Calling at the Colliery

Last month we found ourselves down south again - the joyous occasion of picking up our new puppy Trix from Middlesbrough meant we spent a few days in North Yorkshire and places on the way.

Calling at the Colliery

I always had a great passion for living museums and Beamish had been on my list to visit for a long time. So en route to our converted old railway station self-catering apartment near Scarborough, we finally got a chance to go the North of England Open Air Museum.

I wished I could say we made it there right for the opening time in the morning - knowing we had to continue our journey mid-afternoon but unfortunately by the time we arrived it dawned on us pretty quickly that we would never be able to do justice to everything. Personally, I would have loved to explore more of the shops in the 1900 town but the boys were much more interested in the Colliery and Pit Village so this is where we started.

We were lucky that as soon as we walked into the Colliery area a tour down the drift mine began so we could experience the reality of life underground for miners straight away. Hard hats are compulsory and set the scene perfectly and it was fascinating to hear all about the day-to-day challenges of mining and see the conditions.

Next were the winding engine house and the wooden heapstead building, where men, ponies and tubs were lowered into the mine and coal was brought up for weighing and screening. Despite it being a busy Saturday we seemed to be one of the few visitors with a mining interest so we had a lot of the places to ourselves. Finally, we reached the engine-shed houses where you can see the Museum’s colliery locomotives.

After that, we needed a much-deserved ice cream break (if you are from Scotland this was pretty much summer - temperature wise!) before moving on to the Pit Village. Seeing a terrace of miners’ cottages was really interesting. Because Beamish is a living museum in each of the houses there were inhabitants dressed up in period costume involved in everyday activities. In one cottage a woman was baking and in another one two ladies were sitting having a cup a tea and chatting. It really brought history to life.

After our mining experience, we had another couple of hours spare so we tried to see the rest of the museum in 'high speed'. Not as rewarding as taking it easy but with little chance to return to make the best of the one-year entry fee it was better than nothing. We enjoyed a tram ride and I got a bit of time to pop into some of the shops in town. And to conclude the day we really enjoyed a steam train ride at Pockerley Waggonway, which tells the story of the birth of the railways.

Overall a really enjoyable day out and highly recommended if you love history!

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About the Author

Monika Strell

Monika Strell

About Me & Mine

Monika (an Austrian in Scotland), Stewart (a true Highlander) and Corwin (7), plus 2 dogs and 5 cats.  We live on a woodland croft in the parish of Assynt, in the far North West Highlands of Scotland.

Favourite place in the world:

Home - we are lucky to have mountains and beaches on our doorstep and Scotland generally; but we also love the mountains in my native Austria and have a soft spot for California, where we spent our honeymoon.

Favourite things to do outdoors:

Explovering (our personal term for exploring and discovering) mountains, lochs and beaches, camping, foraging, star gazing, Geocaching, developing our already wonderful woodlands into a magic place to share with family, friends and neighbours and fishing.

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