When I was a child, my family took vacations or long weekends in the north-east of Yorkshire. I use to love it. This may have been because towns like Scarborough and Whitby are genuinely fascinating and fun for an eight year-old boy. Or, it could be because I had, at that point in my life, not travelled outside the UK and knew no better. Looking back through the years, it is probably a combination of the two. The fresh sea air and football on the beach were wonderful, but when you have no knowledge of Mediterranean beaches to compare them to, it is much easier to love them.
Because I loved our trips to Scarborough, Bridlington and Whitby so much, I would often be pre-occupied during the actual journey there. I would be planning all the things I wanted to do – football on the beach, play bingo, play arcade games, eat huge amounts of sweets – and asking my dad "Are we there yet?". I never really spent all that much time actually appreciating then countryside through which we passed. This was a crying shame because parts of the Yorkshire Dales are absolutely stunning. Therefore, when I got a second chance recently, I was all for it.
My girlfriend and I decided to visit Whitby with my father, who drove us across the Yorkshire Dales. This was a fantastic drive. The scenery was awesome. It was made up of wonderful rolling hills that were covered in lush greenery. As it was Britain, I need to stop short of describing them as mountains for we have few such peaks. Instead, the hills are large and imposing, but do not stretch away to dramatic snow-covered peaks. The best they manage was on the odd tree looking forlorn and windswept. It was all very scenic, albeit slightly sedate.
There were two particular points of interest on the way to Whitby. The first was Filingdales Moor. In the 1980s this was an area of great controversy in the UK when it was home to an early warning system used by both the British and American military to spy on the Soviet Union and potential missile launches. This became rather iconic as it looked like two giant golf-balls. It was also the focus of several anti-nuclear demonstrations. Happily, warmer time shave prevailed and the need for such systems has dissipated. However, I was disappointed not to see their iconic shape on the dales. The second was the Devil's Hole, a giant 30p0m wide depression in the earth that looks like some form of ancient crate caused by an asteroid or meteorite. It is a very strange little area that sees hundreds of cars stopping for their occupants to peer down into the hole below.
The Dales were so nice that it almost felt a shame to see the green rolling countryside give way to the tiled roofs of the town. One thing is for certain, though, if I ever make the trip again, I wont be.