My next press jaunt took me to Skipton in Yorkshire for a nice little treat and a dabble in some country sports. Clocking off at 3pm, I rushed to the station to begin my five hour journey to the rolling hills and picturesque greenery. When I reached London, the delight of the first class lounge was there to greet me and I smugly wandered to my carriage leaving the hustle and bustle of economy commuters behind. My first experience of travelling with the toffs, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and by 8pm was already on my second glass of wine and reclining comfortably in my spacious seat.
I finally made it to the hotel around 10pm, bleary-eyed and flagging, but was not disappointed when I unlocked the door to find my bed for the night. A spectacular scene unravelled, complete with mahoosive bathroom, queen-size bed and the real jewel in the crown, a balcony overlooking a gorgeous lake and a view for miles. Yes, this will do very nicely, I thought.
Waking up refreshed and after my daily dose of Daybreak, I headed downstairs for the day’s activities. The main purpose of my trip was to participate in an Open Day at the hotel, to give me a taste of what the establishment can offer its guests. And I was not disappointed.
After rubbing shoulders with a few local country bumpkins and wishing I was rich enough to buy a Barbour, we were put into teams and headed off for our activities in the Yorkshire Dales. My first task; Land Rover off road driving.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I hoped in the driver’s seat and, after adjusting the seat to my abnormal height, I took the wheel and headed for the rough terrine. It was a brilliant experience, even though my nerves were shot to pieces by the end of it all. Next stop, clay pigeon shooting.
Plunging ear-plugs into my drums, I was shown the ropes and then left to get ready, aim and fire! After hitting the target first time, my next few shots missed terribly and the weight of the gun and pressure of the gunfire took its toll. On to archery.
This I seemed to get the hang of and even hit a few bullseyes to give the posh totty a run for their money. I got a bit nostalgic and remembered my good old Brownie Guide camp days, so put my knowledge to good use to show off a bit.
Next we had a look at some birds. Birds of Prey, hawks and owls to be exact. With the guide explaining the hawk’s amazing DNA make-up at about 100 miles an hour and my rumbling stomach causing a distraction, my mind did start to wander to potential lunch menu choices.
But it was soon broken when I was handed a body part of a baby chick before the hawk come down to swoop it out of my hand and feast on the meaty goodness on my arm.
Finishing the activities, we headed back to base to indulge in lunch and fizzy beverages, which was a welcome treat for my parched palate. A few wines later and conversation on my lunch table was in full swing, with the broad Yorkshire accent making me giggle with every sentence. With my pre-booked train looming, I scoffed my lunch and, ever the classy bird, was given my lemon tarte in some kitchen foil to takeaway.