Friday, 2 September 2011

Day Three : Whitby

With a sigh of relief we handed back our cards to the staff of Bobby Shafto Campsite and were handed back £20 cash..and we were to the delights of Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay. The journey to Whitby took us over The North York Moors, beautiful carpeted for miles in purple Heather. Daftly the only place I managed to stop only had a bit of Heather but you can still see how wild and gorgeous it is.
In my mind I had thought that we would try and camp near Robin Hoods Bay, but we came across a sign saying 'Whitby Folk Festival, alternative Camping' so we popped in. The two chaps on the gate were great, full of banter and smiles and said that it was fine for us to camp. The school field was fully booked for the weekend but there was space for us on the Thursday.
After a quick tent erection...getting faster....we walked down the 'Cinder Path ' down into Whitby. 
What a lovely town, full of bustle, lovely harbour, pretty cottages and houses climbing up the hillsides...and Ice Cream ! Whitby has a daily steam bus service and a steam railway taking trips into the north york moors....didn't have time to go but next time....

We had to book a boat trip on the old Lifeboat..out we went to sea ..around a buoy a long way out ..the captain started playing a mouth organ and acted the fool..very funny. What luck ..there was a seal bobbing up and down ,so he cut the engine for us all to look...luckily there wasn't a mad dash of everyone rushing to one side and the boat capsizing. It was a good feeling sailing out of the Harbour, my Great Granddad had lived in Whitby and must have done  the same many times. I've only seen a couple of photos of him but yes he looked like Captain Birdseye!

Getting back we went down to the Beach on the old Town side of the harbour, built sandcastles and looked for Whitby Jet. Jet is a fossilised wood from The Monkey Puzzle Tree. Whitby is famous for the making of jet Jewellery which became very popular after the Death of Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert. 10,000 years ago Jet was  being used for jewelry and trading  with people giving it special powers. St Hilda was supposed to have driven out all the snakes from Whitby turning them into stone..coiled ammonites. St Hilda was the first Abbess of Whitby Abbey that was founded by Oswy, a Christian King of Northumbria. Jet is found in the same layer as ammonites,so people thought that the jet would deter snakes. 'As black as jet' was coined by Shakespeare. - Look at link for How to identify Jet and pictures of Jewelry.There were lots of black pebbles and stones in the sand, but jet will leave a brown mark when rubbed onto paper or white china. I think the varying shades of brown denote the quality, although Whitby Jet is widely believed to be the best in the Worldhttp: 

After the beach we walked up the 199 steps up to Whitby Abbey.... famous for being the influence for the writing of ' Dracula'. Bram Stoker stayed in the Royal Hotel on the western side of Whitby while writing his famous novel Dracula and had views over to the Abbey perched high on the cliff.. In the book a ship called Demeter crashed into the pier with its dead captain lashed to the mast...a dog leapt out onto the eastern side and ran up into the darkness. Dracula the most famous Vampire had arrived. Eerily when we climbed up again at dusk one solitary bat flew out of the abbey and across the grass towards the churchyard......

Back down in the town we walked along the Western side and found the memorial to Captain cook and the arch made from the jaw of a whale. Captain Cook trained as a seaman in Whitby before starting his great travels of discovery on the ship Endeavour that was built in Whitby.
Small version of The Endeavour built for tourist boat trips.

Eating chips and mushy peas was lovely but I wish I'd tried Whitby Lemon Buns made by an old local firm called Botham's,8560 
We had a lovely walk back down all the steps and through all the little streets even bumping into a well known musical travelling couple, Mick and Suzie Darling who were there for the music sessions. It was lovely to see them and catch up, I hadn't seen them for years.

We carried on  walking through the pretty streets hearing English folk music from one bar and singing in another before finding my favourite an Irish music session in a bar on the harbour.  I had my bones on me so I joined in for an hour or so before walking back through the town and up the Cinder path to bed.
I have a new shop on Etsy

1 comment:

  1. So glad you have shared this. Whitby and all along that coast has always appealed to me, for paintings etc I guess.



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