ScotTrek: Thirsk

One of the earliest tv shows I remember watching (that wasn’t Bob Ross or Reading Rainbow) was All Creatures Great and Small. I grew up reading James Herriot’s books, and I felt in some ways that the Yorkshire Dales were as familiar to me as home.

Thirsk, the village where Alf Wight (James Herriot) lived and practiced most of his adult life, is just a 20-minute train ride from York, so off I went on my second morning.

The train station is rather inexplicably a mile from the town, but it was a lovely walk in to 23 Kirkgate, “Skeldale House.”


The first picture is the view from the front doorstep: down the road to the left is the church where he married “Helen” (really Joan.)

The house has been turned into a museum and the first floor has been recreated as it was in the 1940s (the upper floor is more general information on veterinary practice, and another part of the house contains sets from the tv show. I stood in the tv show dining room!!)


Although technically a dining room, the main front room was primarily used as a patient waiting room.

I loved the rows and rows of medicines.


The breakfast room, although small, was where much of the daily life took place – it’s a cozy place.


And the kitchen … oh! What a cheery room. Clearly an awful lot of living happened there, too.


This was lying open on the table.

I walked down to the church next – St. Mary’s, built in the late 1400s. It was partially restored in the 1800s, but the doors are original, and an elderly gentleman caretaker (the most wonderfully stereotypical Yorkshire man I could have hoped to meet) proudly showed me how although the doors weigh at least a ton each, they are so well balanced and he can push them shut with just a finger.

Before I left Thirsk, I stopped at the grocery store and bought lunch: cheese, crackers, and four chocolate eclairs, all of which I ate with great relish on the train back to York.


But not before talking to these friendly sheep, who I encountered on the walk back to the train station.

Is there anything more Yorkshirian than sheep? I think not.

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