Not to be put off by the forecast’s predictions of heavy downpours and thunderstorms, on Saturday 7 June a group of 19 ITI members and friends and one very well-trained dog descended on Jervaulx near Middleham in North Yorkshire.
Travelling from various corners of the county and beyond, through racehorse and Le Tour 2014 country, we arrived just as the first few drops began to fall.
Undeterred, members and friends proceeded to clamber out of cars, produce an array of waterproof clothing, hats and umbrellas and stand happily(?!) chatting in the rain, amidst hopeful cries of ‘maybe it’s just a shower’ and pessimistic but gleeful replies of ‘they say it’s going to get worse’.
Once everybody had arrived, it was decided to set off on the original route and to see how we (and the weather) got on. Miraculously, the rain was not completely unrelenting and there were plenty of dry and even sunny breaks, giving us a chance to dry out a bit before the next downpour. After the first part of the walk, spirits were still high and we decided to complete the whole route.
Teresa Quinn led us along quiet country roads, by the river Ure and over wonderful expanses of parkland. We learnt about the Catholic family of Norman origin who owned the Danby Hall estate, before a brief visit to peaceful St Oswald’s church, where we heard about the chance excavation of some skeletons by builders working at the site (later reburied).
After an inside lunch stop at Thornton Steward village hall (no soggy sandwiches here), we headed out again, negotiating (for the most part successfully) a particularly muddy section, to arrive at yet more beautiful open parkland that led us back to the abbey car park.
After sampling the cakes in the teashop (highly recommended), the more energetic ones had a quick look round the abbey itself, before we all went our separate ways.
This was a great chance to enjoy each other’s company in a very relaxed setting, have a lovely walk, and see somewhere different. Many thanks to Teresa for all her hard work organising it – I’m looking forward to the next one!