Thursday, 19 July 2012

Past Trips, UK 2008 Whitby

Whitby 2008

September 7th to 16th

We had a week away planed starting on the 6th of September, at three or four sites around the Whitby area, we had booked a couple of sites, as even at this time of year, it was still very busy at weekends and some sites were fully booked.  If fact the site we wanted to visit first was booked up, so we switched to our second choice, it didn't really mater, as we intended to move around anyway.  Two days before we were due to go, the first site phoned to say they now had room available but we had already paid a deposit on the other site.

Well the weather forecast for the first few days away was horrendous, heavy rain, high winds and possible floods.  On the morning of the 6th the Met office was issuing severe weather warnings for the area and on checking the net, one of the roads just outside Whitby was flooded.  So reluctantly I phoned the first site and switched the booking to the next weekend.

Day one, September 7th

A day late we setoff, with the twins, to a site we had booked at Hawsker, a small village between Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay.

York House Hotel & Caravan Park
Hawsker, Whitby, YO22 4LU 

Arrived not long after twelve, booked in and were directed to a pitch but we were informed that the previous people on the pitch hadn't left as yet but would soon be gone and to just wait. After waiting about ten mins and these people not looking like they were getting ready to leave, a caravan turned up behind us and they were also waiting for someone else to move. Now this seems to be fairly reasonable, just wait for a pitch to become available but the two of us waiting, were waiting for two of the only occupied pitches on that part of the site, the rest were all empty.  We could have pitched on any of these but we had been allocated one so we waited.  Eventually these two caravans started to get ready to go but seamed to be oblivious to the fact that we were waiting.  When they were ready to go (after about half an hour) because of their stupidity both of them could not get out using the one way system but needed me to reverse off the road to let them pass.  The ground was very, very, wet and I had to be carful to not get bogged down, this got them very angry that they had to wait for me.  I informed them that, had they vacated the pitch at the allotted time, I would not be in their way and was thanked with a stream of abuse, nice people.  The one good thing about it though, was that these people had gone and would not be camped near us.

Nicole and Tim arrived to collect the girls and we all went into Whitby for fish and chips.  A similar thing to above happened at the chip shop, we had to wait outside for a table and when we did get in, the room was empty, go figure.

Fish & Chips, Whitby 2008

That night back at the site, it got very misty and cold but we were nice and cosy in the van.

Day two, September 8th

Nice warm sunny day but it was practically lunch time before we set out for a walk.  We walked through the village, towards the sea, we knew there was an old railway that was now a footpath along the coast, it runs towards Whitby one way and Scarborough via Robin Hood's Bay the other way.  The walks are about 4.5 miles to Whitby Centre (but there is a shorter walk to Whitby) and about 3 miles to the sea at Robin Hood's Bay.  The walk is actually further as the footpath is also about one mile walk from the campsite.  We had no plans but as we would be camping closer to Whitby later in the week, we set off towards Robin Hood's Bay.

RestingRailway Incline

The walk to the top of Robin Hood's Bay took an hour and the first thing we did was to stop at the shop there and bought all the ingredients to make a picnic. Then it was down the very steep hill to the sea front, where we would find a seat to have our picnic.

The Hill

We would usually have just had fish and chips here but we had that yesterday and we are trying to lose weight.  We had lean roast beef sandwiches, half way trough eating, Dot noticed that the meat was passed its sell by date but we ate anyway. This has happened to us quite a few times buying from country shops on a Monday, when they are getting rid of food not sold over the weekend.


We then had a walk on the beach for half an hour before heading for the pub, the Bay Hotel, who usually have a good selection of hand pulled beers. I had a pint of Deuchars IPA, Dot had a lager and lime, then we sat in the sun outside Wainwright's bar of Bay Hotel, on a warm September afternoon.

The Bay Hotel

Although unfortunately, we did get sat near a couple that spouted pure bull all through our first beer, so as soon as they went we had another one. We also had a very interesting conversation with a nice couple who like us had, had to endure the previous couples spouting's.

