through a mixture of woodland, coniferous woodland and fields. We saw plenty of the larger farm animals.


Alice was initially quite interested in watching out the window with her eyes tracking along. She managed a little while before becoming more wriggly.



Alice then settle down into grazing on some snacks for the journey, working her way through some carrot wotsits type snacks and a little bit of cherry bakewell flapjack.




Refreshed with food Alice was ready to watch around again.


We got out of the train at the end of line at Whitby and saw the engine.




Whitby is famous for being the setting for some of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This weekend is the goth festival, so the shops were all set ready. So this area forms the setting to two of my favourite horror movies: American werewolf in London and Dracula. If movies have taught me anything I know not to go walking this area of the country at night. It’s a lovely old seaside town with lots of historic buildings going back to when the town made it’s fortune from fishing and whaling.



The wind was quite strong along the piers, so Alice nattered away. Amy enjoyed a coconut ice cream and I had a toffee fudge. This area seems to of been developed more from our last trip with a better quality of food huts having emerged. Alice was travelling in the baby howdah as we thought the pram would be a hassle on the train and around Whitby.



The train journey back we had a compartment to ourselves allowing Alice to wander a bit more, but was also lucky as Alice was grumpy and tired by this point. So much of the return journey was spent fractiously trying to get Alice to have a nap.

The sun had come out more though and the moors were looking stunning for it.


The journey has tired Alice out and she fell asleep in the car. As she’d taken so much to get her to sleep I stayed in the car and read my new gardening book to give her a rest.


We stopped off for tea at Amy’s dad before returning home. A few lessons learnt about what we need to take with for sleeping away. But a nice day out. Alice slept well last night after excitement, making it through to almost 6 o’clock, a good achievement for her.

Whitby 2



A little further along the Transpennine Trail

Today saw me and Alice getting out a bit further along the Transpennine Trail. This morning I finished reading Ranulph Fiennes book on Scott of the Antartic putting me in the mood to explore further. If Scott could manhaul a sledge to the South Pole I can manage a bit more of Hornsea.

I started with a stop off near the mere to check out the sheep. The mothers are out protecting their lambs currently. Alice seems to find them funny when we’ve visited before and today was no different sat giggling in her pram.



From there we had a little stroll along the main road before joining the trail. It was sunny today but that section is nicely shaded for Alice.


The trail was rich in wildlife today with many birds, bees, flies and butterflies out.

My new lens helped cature some photos I would if struggled to get before. In order a peacock, a red admiral and what I think is a small white.



Butterfly 2

Part of the way along is a side path coming out above the rescessed trail to a farmers field. Around this stretch was a lot of bees but only captured a few.



This side public footpath took us out at the little bridge out of Hornsea on the main road out. As there was no decent path we retraced our steps back to the trail.



Continuing on from my blog on surveys I am keeping an eye out for blue bells. Lots along the trail, but I don’t believe they are native.




On existing the trail we turned into the cemetary. I’d investigated the cemetary last year and found it good for wildlife with lots of squirells. No squirells todsy, but some lovely blossom.




We returned home along the old railway line. The station building is now houses and in my mind some of the nicest looking in Hornsea.




The last stretch home took us along the seafront where it was windy enough for people to fly kites. Alice loves the wind in her face and gasps and giggles at it.




The floral hall has built a rather nice bug hotel.


A pretty good trek out and some new ground covered. Hopefully all that fresh air will give Alice a good nights sleep as tomorrow we are heading to North Yorkshire.

A trip to the mere

Yesterday saw both my parents and one of Amy’s friends visiting. Me and parents got some work done in the garden and then after lunch we got out for a walk.


We started off heading along the seafront. Then went along the old railway track to the mere. We stopped off in the cafe for a selection of ice cream and cakes and teas. I had a suitably good custard slice. Alice enjoyed an apple roll. One of the best things for making her quiet to give us time to enjoy a cuppa.

At the mere tested out my new camera lens which allowed me to get snaps a bit closer than previously possible.


Some super teasel growing. I’ve got some growing on a windowsill at home that I hope to plant out later in the year. Birds and bees love it and I like the look of it, so it’s a winner.


I was able to capture a photo of one of the pied wagtails. Their numbers are apparently in a slow decline, but still a common site around Hornsea. They have been becoming an increasingly urban visitor, but the mere is more their traditional habitat.


The lens allowed me to get some nice shots of the ducks and swans on the water. While their not shy and don’t mind you walking up to them on land it’s still nice to capture them with the waters reflection showing off their lovely dark green feathers.



