For the last few years, we have looked forward to, and very much enjoyed our day on the railway! By tradition, we go up to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway sometime between Christmas and New year with as many of Nathan’s family that are able to, and have a lovely steam train adventure in North Yorkshire!

I love to see everyone, catch up and laugh, and generally just chill out on the steam trains, and see the kids loving this ordinary and yet special moment that comes around each year.

This year we went on New years day. It was a challenge to get to Grandma’s for 9am (especially when we slept in til 8.30!), but like always, we needed to catch the mini coach that had been hired to get us there for the 11am train from Pickering up to Grosmont. And so like a scene from Home Alone, we dashed too and fro to get out the door and on the bus, with all the kids… and with a quick head count we were off!

Just so you know, having 11 kids, a handful of in laws and (at the moment) 12 grand-kids; a mini coach is the only way to travel en mass for a family day out in the Smith Family!

The Railway was quiet on the way up, and the kids not too crazy. The hills were scattered in patches of snow and the sun shone brightly. It was the perfect day to have gone, and as we trudged up the track we gazed out of the windows and chatted back and forth to one another about the lovely Christmas we had enjoyed, things we want to change and improve on and plans for the coming year.

We did our usual walk around Grosmont…exploring the quaint little station, cute shops, and walking through the long tunnel to the engine sheds. All before hopping aboard the steam train and heading back to Pickering! It was a fantastic day with everyone and each other, and a great start to our year!

Nathan’s dad was a great lover of the railway, as Ethan kept reminding us of, and so it is always sad to not have him there enjoying his favourite moments with us and his eager GrandKids! It is however always a special moment just to be together making memories, and having the opportunity to have him at the forefront of out minds and in conversation whilst we explore a place rich in his memory.

I love to see the rolling Yorkshire hills, be with family and enjoy North Yorkshire from the steam railway! Our day on the Railway is an ordinary moment we all look forward to and love… so much so, that this year we hope to take the kids again and head to Whitby on it, because it is THAT great!


The Ordinary Moments

Saturday was by far one of our favourite family days out, and possibly one of the most memorable of this year too. We finally got to properly celebrate Megan’s 5th birthday, and headed up to Go Ape Tree Top Junior at Dalby forest for a massive adventure to do so!


For ages she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do on her 5th Birthday as this year was a day out and no parties, but she soon got over that and expressed an interest in climbing or tree top nets. I asked if she fancied zip wires in there too, and as it was a resounding “Yes” she was completely sold on the idea of Tree Top Junior!

I myself have fond memories of fun times at Go Ape from my early 20’s and knew it would be something we would all enjoy together (which we did), however on Saturday I wasn’t particularly feeling it! It would seem that these days I have developed a fear for heights and an inability to free fall on the zip wires. And so whilst I screamed my way round course one and froze at the top of the zip wire (Yes on the Junior course) My kids were running rings around me and loving life. They effortlessly strolled through treetop obstacle’s and flew down the zip wires with Daddy like no other, whilst I stood firmly on the ground with baby Alice after awkwardly being escorted down by an instructor!!!


Go Ape Tree Top Junior is the perfect activity for kids who are filled with energy and love scary and exciting things just like Megan. Both our kids are thrill seekers, well coordinated, love a good challenge, and being outdoors, therefore everything about it appealed to them. The sun was shining, they were out in nature, high up in the trees and wearing harnesses – it was a dream come true and they absolutely loved every second.

They started off by getting fitted with a harness, going through a safety brief and then hooked on to a cable and head up some wooden stairs on to course one. They stay attached to the cable through out, as well as having handles for extra support and then of course the harness. The first course consisted of various nets, balancing beams, stepping stones and bridges, all of which are up in the trees. At the end they jump off the platform and fly down the zip wire (or in Ethan’s case are given a quick nudge off the platform) and love their life right to the end… before doing it all over again or tackling course 2.

Course 2 of Tree Top Junior is a little longer and has a lot more challenging bridges and stepping stones (It’s also higher), but again ends at the zip wire platform.

It was wonderful to see both kids take it in their stride and jump in with both feet. Megan at one point was heckling some older kids in front “Come on slow coaches I’m only 5”, and thus was then disappointed to find out later that she was too small to go tackle the Adult course, and would have to wait until she was 10 (It was pretty funny)! Within the hour session we had they had about 3 turns round the 2 courses but could have gone all day if allowed.

All the staff are so amazing, well trained and especially with the kids, they really know how to get on well with them and bring out their brave sides! The kids had an absolute blast and it was definitely the perfect way to celebrate Megan this year – fun, adventurous and keeps you on your toes! We will surely be back each summer in the school holidays to have some more treetop fun and adventures as they haven’t stopped talking about it…


*Thank you so much to Go Ape for giving our family a complimentary visit on Saturday for Megan’s Birthday, in return for a review. All thoughts and pictures are my own.