Me with a Deuchars

This place also seemed to be the end point for the cost to coast walk (about 190 miles), made famous by Alfred Wainwright, hence the name of the bar and this steady trickle of walker was steadily filling the bar.  Then the bar closed, again and again this happens in England, pubs have been allowed to stay open all day for many years now, but some still insist on closing even when there are people drinking and spending money.  This also seems to happen most in Yorkshire, apparently the bar upstairs was still open but still the bit that was full of drinkers closed

We now had to get back up the hill, we did it in stages stopping at shops along the way, we even thought we would have a drink at the pub half way up but typically for Yorkshire, it had just closed.  We did however have another drink at the Grosvenor Hotel at the top of the hill, I had a pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord and Dot had another lager and lime.

Dot with beer

The walk back to the site was uphill we knew that we had to get back up the incline, but it didn't stop climbing until we were nearly back, strange that we didn't notice this going the other way.


So by the time we got back to the village we were thirsty again and stopped at the pub there for another, I had a pint of Theakston's Best Bitter and Dot had her usual.

Day three, September 9th

As apposed to yesterday, today was a really bad, it was wet, windy and cold, we ended up spending the whole day in the van, what a waste.

Day four, September 10th

Total change again today, the sun was shining and it was warm, got the scooter off the back of the van and set out for Grossmont, about 8.5 mile by the back roads or 10 mile by the quick main road route.  We chose the shorter quieter way, we actually used the GPS for directions, I had it in my pocket with an earpiece in my crash helmet and it worked. We arrived abut 11:00 and decided that rather than take a train ride, we would walk to the next station at Goathland, along the old, original route of the railway, just under 3 miles.

I took hundreds of photos along the way but I will try to limit the amount I show here. You may have noticed that a lot of walks we have been doing are along old railways, there are reasons for this, first you know where you are going (you do not have to guess which field to cross, etc), and secondly these walks are flat (no big hills to climb). So this walk starts with a big hill, the original route of the railway through a tunnel, is now the way into the workshops area, so the walk goes over the top. You do get some excellent views from the top, looking back towards Grossmont station.

The walk is along the origonal course of the Whitby to Pickering railway, built by George Stevenson in1836, as a horse drawn tramway. About two miles into the walk we came to site of the old Beck Hole station and I remembered that Trev had mentioned there was something interesting there.

So we left the track and headed towards some houses, what we found there was a pub so obviously we had to stop for a drink. Trev was right, there was something interesting there, the Birch Hall Inn, one of the smallest pubs you will ever find.

Birch Hall Inn, 2008

Even though Beck Hole is in the middle of nowhere, the pub was very busy with walkers, eating and drinking on the day we where there. I got served through a small serving hatch in a very mall bar, I had a pint of Beckwatter, Beckhole's Best Bitter and Dot had her usual. We sat outside to drink but watching others eating and as it was now 13:00, I had to go back in for some sandwiches (and another beer).

Back on the trail it was about another 1.5 mile to Goathland and we were surprised to find that some of it was up a steep hill, originally on this part of the line, the carriages were winched up by a stationary engine.

Goathland was incredibly busy, with many cars and coach trips, it is famous as the set for Yorkshire Television's long running TV series Heartbeat. There was no filming today, the last time we saw them filming Heartbeat, was about 50 miles away in Masham. We joined in with the other tourists visiting the sights and doing souvenir shopping, we got birthday presents for Dot's Dad, Dot got a new rucksack (pink) and I bought some new walking shoes (not pink).

Heartbeat is famous for it's 1960's Ford Anglia police car (like the one in Harry Potter), there were three of them in the village.

Ford Anglia

We thought hard and made the decision to get the steam train back to Grossmont, so we wandered down to the station, a train we due soon, so we bought a ticket. If you like steam trains this is a good place to be, as it is here that the northbound and southbound trains cross. It was very busy but I got a good position on the station footbridge for photos.

