An insider's view: Rita Lawson
Can you tell us a little about your job(s) and how you came to be doing it?
I have worked in Economic and Community Development, including tourism for over 25 years. This has involved working with community groups to build their capacity to help them identify and deliver regeneration projects; businesses to source funding to aid their business growth. Basically it’s about seeking out opportunities that will help sustain or grow the local economy.
What aspect of your job and the place where you work makes you feel happiest?
Hand on heart, there is not one single aspect of my job that doesn’t make me feel happy. Over the years I’ve followed a fantastic career path, not without its ups and downs I might add, but most importantly a one that has led me to my spiritual home of Richmondshire and the Yorkshire Dales. It has opened up further opportunities to be involved as a Director of Gayle Mill, near Hawes and Hudson House, Reeth.
If some one is feeling a little down and perhaps in need of a boost, where in the Yorkshire Dales do you suggest they should visit?
Take a walk, either the low or high circuit depending on physical stamina, to Semer Water, the second largest natural lake in the Yorkshire Dales. Sit by the shore and just take in the peace and tranquility. Even better if you take a picnic and a bottle of wine!
If a visitor was coming here for two days what would you recommend they should try to do? Any particular places to eat or drink you'd like to recommend?
Oh where to begin? Being slightly biased, of course! Park at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes and see the latest exhibition; walk into Hawes for a late-morning coffee and a bit of shopping; take a scenic walk to Wensleydale Creamery for a spot of lunch and obligatory cheese tasting in the cheese shop; amble up to Gayle Mill for the 3pm guided tour of the 19th century restored sawmill and its working Victorian machinery and pick up a souvenir from the shop. To end the day walk back into Hawes and enjoy a meal in the White Hart or grab some fish and chips and eat them al fresco back to the car.
Where you feel sudden swooping joy?
Driving over Buttertubs, stopping somewhere safe and just marvelling at the magnificent views of “God’s own County”!
Is there a happy detail in everyday life that you think many of us miss?
For me, it’s putting away the mobile phone etc and relaxing and talking with a loved one and just enjoying being here in the Dales
Favourite place to just sit and look?
Sitting on the bench outside Hudson House, Reeth and looking towards Fremington Edge; or, outside Gayle Mill looking out towards Stag Fell and Wether Fell.
Is there a local person who you think embodies the Yorkshire Dales spirit?
Not one, but two of my fellow Directors of Gayle Mill, William Lambert and Tony Routh. They never fail to make me smile!
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