Finding Joy in January: a Winter Walk
Looking out of the window in January, it is sometimes hard to get motivated to head outdoors. The fire's in, the kettle's on and with the papers, a good book, Netflix or the TV remote within arm's reach, what's to venture out for?
Add in one, two, three or more kids who need coats, hats, gloves, wellies locating - snacks for the walk, then the effort becomes that bit harder.
But, hand on heart, whatever the weather, getting out for a walk and returning to the cosy fold of home always makes me feel better than before I left. And that certainly goes for the kids too.
Last weekend it was cold - but sunny and bright, so we headed up to Dalby Forest on the edge of the North York Moors National Park for a favourite walk to the North Yorkshire Bridestones.
We took a picnic - not a 'legs stretched out on picnic rugs' type of picnic. This was a thrown together (sandwiches, cake, flask of tea for us, flask of hot chocolate and a tub of marshmallows for the boys) on the hoof type of al fresco meal.
Ted found a good place to perch on one of the bridestones....
The sun was warm enough to keep the chill at bay for our picnic before we continued along the circular walk. Joseph and William must have had something fortifying in their sandwiches because with a huge effort they managed to prop up one of the bridestones...!
The Bridestones are a fascinating sight which always delight the kids. The word 'bridestones' is probably of Scandinavian origin meaning edge stones or brink stones. The rocks are naturally formed sandstone rock formations that have been eroded by wind, rain and frost over thousands of years and were created by glacier movement in the ice age.
This has resulted in the unusual rock shapes and the indentations that you can see on each rock today.
Standing on the ridge alongside The Bridestones is an exhilarating feeling as you look across the surrounding views of open heather, wooded valleys and grassy dales. And last weekend with the normally heather-clad ridge covered in a blanket of snow the area felt incredibly tranquil (even with three boys in tow!)
We had to navigate our way down some quite snowy slopes before making our way back through fields to the car park. One part of kit that we hadn't brought with us was the sledge, not realising quite how much snow there would be here.
Clambering into the car with faces flushed from the combination of cold and exercise we headed home to the fire, the papers, the book and the TV remote which were all as we had left them - and more appreciated than if we hadn't ventured out in the first place.