What a nice gesture! The village hall in Boltby, North Yorkshire, is left on the latch. There are no amenities in this lovely village so, if you’re passing by and need to use the loo, you can pop in. There’s a kitchen too, and you’re welcome to put the kettle on. If only I’d thought to bring some cake!
Boltby is on the western edge of the North York Moors, and I was there to follow Gurtof Beck in the direction of Gormire Lake. There’s a wonderful humpbacked stone bridge for pedestrians at the centre of the village, and right beside it, two mosaics.
They are part of 23 such markers on the 36 mile long Hambleton Hillside Mosaic Walk. Now, don’t worry! I didn’t undertake the whole distance, and I stopped to admire a few cottages along the way. And Boltby’s pretty 19th century chapel.
Beyond the village it’s a pleasant rolling landscape, with impressive Whitestone Cliff a distant backdrop. Sheep gambol in the fields, and overhead, gliders ride the thermals. I’d love to have their bird’s eye view.
Gormire Lake is accessible only on foot, and was formed after the last Ice Age, when an ice sheet covered the Vale of York. I’ve previously only seen it from the cliff top, a dark and mysterious green expanse, surrounded by woodland. It’s not a place to go after dusk, for it’s said to be haunted by a knight who plunged from the cliff to his death. He was riding the white mare on whom the famous White Horse of Kilburn is thought to be based.
I never much like to retrace my steps, and so it was that I found tiny Thirlby. The village nestles round a ford, always a source of delight to me. No stepping stones for this one, just a huddle of pretty cottages. Apparently James Herriot, veterinarian and author, once lived here. Pear Tree House, home to a master cabinet maker, came as a real surprise. Bob Hunter uses the symbol of a wren to distinguish his furniture.
Boltby and Thirlby are just a couple of miles apart, and easy walking. A short drive away, the village of Kilburn was home to another, more famous, craftsman. Robert Thompson, or Mouseman as he became known, came from a family ‘as poor as church mice’. Astonishingly, he taught himself the craft of carving and joinery. I’ve long promised myself a visit.
There are tearooms too, but you really don’t want to see another scone with jam and cream, do you? Just picture it!
Have you seen Dawn’s A Lingering Look at Windows this month?