Great but short steam train ride back to Grossmont, about ten minutes is all it took. Back at the station I checked the scooter was ok, then we walked through the world's first passenger railway tunnel to the workshops. The tunnel, on the original Whitby to Pickering railway, was built by George Stevenson between 1833 & 1835, as part of the horse drawn tramway.

Sir Nigel Gresley (the LNER Class A4 locomotive 60007 that is), was in the workshop for repairs, it had broken a suspension spring the day before.

I wanted to watch the Croatia v England match, a World Cup Qualifier but it was on Setanta (an obscure subscription satellite channel, that no longer exists), that I do not get and none of the nearby pubs had it either, so I just had to miss this important game live and watch the highlights later.

Day five, September 11th

Today we thought we would walk the old railway trail again but this time, in the direction of Whitby although we didn't intend to do over ten miles. If Dot had come to me on the morning and said, "I know what to do today, lets go for a 10 mile walk", I would have replied "why don't you go and boil your head", but that's exactly what we did and in the end, it turned out to be a very long day indeed.

It was fine but not very warm when we set off, so we were well wrapped up, we headed to the place where we started the walk to Robin Hood's Bay but could have taken a shortcut via the road, to the old Hawsker station and joined the rail walk there.

Hawsker Station

There are several rail and road bridges along the way and stopping to take photos is also a good excuse to take a rest.

The trail actually heads to the west of Whitby where there is a viaduct over the river Esk, but it is a very nice walk with a wide variety of views, some of the best of the Abbey. The day got warmer as the walk went on and even though it was September there were many flowers in bloom, also some strange looking plants that we only ever see by the side railway walks.

Once over the viaduct there is not much in the way of directions and after walking quite a lot further, we ask a passing cyclist how to get into town, luckily there was a way down from the trail into town close by.

Viaduct over the river Esk

Now we hadn't intended to actually visit Whitby today but as we were there, it made sense to have a quick look around and get some lunch.

The path down into town went through an arch with a very nice view of the Abbey, we had seen some views of Whitby that not many others have seen.

Whitby Abbey

It was about 13:30 when we arrived in town and instead of the usual Whitby fish and chips, we had some food in a little cafe at he train station, it was surprisingly inexpensive and nice and popular.

We had now got our second wind and set off wandering again but first there was a steam train in the station, so I had to get some photos of that. Then we made our way along the north side of the river Esk towards the breakwater, in Whitby there is always plenty of activity on the river and I took so many photos along the way. There are many tourist boat trips and also working boats moving up and down and in and out of the river. It is not just on the river, there was a steam powered bus doing tourist trips around the sights and also the open top buses doing similar trips. There is also always plenty going on, on the fish quay and with so many visitors there is always the opportunity for people watching.

When we got as far as we could, the end of the pier, we set off back to find a pub, not that is is hard to find one there are plenty to go round. Picked one with hand pulled beers I had a The Rev James (by now you know what Dot had) and we had a laugh with a group of people that sat near us.

Refreshed from there we made the short walk to the swing bridge which was open to let several working boats through to go up river. As soon as the bridge was closed again we had a look in a new pub The Shambles, inside what used to be a clothes factory, it was very nice and has a narow balcony overlooking the river. Luckily we got seated outside on the balcony in the afternoon sun and it was very pleasant indeed. The beer was one I had never seen before, Challenger IPA, the bar-person said it was from a local brewery (it was from Yorkshire but not very local), anyway it was good.

Copper Dragon, Challenger IPA, England

The views from the balcony must be among the best from any pub in Whitby and it is an excellent place for watching river life. One drawback, and this is very common now with the new smoking laws, at times it was very smoky out there. I think the law needs tweaking to stop smoking in outdoor seating areas, epically where food is served. Although I do think that, while buying cigarettes and smoking them is still legal in this country, then is should be up to each pub, club or whatever to make their own rules as to where they allow smoking (inside or out).

