For those of us who live here the Yorkshire coast is, of course, the centre of the universe. But we are slightly removed from the country’s main arteries of trade and commerce. To me that’s a plus. I look on the coast, the North York Moors, the Vale of Pickering and the Wolds as a distinct part of the world, separated by geography (and of course geology) from the rest. I think of this as my home patch – the place where I feel comfortable. Conversely I feel a bit like a Scarborough Woof out of water once I get anywhere near Thirsk or Hull not to mention the teeming streets of York or the giddy lights of Leeds.

So it comes as a pleasant surprise to find that a lot of other people, from all over the country, similarly hold the Yorkshire coast to be a very special place. I discovered this during a recent trip to Dublin. I was there for a conference of geology museum curators, though my real mission was to seek out some giant reptiles from the Yorkshire coast – more on that another time. Around 60 folk from prestigious places ranging from the national museums of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, to Oxford University Museum and the tiny Horniman Museum in south London were all gathered to hear talks, chew the fat and sink some Guinness.

During the two days a string of people came up to me (I was wearing my Whitby Museum badge) to tell me how much they loved the museum and the Yorkshire coast. Everyone there had spent time on this coast and remained in awe of its beauty and its geology. Because, while some people might think we’re a bit off the beaten track, for geologists we are the luckiest skunks on the planet, living in one of the most beautiful and interesting places anywhere.

Of course we all know that, but it’s nice to have your beliefs confirmed. So when you’re looking for a way to shed the seasonal excess, get out into the countryside and appreciate just how lucky you are.