Totally OT: Yorkshire, sheep & weather
I’m in the UK for Bentley Systems’ annual media/analyst event but need to tell you about my recent vacation: walking what might be the UK’s least-known National Trail, the Yorkshire Wolds Way. The Wolds Way runs 80 miles, from Hessle (near Hull on the Humber River) at its southern end to Filey on the North Sea at its northern end. We walked 8 to 15 miles a day, over countryside like this:
In no particular order, here are some random musings from our time in East & North Yorkshire:
- Sheep. Everywhere. One farmer we met pointed out that the Wolds Way is carefully routed to show walkers the chalk valleys that make the area famous and which are perfect for grazing sheep; most of the arable land is actually crop-producing. But I do love the sheep:
- Chalk. The Wolds are chalk uplifts, with farm fields that look to city eyes like beautiful brown loam with lots of white rocks in them that someone should do something about. But the chalk adds valuable nutrients and so is repeatedly plowed in, broken up & worked into the soil.
- Green. Late October in Boston means falling leaves, dying grass and killing frost. In Yorkshire, at least the hills & valleys we saw, fields were green with newly planted spring wheat and barley, roses were still blooming and gardens hadn’t yet been put to bed for the winter.
- Gardens. We don’t have a big house by American standards but we do have a big lawn. That we grudgingly mow. Yorkshire gardens may be smaller but they’re carefully tended. A greenhouse, a pergola, a shed or gravel car park — but never just grass.
- Pubs, inns and B&Bs. The people of Yorkshire are lovely. One town was so isolated it didn’t get cell signals & our inn’s wifi was out, so a local in the pub offered his home wifi password (we must have looked like we were going through digital withdrawal). One thing we hadn’t anticipated: Scrabble is THE pastime in many villages. They’re also crazy about Strictly Come Dancing, which I don’t get.
- Potatoes. They love their potatoes in Yorkshire. When we got to the end of the Wolds Way in Filey, I ordered fish pie. (Delish). It came with a layer of mashed potato on top and side orders of roast and boiled potatoes. Jacket (baked) and chips (steak fried) are everywhere. There’s also an insane selection of potato chips (crisps). Are prawn chips really necessary? Really?
- Weather. We picked this National Trail in part because this part of England statistically has better weather at this time of year than our other choices. In 10 days, it absolutely poured buckets for a time on two, rained at some point every day — but we also had sun every day, even if only for a short time. It was insanely windy, 20+ mph, almost all the time. In all, not bad.
- Football. One of the best things about travel is the unexpected discoveries. We fetched up in Hull because the greater Filey area was hosting a scooter rally (who knew that even existed?) and wound up in the same hotel as the French national rugby team, in town for a World Cup match. Then, on the way to London, we shared a train car with rabid fans heading to a soccer/football match at Arsenal — and other fans, heading to an NFL game here in London. So many types of football, so little time
We’re already thinking about our next long-distance walk (Yorkshire, you’re wonderful!) but now it’s time to get back to work. A bit of catch-up, then more about Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure 2013 event coming up over the next few days.