FAM Trip at Fleetham Lodge
The summer is over and now it’s time to focus on the remaining months of 2017 and also to the year beyond.
I’ve been silent – this is due in part to holidays but also mostly to attending the Alphe Workshop in London and to our two Fam Trips that we held here in Yorkshire for a selection of agents attending the workshop.
I thought I’d kick off my return to the blog with some insights into these FAM trips and also to share some truly wonderful photos (taken by our guests) that were taken to show the opportunity that awaits the students here at Fleetham Lodge.
The aim of the Fleetham Lodge Fam trip is to replicate the experience that our student clients have when they are here with us on their courses – we literally wanted to give our agent visitors a snap-shot of how it would be for their clients.
Each trip began with the journey by train from London to Yorkshire. We decided to use the train to get people here as it is far quicker, just 2.5 hours, goes through some lovely scenery and also gives participants a chance to meet and get to know each other before they arrive. It is also the journey that some of our students take when coming here. We are lucky to be on the route from London to Edinburgh and so have plenty of direct trains from London Kings Cross to our local station – Northallerton.
The journey from Northallerton gives the chance to see the area – which is very rural and agricultural but also quite lovely. The house stands quite proudly in its setting and this year the garden has been particularly lovely and colourful giving a very welcoming feeling. After a tour of the bedrooms and other facilities everyone took time to relax and unpack a little before we met together to go around the garden (we have 3 acres of garden to wander in including a well-stocked kitchen garden, tennis court and pond). Our bespoke classroom was the final destination where we all discussed the opportunity for various groups of students and had an in-depth question and answer session.
By this time we were all ready to eat and my husband’s dinner of roast chicken, roast potatoes, green beans and carrots did not disappoint. All the vegetables were from the garden (not the chicken I hastened to reassure as we do have 3 hens wandering around!) which gave them an extra edge of flavour. Washed down with a lovely red wine and accompanied by good conversation and the evening was both relaxing and enjoyable. Our loyal friend the dishwasher took care of the dishes and we all retired happily to bed ready for the start of the second day.
The sun shone brightly during the first Fam trip and we headed off into the Yorkshire Dales to experience Aysgarth Falls which did not disappoint with its tumbling water and beautiful landscape. Lunch, sampling the local beer, was in a very traditional pub where we actually discussed what makes a ‘traditional pub’ with the pub landlady – lots of old polished wood, an open fire, traditional British food and drink and a friendly atmosphere – was the official line.
Lunch over, we headed to Bolton Castle which was another great success even though it did rain a little. This is an old traditional castle (partially intact) which is very well- presented and gives a good account of its history and the society at the time of building through to its abandonment in the 1700s (life in a draughty castle had certainly lost its appeal for the wealthy families of the 18th century!).
Afternoon tea is such an English tradition – although with our substantial pub lunch we were only able to share a piece of cake! Nevertheless it was good to take the weight off our feet and enjoy a hot cup of tea before venturing forth to our final destination of the day – Jervaulx Abbey, a hauntingly serene and lovely ruined monastery just outside the town of Masham.
Although once a very impressive and important monastery, it was destroyed almost completely by Henry VIII. Yet as we strolled around the broken pillars and crumbling archways we could glimpse at its former magnificence.
It had been a long day albeit an interesting one and we returned to Fleetham Lodge for a short rest before dinner.
We passed an interesting evening joined by our 18 year old daughter Imogen and enjoyed some lively discussion!
For the second Fam Trip we awoke to pouring rain! As the plan was to take a walk along the edge of the moors, this was clearly not a good start! However all was not lost and we decided to flip the day around and do the indoor part first. Things couldn’t have worked out better! We spent the morning at Nunnington Hall exploring first the house and later as the rain eased, the gardens. This took us to lunchtime which was enjoyed at Ampleforth Abbey – a living monastery and boarding school and after touring the grounds, abbey and visitor centre, we headed off to see the white, chalk horse at Kilburn. These chalk horses can be found all over England carved into the hills. Kilburn’s white horse is the largest, created in 1857. As luck would have it, the sun came out and we were able to walk up to the top of the horse and then follow the scenic path back to the Moors visitor centre. This walk in the sunlight overlooked the whole of the Yorkshire Moors and gave some truly spectacular views.
It all worked out perfectly.
Our group wanted to visit the supermarket to buy supplies for the home journey and we had also promised them a visit to the village pub. Unsurprisingly, it was quite late when we returned to Fleetham Lodge. However, everyone rolled up their sleeves and mucked in to help with dinner and we had a fun time preparing the evening meal which we all thoroughly enjoyed before finally retiring to bed after a long but enjoyable day.
Both groups awoke to a sunny day on Day 3 and were able to take final photos before we drove them to the train for the return journey to London.
I believe that they all had a new and hopefully unforgettable experience that they can pass on to their prospective clients and we hope to see these students here very soon 🙂