Next it was off to the pub on the end, the Duke of York, where we got a seat in the bay window with a great view and a nice hand pulled Spitfire, this was turning into a pub-crawl. Met the people from the first pub, and had another good laugh with them and an extra beer that we weren't going to have.

As we set off on the long walk back to the campsite, the sun was already starting to go down and the last part of the journey was in the dark with Dot worrying that we would get run over.

Day six, September 12th

Moved on to a campsite closer to Whitby, just five minuets drive away but from there only a short walk into Whitby town (down the 199 steps), not a hike like yesterday.

Whitby Holiday Park
Saltwick Bay, Whitby, YO22 4JX

It was a large holiday camp style site, with many statics but that also meant it had a shop, bar, clubhouse, cafe, etc. The access road was long and narrow with the occasional passing place and there is no hard-standing, only grass pitches. I did not fancy driving onto the grass but in the end the pitch we got was relatively firm, that made us lucky as several others got bogged down.

The weather was a change from yesterday, cold and damp, anyway in the afternoon, during a break in the rain, we made our way into town. The cliff top walk is a bit scary in places (best not to look down) but it is only about half a mile to the Abbey and the 199 steps that way.

With the weather the way it was we just did some shopping and then retired to the pub, we went to the one just over the swing bridge, The Dolphin Hotel but beer there wasn't hand pulled, shame (we did hear the barman telling someone, that lots of people come in and then, because they have no hand pulled beers walk out, just shows how much custom these pubs can afford to lose). We did have a seat in the window, where we could watch the boats going up and down the river and also see the swing bridge opening and closing, there was even a seal in the river but the photos I took were blurred.

On the walk back we called into the Duke of York, and got our seat in the window, a friend of Dot's from work, came in to the pub and we spent longer it there than we initially meant to. It was a wet climb back up the steps, (in fact we walked up church lane alongside the steps, its ever so slightly easier) and back to the campsite in the rain.

September 13th

Much better day, so it was off back into Whitby in the afternoon but on the morning, we helped people on and off the soft ground.

The short walk into town was much nicer than the previous day and with the sun shining, I took far too many photos, Whitby is just one of those places where it is impossible to not take photo after photo after photo, even when you know you have the shot already.

Endeavour pleasure boat

Today we mainly stuck to the south of the river and walked to the end of the pier on that side, even though the sun was very strong the sea was fairly rough. I spent ages trying to get a good shot of the waves breaking over the pier but failed miserably. I then spent a long time doing the same with the yachts leaving the river Esk, although I did get some slightly better results.

Yachts, Whitby HarbourYachts leaving Whitby

By mid afternoon all the photography was making me thirsty but at £4.30 to £4.50 for our round it was a bit expensive. I had seen a sign pointing down a side street, for the Friendship Rowing Club bar open all welcome (or something like that, if it doesn't say that it should), so we went in. The beer was only from the keg but it was Tetley's Bitter, also we got a nice seat in a sort of patio area, in the sun, out of the breeze, with a view of the river and the round, was only £3.30. Had two beers and as the sun was still out had another walk about on the south side of the river.

We also had beers in the Shambles and a meal in the Duke of York before the walk back to the site.

September 14th

Good weather again, and the tide was out on our walk in to town so I got some photos of an old wreck on the rocks below the cliffs, if you are looking for it, it is down the cliff, in line with the Abbey.

The day before Dot had seen an offer in one of the bakers for very cheep pie and peas so we headed there to get our lunch. We eat them sat on one of the short piers on the south side of the river, they were very good and made a change from the almost obligatory Whitby fish and chips. It also makes a change from the type of food we usually eat at home, as we tend to have mainly low fat healthy meals but when you are on holiday, you are on holiday. As we ate we were entertained by some cormorants in the river and a family creating art on the beach together, I think they were from the USA (the family not the cormorants).

Suitably fed, we set off inland along the south side of the river, I thought I might be able to get a photo of the old railway viaduct from this side. We passed many parts of Whitby we had never noticed before, things like boat repair yards and a marina with apartments adjacent to it. This development looked very underused an under occupied, one of those ideas that look good on paper but are just not really required, anyway the developer properly made money from it.

