Leaving the reception, my father gave me an envelope containing £50 (a lot of money then). I was very grateful, we had hardly two pennies to rub together! We had booked two nights at Kearton Guest House, which is in Thwaite, in Swaledale North Yorkshire. (See http://www.keartoncountryhotel.co.uk/). This is a beautiful part of the country, surrounded by majestic moor land and the guest house was well known for it’s hospitality. Driving through the winding country roads, it was delightful to have people wave at us, and even call our names (as they were written in lip stick on the side of the car).
We arrived too late for supper, which didn’t matter too much as we had naturally eaten at the reception. The landlady made us a sandwich, and Donna helpfully had given me a jar of pickled onions (my favourite), so I ate the whole jar! (I did clean my teeth thoroughly afterwards! )
The following morning we decided to go for a walk after breakfast, and very soon came upon a farmer who was trying to hay bale his field before the rain came and ruined it. Naively we offered to help him. It turned out it isn’t as easy as it looks! My images of tossing bales of hay from a pitchfork and neatly making haystacks was quickly dispelled. It was sheer hard work and after an hour or so we were completely exhausted. What a thing to do on the first day of married life.
By way of a thank you, the farmer suggested we went out for a drink that night. We picked him and his friend Jack Pat up and they directed us to Tan Hill, which is Britain’s highest public house at 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level on the Pennine Way. It dates back to the 17th century with beautiful exposed beams, stone-flagged floor and welcoming fire. (See http://tanhillinn.com) ‘Tin Lizzy’ our Hillman Minx, just about made it up the hill but the engine was very hot when we got there, I think the brakes were binding.
For the next couple of hours we had one of the best nights of our lives listening to these two wonderful Yorkshire farmers. By and large we could hardly understand their broad Yorkshire dialect and their wonderful colloquiums such as “t’bugger”, “t’market”, and in relation to the bar maid “Great top bollocks!” Each round seemed to come to a different amount, and there didn’t seem to be a closing time for the pub. Eventually we persuaded them that we needed to get some sleep, and on parting they said that they would see us in the field at 7 in the morning for another day of hay baling. We didn’t make it, but I looked through the curtains in the morning and they were there working hard.
After two days of luxury we collected our bikes and headed to the Llŷn Peninsula to the caravan that Lawrence and Eileen owned at Llangwnnadl. This is one of the most beautiful and remote parts of North Wales, and the caravan was part of a community on a farmers field. Pearce Thomas, the farmer, didn’t think anything of allowing his sheep and geese to graze on the caravan site as well. Avoiding the sheep and geese shit was for many years a feature of our holidays in Wales. The geese could be quite intimidating. The sheep however would often walk under the caravan at night, bumping into the chassis and waking us up. Their woollen coats did give everything a polish however.
We spent the next ten days walking and cycling, and for once the weather was glorious. We were grateful to Lawrence and Eileen for the use of the van, as we couldn’t afford any other holiday.
Towards the end of our time there, we went for a walk along the headland to The Ty Coch Inn at Porthdinllaen near Morfa Nefyn, which is right on the beach and subsequently became a firm favourite of ours every time we went to Wales. From there I phoned David and found out that I had become an uncle! Georgie had given birth to Suzannah. What a way to end a fantastic honeymoon!