Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: A Yorkshire Ramble (2014)

Britain at war

Following a comfortable and restful night's sleep, I had a cooked breakfast at the Hilton before checking out and making my way to the nearest stop for bus 840. This was one of a group of services marketed as Yorkshire Coastliner that linked Leeds and York with various east-coast destinations; in this case, I would be travelling on a short working of the Whitby route. I arrived at the stop 20 minutes early and it turned out that the bus was running 20 minutes late, so it proved to be a long wait on a cold morning. I eventually got underway around 0950 and had a quiet and uneventful run as far as Malton, where the bus filled up - at least on the lower deck - with local passengers.

On arrival at Pickering, all I had to do was negotiate my way to the opposite side of a roundabout in order to walk into my next hotel and leave my bag at Reception. I then made my way to the Leeds-bound Coastliner stop and within five minutes was on board another bus for the brief run back to Eden Camp, which I had passed shortly before arriving in Pickering. Describing itself as a 'modern history theme museum', Eden Camp is almost entirely about the Second World War. It is based in a genuine WWII prisoner-of-war camp consisting of over 30 basic huts of the period. Topics covered included the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party, the so-called Home Front, the Blitz, the role of women during the conflict and (appropriately enough) life as a prisoner of war. There were also a number of outdoor exhibits, mainly consisting of military vehicles and other hardware.

There were some fairly large school groups on site, including a group of Dutch-sounding teenagers and lots of noisy local groups of primary-school age. Unfortunately the visit was marred by a persistent cold drizzle.

ABOVE: Eden Camp remembers World War II, in the setting of an original POW facility

After having something to eat I left at 1:15, only to discover that there was no bus back to Pickering until after 3pm! I took a Leeds-bound bus from the stop across the road into the village of Malton, just to pass the time. There wasn't much to see in the rain, so I was relieved to find a branch of Costa Coffee where I could relax in warm surroundings. My ride back to Pickering set off just after three o'clock; fortunately the driver was completely unfazed when I presented her with two return tickets, one covering the Malton - Eden Camp section and the other Eden Camp to Pickering.

Although it was still raining when I arrived, I decided to walk to the station that marked the southern end of the line for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Apart from anything else, it would mean that when I had to repeat the walk the next day with luggage in tow, I would know exactly where I was going. I noted what a pretty little town this was compared to nearby Malton. For a place this size and in a fairly cynical age, it also seemed to maintain a healthy interest in politics: two of the more prominent buildings that I passed were a busy-looking Liberal Club and the local Conservative Club.

The station itself was a worthy and popular attraction and, in line with the theme of the day, was decorated with an assortment of wartime posters. Following my earlier timing failure on leaving Eden Camp, on this occasion luck was in my favour and a steam train was due to arrive imminently. When it did, it obligingly made lots hissing steam and billowing smoke for my photos. What a wonderfully evocative combination of sights, sounds and smells!

BELOW: Pickering Station, preserved and operated by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, also appeared to be in WWII mode

Back in the hotel, I relaxed and watched TV for a while in my latest room, which was agreeably decorated in a contemporary style. Dinner was rather less exciting: both the restaurant itself and the menu choices struck me as being decades out of date.

Tuesday 07 Oct

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