The long drawn-out winter gave way to some months of almost uninterrupted sunshine and cloudless skies and the country sometimes almost sizzled under the heatwave.  25 of us basked in the sun at a barbecue at the beginning of August.

However, the heatwave was punctuated with one or two grey, rainy days – such as the day at Bridlington where we boarded the Yorkshire Belle and cruised out to Thornwick Bay and saw razorbills and other species of seabirds – but alas, no puffins!  We could also get a welcome cup of tea on board at the bar.  When back ashore, we walked to “Audrey’s” for a sumptuous, enjoyable fish and chip tea.

Rain struck again on the walk from Burnsall to Linton, but we were well-placed for the torrential downpour, with plenty of large trees to shelter under.  We crossed the river by a suspension bridge whilst some of us ventured across the stepping stones.  We were on the wrong side of the river to reach Linton and its 13th century church, only accessible by more stepping stones.  So we retraced our steps to Burnsall and repaired to the Devonshire Arms in Grassington for an evening meal.

We visited Rievaulx Abbey in July – the first Cistercian monastery in England, founded in 1132. An audio-player gave detailed explanations of each building.  After lunch and a visit to the museum, we drove up to Rievaulx Terraces where we had an enjoyable walk on the green between the Tuscan and Ionic temples.  There were some spectacular views of the Abbey, the valley, and Rievaulx village.  The day was rounded off with a meal at the Fauconberg Arms in the village of Coxwold.

Once again, we were treated to a lovely home made meal in Grosmont in August, and were entertained with folk songs.  We also went for a walk in the area and dined at the Malyan Spout Hotel in Goathland.

Other events included a visit to the Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley.  A trip to Markenfield Hall, a medieval manor house 2 miles south of Ripon. A concert given by the LSO at St Chad’s church.  The main piece was Verdi’s “Messa de Requiem, along with members of Ilkley and Otley Choral Society.

Some of us travelled back in time to the Anglo-Saxon, Tudor and Georgian eras at Temple Newsam – a 45 minute “Hidden Tudor” tour of the house took us behind the scenes and underground where the kitchen was.

A visit to Pickering took us to a fascinating folk museum, castle, railway station for steam trains, and some of us managed to get into the church (which was being renovated) and see the wonderful medieval frescos.  A very good Sunday lunch followed, a couple of weeks later.