Friday, 3 December 2021

TRAVEL // An Ancestral Trip To North Yorkshire

 So it might seem really crazy but we popped away for just one night in the half term holidays to where my Grandparents used to live and where I spent so much of my childhood. 

It was a really last minute idea, I only booked it on the Monday of that week, but I just really had a calling to go back "home". We were staying in a village called Osmotherly which is a few villages across from where my grandparents used to lived and a place we walked and visited many times. 

I knew this would be a hard trip, the first one in a long time and the first one since they had both died. You see, they had moved from here years before and lived next to my mum but this area is so familiar it’s like I had been there just weeks before.

In our Catholic religion, November is the month that you focus on remembering the dead and going up North for just a night felt so right.

I have had this feeling of walking in ancestors’ steps and I had just thought spending a few days doing that physically would be a great way to connect with my memories and them altogether.

In truth, it was really upsetting. As soon as we got on the A19 I felt the lump in my throat. I felt flushed and really had to work on holding it together. When we hit what would have been their turnoff, the big hill down to the village, the marking point that as kids meant we were nearly there I really felt their loss. Thank goodness Rob carried driving on. 

Even though I felt all the heartbreak, and love lost, I felt all the memories so vividly too. That’s important, to have them to hold on to. I realised that even in all of the emotion though, I am here living the memories and making new ones at the same time. 

It’s hard and it is lovely. Happiness for more generations because of the generation before. It’s really bittersweet and actually that’s what I needed to see. Moving from the past to living in the choices we make each day. The choice to go and visit was the choice to remember to live, right in the moment and a reminder that death comes to us all. I wanted to find a bit of closure but also to start the idea of going back up there, enjoying the space we always shared as a family together, making it part of our lives, honouring our journeys.

Whilst there we did a few things with the kids that we always used to do when visiting.

We spent the first day walking to Cod Beck reservoir and The Sheep Wash. Then we walked to a place called The Lady Chapel, a tiny Catholic Church at the top of a hill climb. We popped to a place called Yarm (no pictures of that) and then came back to Osmotherly to The Queen Catherine Pub where we are staying whose hosts have been nothing but North Yorkshire Fab! 

On our second day we started with breakfast in the pub which was just great, service with a smile and wonderful chat! Then we went to climb Roseberry Topping. This was an amazing experience to share with the kids while we were up there. Even though it isn't a hard climb it is just hard enough to make you feel like you are conquering a real mountain.

Doing this was special. I am thankful that we were able to share in it this year and that the kids were at an age where they really got it!


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