Swing Bridge

We walked under the high road bridge and then the path ended, It didn't look far to the viaduct, so I left Dot there and walked on for the photo, I didn't get a good one but did get very muddy walking shoes.

Old Railway Viaduct

We climbed up a zigzag path to the road bridge and crossed over to the north side of the river, there are some good views of the town from up there. We walked down a steep road back to the river and headed in to town.

River Esk

We eventually ended up on top of the cliffs on the on the north side of the river mouth, opposite to where we started our walk. Dot wanted to carry on walking north along the coast but I was tired and moaned a lot, until she gave in and we went back down into town. But I did take some of the photos you are supposed to get on that side, captain Cook's statue the whale bone arch, if you have been you know the stuff.

 Back down at the riverside I wanted to find a cheep pub and we found one the Jolly Sailor a Sam Smith's pub and the round was £2.40, what a difference, not the smartest pub in Whitby but that's nearly half price. We sat out the back for one but it cooled down so we had another in the bar. We also had the usual couple of beers in the Duke of York on the way back to the van but didn't get our seat in the window, that was taken by a group of Dutch hikers (not one of them in orange though, strange).

 September 15th

Moved to a site close to Robin Hood's Bay in the village of Fylingthorpe, we were worried about getting off the pitch as the ground was still very soft but there was no problem. It was only about five and a half miles to Fylingthorpe but the last part of it was down steep narrow country lanes.


Middlewood Farm Holiday Park 
Middlewood Lane, Fylingthorpe, YO22 4UF

The staff were very friendly and helpful, but we were put on a car park in the tent field, not on the hardstanding in the mains part of the site, the toilets in the tent field were a bit dated but sill usable. Takeaway food is available five days/week, from an onsite van but not Monday or Wednesday, not much use today Monday.

We got settled in and by 14:00 we were on our way into Robin Hood's Bay, just a 10 min walk via a footpath at the end of the tent field. You lave the field, cross over the old Scarborough & Whitby Railway path, and follow the path towards the coast.

Path to Robin Hood's Bay

One problem we encountered was a very muddy patch at the very beginning to the walk, it almost put us off but with the help of some stones and some cardboard (materials lying about the edge of the field), we got over the mud and the rest of the way was relatively dry.

 It was not as warm as when we were there the week before and after a walk along the beach we retired to the pub the Bay Hotel to warm up, of course the bar we used last week, Wainwright's bar, was closed. We had to use the upstairs bar instead, not as nice as downstairs but popular and warm when we were there.

Later we walked around the village, that didn't take too long and then we popped into The Dolphin for another beer a John Smith's, Finest Hour, not that good so only had the one. There was going to be live music on in the bar that night but it would be too dangerous for us to walk back along the path in the dark.

Teatime we walked up to the village pub, it was highly recommended and we thought we could have a meal there but as usual in Yorkshire, it was closed.

September 16th

Home today, we left early so we could visited Sandsend and Runswick Bay on the way back, first stop was Sandsend where we parked on the bank leading down from Whitby. We had a long walk along the beach and took plenty of photos and then it was back to the van for lunch.

 From there we continued along the coast to Runswick Bay and parked at the top of the bank. It is a long steep path down to the village and the beach and we were not looking forward to the slog back up. We walked along the beech and as others were doing, we stared to look for fossils. I had a word with some of the others and they had found some very good ammonites. I sorted some likely looking rocks and tried to cleave them, to see what was inside, by hitting them against other rocks but only managed to smash them, ruining the fossils. If we do it again, I will take a small hammer with me, we have one in the van.

 All too soon though, we had to get back to pick up the twins and we gave ourselves plenty of time for the climb up to the van. I kept stopping to take photos on the way up, a very good excuse to rest every few steps and even then it was hard work.

No comments:

Post a Comment