When I was growing up there was nothing more thrilling than learning we were going to pay a visit to Granny and Grandpa’s house. Back then they lived on the North Devon/Cornwall border and had a fantastically spooky old house. As I grew up I realised it was not the house which ignited my excitement but the sense of coming home, of being within my family. Whether the house was filled with Uncles, Aunts and Cousins or just my grandparents, I felt the pull in my heart when it was time to leave. My Grandpa has since died and my Granny moved back to be near her childhood home all the way up on the Yorkshire coast. Yet my feeling of returning to the heart of my family still remains strong. If anything, it has deepened since I became a Mama.
I think Milla gets more excited by a visit to Granny’s than I do. She sings songs about seeing Granny, is exasperated by the length of the journey and wants to spend every moment as close to Granny as she can. I only wish that the South coast were a little closer to the Yorkshire coast so that our visits could be more frequent.
Despite pretty dismal (yes, Bank Holiday) weather we made it out onto the cliffs with my Uncle to take a look at the nesting colonies. This bleak outpost is teeming with Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Gannets and Puffins. We never seem to visit when the Puffins are nesting and so were really looking forward to seeing our first. We saw a couple through the scopes of volunteers who brave the elements to enhance the experience of us inexperienced birders. There had been a report of an Albatross a few days earlier but this is apparently very unusual. I wish I had taken my small camera as the zoom would have done a better job of catching the puffins then the kit lens on my DSLR. I did see a fantastic shot of a Puffin on top of the cliff that a young boy had captured but Milla and Monty (not to mention my California-based Uncle) were not keen on the extreme wind conditions so staking out the cliff tops was not an option.
As you can see, Monty decided the best way to deal with the wind was to fall asleep. Either that or he was lulled by the beautiful bird song from the ground nesters and land-dwelling birds. If you ever visit Bempton Cliffs you must stop at the catering van which sells the most delicious vegetarian, organic, local, ethical food I have had the pleasure of eating. Simply superb homemade food.
As always, our visit was all too short and served only to show us how much we miss Granny every other day of the year. I am already trying to figure out when we can head up again as despite the arduous journey it is very much worth it.
The journey now takes a day each way. In times passed we could have done it in four to five hours but something shifts when you have children and not only is it impossible to leave early you’re required to stop frequently. One of the nice things about stopping is that we have the opportunity to have some fun en route. Ordinarily we stop at Twycross Zoo as our local zoo membership allows us free entry. This time we made our big stop much earlier in the journey and met up with some friends at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
It is the perfect place to blow away the cobwebs after being cooped up in a car. The current exhibition by David Nash has some truly phenomenal pieces of trees as well as abstract sculpture. There is so much to see and as you would expect from a flying visit barely scratched the surface. One piece which was particularly special was the Deer Shelter Skyspace by James Turrell. A seemingly seamless piece of peaceful sky hidden behind the old deer shelter arches. Wonderful place to visit and the cakes are to die for which is the measure of any attraction.