Today was another one of those days that turned out quite different from the original plan. The day got off to a good start after a less noisy night and a better sleep. I went for the buckwheat pancakes and berry compote for breakfast and they were fantastic. As I enjoyed my breakfast I reflected on how it feels like I have been away for an eternity. That's a really nice feeling to have. And there's still just over a week to go!
I also reflected on a funny trend I've noticed. The few times I've engaged in conversation with locals I've often remarked on how beautiful I think the UK is. The standard response has been along the lines of "yes, but you have better weather". Like they can't recognise what they have. When I respond that I'm not a fan of the hot weather they don't know what to say next.
I headed off quite early. I needed to get to Pickering at one end of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. I briskly walked the 10min to the train station where the 128 bus to Pickering departed. I was there in plenty of time for the 9:10am bus. Pickering isn't that far if you travel direct but the bus did dart in and out of a few villages, something I was very happy with as it gave me more insight into the area. We passed through more green fields and villages with lovely stone cottages. The bus was a double decker and I decided to be brave and sit up top at the front. I say brave because last time I did that was in a bus from Windermere to Bowness last year and I really didn't enjoy the experience. But this time was OK and I got a great view.
Pickering is a small town with a generally vintage feel. There was an open air market with a variety of things on sale, but nothing I was overly interested in.
I headed straight away to the train station to get my bearings and secure a ticket. The station and surrounding areas purposely appear frozen in time, like this tea room.
After wandering around Pickering for a little while I decided to head back to the station. My train was due to leave at 12:00pm and I got back there just as the 11:00am train was departing.
The platform is decked out in 1930s style. Others on the line reflect other eras including the Goathland station which has been used for the Heartbeat TV series and first Harry Potter movie.
I had some morning tea in the tea rooms at the station and bought a book from the gift shop while waiting for the train. Shortly after 12:00pm toots heralded the train as it rounded the bend into the station.
This train was more substantial than those on the North Wales railways. The sound of the steam as the engine gained speed was so iconic. We even got a free fine layer of soot blown in through the windows.
The scenery along the line was quite varied. There were buildings dotted though the countryside and green fields.
As well as stretches through the barren North Yorkshire Moors.
This row of houses appeared out of nowhere with no evidence of other buildings to form a village.
Part way along the trip I noticed a "passenger" hitch hiking on the outside of the window. He held on for quite some time, helped by the leisurely pace of the train.
All up the journey took about 1.5hr. Towards the end the train went under the massive Larpool Viaduct. I wasn't able to get a great photo from the train but that led to the changes in the rest of the day.