Continue reading A trip to the mere

Snow and Birdwatch

The last few days has seen snow come to Hornsea. It’s the first time Alice has seen snow. I wasn’t there to see Alice’s reaction, but apparently her face was a picture.



With the snow unfortunately came a storm and has flooded the roads on the sea front. So we will be avoiding walks down along the front for a few days.



This week I received my RSPB Big Garden pack. This is the worlds largest wildlife survey according to the RSPB’s claims. Simple idea, sit and watch your garden for an hour and record which birds come in. It has been going since 1979 after featuring on Blue Peter it went big. It provides one of the best long term studies of garden birds numbers. From the results the RSPB know which birds numbers are down and which could do with our help.

last year the top 10 were as follows:

  1. House sparrow
  2. Starling
  3. Blue tit
  4. Blackbird
  5. Wood Pigeon
  6. Goldfinch
  7. Chaffinch
  8. Great Tit
  9. Robin
  10. Long tailed tit

Within my garden starlings will probably come out top, but we may have some more unusual visitors being by the sea with various gulls visiting regularly.

The pack contains some useful identification sheets. A wildlife calender for what to look out for through the year. They even threw in some ground coffee to drink while watching. Although as a coffee hating tea drinker I will be giving that a miss.


In the build up I’m going to be trying to makes sure the birds in my garden are being well supplied on the feeders. With the solid ground and snow they will struggle for food sources, so more than ever they need a good stock.

Alice is getting more mobile. She is pulling herself up, crawling and standing with small support. It won’t be long until she’s walking on our adventures out.




Smoke on the water

We returned to the mere for the first time in a few months. With the cafe closed for the winter granddad has lost interest in taking Alice here.

On previous visits we’ve been past the field on the way in and watched the sheep, but it seems they’ve been relocated to further round the mere. The field was however full of one of my favourite collective nouns; a murder of crows.


Several crows and magpies were scavenging over the fields along with a few pied wagtails pretending to be part of the crow family.

Alice seemed happy to be returning to the mere.


Having just finished crow country I’m still finding myself keeping track of crows on our walks.

A group elegantly silhouetted in the trees on the approach to the mere.


The mere itself had a fine layer of mist layered around the edges giving it something of an Arthurian Avalon feel with the Lady of the Lake ready to leap out and startle the bird watching group.



The bird watchers had come fully kitted with large telescopes. As far as I could tell they were watching the same ducks and swans that were swimming up to the shore, but maybe they could see something more exciting than my little binoculars. I suppose if you’ve brought big kit you’ve got to use it.

The gulls and ducks were swarming round the other side as several people fed them.





We left the mere to go back home by the railway track. Alice decided nothing of any more interest was going to happen and went to sleep.


The track is looking pretty lifeless currently. Just a few gulls returning to sea.

A pretty grim day at the seafront with the sky and sea merging seamlessly into an endless wall of grey. The boundaries between sea and sky had disappeared.




I made a start on Richard Fortey-the wood from the trees. After leaving the Natural History Museum he bought a section of woodland. In this book he chronicles the wood in the style of a museum of curiosities. Should be interesting.

A winter walk

Yesterday saw us getting out after a few days sheltering in.

We went for a walk along the sea front. The last week it’s been so windy I’d been avoiding the sea front for fear of the pram being blown over. The beach was full of men getting out to try out their new Christmas fishing gear and get out after being away from the fishing for a few days.



The sun was the annoying low variety of Winter where it’s constantly in your eyes. But it did help put Alice to sleep.



Then we went for a walk along the old railway line.


Meet the parents

Yesterday mine and Amy’s parents met for the first time. We went up to Amy’s sides house up at Robin Hood’s Bay up on the North Yorkshire coast. The house is up on the cliff edge with spectacular views. Their garden is beautifully kept and still has a good number of flowers still blooming into Autumn. Our parents got on well happy discussing mutual loves of folk music and craft skills.







Amy in the garden.


After dinner we took a walk down to the sea front.


A view of the stream running down to the sea.


Robin Hood’s Bay forms the end (or start of Wainwright’s coast to coast meaning there are always a handful of walkers around.


Down at the bottom.




Our little family together.



For traversing the steep path of the bay I was trying out the mama and papa’s baby sling, which I have to say has been very good. It supports well across my back and I can put Alice in and out by myself which has been an improvement on other types we’ve tried and looked at. So far I’d just tried it round the flat areas of Hornsea, so it was good to try it over some more difficult ground.

Back at the house Grandad Foster and Alice and our dads talking in the garden.



We had a lovely day out, a good meal, a nice walk and our parents got on. I’m sure Alice will love visiting the bay as she gets older and can enjoy getting out and about in the waves and rock pools.