Over the Easter weekend Alex and I went glamping in North Yorkshire, close to Whitby. My Dad’s family come from Middlesborough and we spent several family holidays in this part of Yorkshire and further north, so it is a special place for me. As an adult it’s been far too long since I last visited!
We’re also moving to Cardiff soon (a story for another blog!) so I wanted to make the most of the Easter holiday exploring northern England whilst we are a bit closer!
The weather was glorious so we could have gone camping in the end but I don’t trust the temperamental spring weather so we opted for a warm cosy glamping pod.
We headed north for our trip, aiming for the moors around the village of Danby before we could check in to our pod at 3.00pm. However, almost as soon as we hit the North York Moors National Park we spotted wildlife amongst the heather! Red grouse, lapwing and curlew were sat just metres from the road. So we took a diversion and pulled up in a layby to see of we could get a closer look.
As we wandered pairs of lapwing wheeled in the sky calling ‘pee-wit, pee-wit’ to each other. Despite that being an alternate name for them, the words can never quite capture the surreal echoing and almost electronic sound of their calls. We didn’t walk too far from the road to ensure we didn’t disturb the wildlife but they really didn’t seem to mind us being there.
There were male red grouse everywhere and skylarks and meadow pipits. A couple of curlews flew overhead (I’ve always wanted to see them fly!) which was amazing. At one point I sat in a grassy patch amongst the heather and I was rewarded with the appearance of a wheatear.
After that unexpected mini wildlife safari we headed to Danby Beacon. It’s a great place to visit to see stunning sweeping views over the moors. Once we’d had our fill of the view, we drove the final stretch to Partridge Nest Farm, our home for the next three nights.
The wooden pod was lovely, it has a sofa bed (though I found this uncomfortable to sleep on so we switched to our airbed) and room for 6 people to sleep. It has a heater, lights, plugs and a kettle but everything else you need to bring with you. There’s a shared ‘turvey’ with sinks, a microwave and toilets, as well as a seperate shower block. Everything was smart, clean and appeared to be brand new. We hope to visit again in the future.
Once we’d woken up to a beautiful view we headed out to Runswick Bay. We spent many hours kayaking on the sea here between the headlands. As it’s a sheltered bay and the wind was calm, it was the perfect place to go for a paddle. Over the afternoon, as the tide came in, the wind did pick up making the waves a bit choppy but this just added to the fun! We even encountered some wildlife, Alex rescued a ladybird floating past his kayak!
Sunday was a more chilled out day. We visited Fylingdales Moor nature reserve in the morning which unfortunatedly was rather devoid of wildlife despite it apparently being an adder and bird of prey hotspot. In the afternoon we just chilled out on a picnic blanket reading our books surrounded by the views, the birdsong and butterflies at the farm. The views from the farm are just stunning especially in the sunshine.
Our last day and the highlight of the trip! Once we checked out of our pod at 10.00, we headed to Bempton Cliffs, an RSPB nature reserve. From the car park we saw a barn owl hunting in the middle of the day which was wonderful to see. So that was a great start!
At this time of year the cliffs are filled with thousands of sea birds – gannets, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, fulmars and puffins! It took us a while to see a puffin perched on the cliff, but I found one eventually (it was like playing Where’s Wally?)! Later we spotted a few flying in and out from nests hidden in the cliffs.
It was a wildlife spectacle, I’ve never seen and been surrounded by so much wildlife before. There were birds absolutely everywhere! It was thrilling being so close to the birds, being able to freely watch their behaviour. Gannet pairs bonding, razorbills snuggled up together, birds diving for fish. The noise was incredible. It’s definitely one for the UK wildlife bucket list, if you have yet to visit!
On the walk back from the cliffs we sat and watched the flock of trees sparrows they have living at this reserve. Tree sparrows are very rare so this was another treat!
After a few hours at Bempton, we reluctantly began the drive home feeling wild and refreshed! Another wild adventure achieved.