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Meeting the Big Guy at Ingleborough Cave

Hello! How the heck are you all? Well I hope. Today I'm darting around trying to get all those little niggly jobs done before the Boy finishes school on Friday. He's got a super busy week ahead with performances in choir and 'A Christmas Carol' - he's playing the Ghost of Christmas Present and is very much getting into character by rehearsing all the time.

On Sunday we took a trip to the gorgeous village of Clapham, out in the Yorkshire Dales. Meandering through the village I was absolutely charmed by the little stone cottages with Christmas trees in their windows and the river running through the middle. It was surrounded by holly bushes bursting with red berries and paired with the simple elegance of  white berries belonging to the Sorbus tree. I wanted to capture these on the camera, but the kids were desperate to get moving up the hill where we were off to meet the Big Guy and his elves. So I didn't take any images then and thought I'd do it on the way back to the car.

Ingleborough Cave

 lies at the top of a fairly steep incline, about a mile walk. The sun peeked out from the clouds several times and it was mild and dry. A pretty good winter's day all things considered. The scenery was stunning, surrounded by woodland and a lake. Many folks were coming back down the hill after seeing Santa, all looking happy and festive. It all felt a little bit special. Until we reached the top and had to wait two hours to get in! The queue was enormous but there was plenty of space for the kids to play and a little cafe to get some coffee and crisps (what more do you need really?). But once you get to the head of that queue, well there is a whole lot of magic going on inside. Hard hats on, you are led through the cave by one of Santa's elves who tell you the story of how Santa comes every year to Ingleborough. The kids were spellbound, eager to hear more of the enchanting tale. The cave was sparkling with fairy lights and tealights and at times you had to do some serious bending down to fit through the passages (it isn't one for anyone with a bad back).

But once at the end of the path and the elves have finished their magical tale of goblins, ogres and witches there lies Santa's grotto. And the Big Guy is there sitting on top of his throne. The kids are beyond excited, the sparkle in their eyes is mesmerizing. There is nothing like seeing Christmas through the eyes of your child to make you realise that it is all worth it. x

(The photographs in the last few pictures got a bit misty as it was extremely damp in the cave. The lens just kept fogging up. And I never did get to shoot the village as by the time we got back to the car it was dark!)