Ike arrived safely in Yorkshire, ready for another adventure, and was happy to meet Puss again. They had a good catch up, before Ike left the next day with Heather & Mark, back in October before the second UK lockdown.
Ike travelled to Malton in North Yorkshire, where he was staying for a week. He was excited to go out geocaching in Malton with his new friends, the Mr Men. Ike had done some geocaching last year, in the wilds of Scotland, but he had never done urban caching before, which involves being a lot more discreet! He found his first cache for nearly a year with the help of Mr Tickle. He had also not done Virtual Geocaching either. Virtual Caches have become more popular this year, as they involve visiting a location, and answering a question while you are stood at a certain location. ( You have to answer it while at the location to prevent people answering the questions from their armchairs!) Due to the Covid-19 situation, they are more popular, as you don’t have touch anything physical. However, all safe geocachers use hand sanitizer, wipes and gloves, Ike had his own special paw sanitizer, which his friendly human assistant carried for him.
Ike tried out his first Virtual Cache, they involve visiting 5 nearby locations and learning about the history of the area, he felt this tied in nicely with his goal of visiting as many places as possible and learning the geography! Malton has been the historic centre of Ryedale since Roman times, originally with a fort established on the Northern Bank of the River Derwent, at what is now Orchard Fields. (Remember this name as Ike also got to visit this later in the week). The village of Old Malton, developed as the original town, around a Gilbertine Priory. The present town of Malton, is still a busy market town, with a twice weekly livestock market and regular farmers markets. Malton has been described as “the food capital of the Yorkshire”, and also the dog friendliest town. Ike was not sure what he felt about that last fact! Ike’s first stop to collect the information for the Virtual Geocaches and just learn some history, was ‘The Counting House’, Chancery Lane. Said to be the inspiration for Charles Dickens infamous “A Christmas Carol”, it is one of the most iconic streets in Malton for history & Literature enthusiasts. Charles Dickens was born in 1812 and he made regular visits to the area to visit his friend Charles Smithson.
Ike’s second stop, was The Palace Theatre. The Palace Theatre opened on 7th May 1934 with Bing Crosby in “College Humour”. It incorporates part of the earlier (19th Century) Corn Exchange building which was adapted into the Exchange Hall Picture Hall on 13th February 1915. It was a very unusual design as the entrance foyer (through the 19th century facade) backed onto the rear stage wall (there was a full fly tower for this cine-variety house). To the left there was entry to the the auditorium which had a wide aisle at both stalls and circle level on one side only. The scene dock doors were at the rear of the auditorium – hence the need for the wide aisle at stalls level – as Yorkersgate at the front is a busy road unsuitable for unloading. Why the stage was not sited more conventionally at the rear is a mystery.
Ike then went to see the Milton Rooms. The main body of the building was built in 1930 by the Fitzwilliam family over the 19th century Masonic Lodge which is still in use. This section of the building includes a theatre with the largest sprung dance floor in North Yorkshire and the Fitzwilliam Room; a bar renovated in 2011 as a studio theatre.At the back of the Milton Rooms are the Grade II listed Assembly Rooms. They were formerly the Literary Institute and Subscription Rooms Built in 1814 also by the Fitzwilliam family. The Milton Rooms was given its name by the Fitzwilliam family and originates from their family home.
The fourth stop was The Stew & The Oyster. The Town Hall, in the Marketplace, is a large plain stone building, to which a new wing was built in 1855, by Earl Fitzwilliam. In front of the new part is a stone balustrade or balcony, to be used at elections, or on occasions when public assemblies are to be officially addressed. The building is no longer used as Council Chambers and is currently part of Malton ‘Foodie Scene’.
Ike’s final stop to complete the Virtual Geocache, was The Shambles.
Malton has its own version of the Shambles, smaller and less famous, than the one in York, but still interesting. The Shambles constitute an interesting example of a planned thoroughfare, laid out to link the Market Place with the newly opened Cattle Market. The shops are said to have been butchers’ shops. The town’s Shambles, currently opposite Malton Town Hall, used to be located on the northside of St Michael’s Church, which still stands in the centre of the Marketplace. The Talbot Hotel, still standing and renovated, dates back to the early 17th century and may contain remnants of the medieval town wall.
Ike really enjoyed his first Virtual Cache and was delighted to get the certificate at the end to prove he completed it. He also chose the all important postcards for his friend Geography Cat. He was relieved to see some outside on a carousel, as he left his mask at home, so he couldn’t go in the shop! However, his friendly human assistant had remembered her mask, so she kindly paid for them for him!