This past Sunday, we went on a day trip to Whitby, North Yorkshire (it’s a seaside town about 115 miles northeast of here). We went by coach (coaches are charter buses, but in addition to private charters, they run periodic trips that anyone can join without having to fill the coach). We weren’t impressed with the company we went with, but we had a good time in Whitby nonetheless. This post got rather long and full of photos, so I’m breaking it into two parts. Hopefully the load time for you will be measured in something less than glacial movements!
We both love fall (autumn), and love to see the show the trees put on for us. This trip was advertised as “Autumn Tints”, and was supposed to take us past trees in color. It didn’t, but ho hum. Just another kick to get the finances in order to buy yet another car so we can go on our own trips!
As always, click on any photo to see the larger version. It was a gray, rainy, yucky day when we left. It was lovely in Whitby, though, so I’m glad we didn’t let that put us off – you just never can tell. We were on the motorway (interstate) for part of the way. When I lament that there are too many streetlights here, I mean it: I’m leaving this photo with the streetlight in the way because I had too many like this. They put them every 25 feet or so on both sides of most of the road – and then they wonder why we can’t see the stars at night.
When we finally arrived in the Yorkshire Dales & Moors – which I’ve heard so much about – I remarked to Chris that it looks a lot like the Peak District. It is actually really similar geography; the Peak District is just more popular than Yorkshire because of its easy access for the city folk (from Manchester, London, etc). I related this to my friend Wendy who – I can’t remember now – either her husband or herself comes from Yorkshire. She replied, “Long may it continue!” Heh.
When we passed this feature, I heard a girl and her mother near us. The mother said this is called Dinosaur Bowl; the girl asked if it’s because a dinosaur sat there and that’s the shape of it’s bum. Made Chris and I giggle. 🙂
We got on the coach at 8am, and we arrived in Whitby at 12:30. It’s not actually that far – we were doing pickups for one and a half hours after we left Glossop, and then there was a half-hour stop at a really depressing motorway service station (these are like the ones you get on toll road interstates: exits with a few places to eat, restrooms open to the public, gas, usually some picnic tables, plus these have hotels in them). I was irritated, since I’d been told we’d arrive in Whitby around 11am – 150% of the estimated travel time is quite an error!
Anyway, so we were there. We took a few pictures as we made our way towards a restaurant Chris had scoped out reviews for the night before. We usually take a packed lunch whereever we go – less variable in quality, quicker, and easier than hunting for restaurants – but I really wanted some seafood since we’d be in a fishing village.
It was low tide when we arrived. The difference in height of the sea is something I first ever noticed in Blackpool (another British seaside town); I really don’t remember this from when I lived in Hawaii – and I seem to recall going to the beach quite frequently there. I don’t remember it in Virginia, but beachgoing was rare there. The tide height difference is so much in Whitby that these boats were just sitting on the mud! Wonder if you could get a quick paint job on your boat during low tide…
Chris forgot his sunglasses – so we have him to thank for the sunshine. We finally found a restaurant we wanted to eat in – The Marine – which was very small and crowded, but it was nice, and the food was good. Chris had fish and chips – he doesn’t usually eat cod, but this was sufficiently good that he ate it (the menu hadn’t specified whether it was cod or haddock). I had the smoked haddock and mustard mashed potatoes, which was also tasty.
The hallway back to the restrooms, however, is covered in a black and white wallpaper that, in that confined space, made my eyes just about cross. In a room it would’ve looked nice, I think. The toilet stall I used had this picture hanging on the back wall. In case you don’t look at the larger version, I’ll just tell you: that gold fish looks distinctly like it is frowning. It made me “…” so much that I snapped this picture to tell Chris about it. Might make some think twice about ordering fish, I guess…
Now feeling much better, we continued walking down the wharf to see what all there was. Above, you see the view of whence we’ve come. Below is the famous restaurant in Whitby for fish & chips – The Magpie – complete with the line (queue) going out to the street. Chris’d taken one look at those reviews and immediately decided to avoid them – apparently the portions are far too small and entirely too pricey. I had a look at the menu as we passed to see what qualified as too expensive – £12 for a single plate of fish & chips is rather a lot, really, when you can get a takeaway fish & chips in many places for £4. Obviously there’s some overhead for it being a sit-down restaurant, but not that much. As for the portion size, what’s listed on the menu doesn’t look small to me – all I can guess is that they’re not actually sending out what the menu says. What struck me most about this was that they don’t skin the haddock before breading it and deep-frying it. EW! Nosiree, count me out!
The tide’s been coming in – ever so slowly – while we’ve been eating.
Below, some of the entertainments – this part looks just like the commercialized, gaudy part of Blackpool, meant to part you from your money. We whipped through here pretty quickly – interestingly, the fish market is dead center in this mess – stopping only to try to buy a map, but the machine ate my pound. Stupid thing. There was a map on display on the board, though, so we looked at that a bit, and found a few interesting-sounding things. Then we kept wandering.
We found the lifeboat museum, but it was clogged with people, so we wandered on. We also saw this pirate ship 😉 running tours. There were many boats running tours and sea trips of varying lengths, which I was interested to go on, but was worried about the time, since we only had the 4.5 hours there. Something for our next trip!
The last thing we noticed on The Strip, as I’ll call it, were these completely random figures flanking the doors to this restaurant. Um, okay. Whatever blows your skirt!
We found the way down to the beach, and walked along it for a bit.
Chris was so disappointed that there were no critters in these pools.
We also found this guy balancing rocks on their points. We didn’t stop to talk to him, so we havne’t a clue why he was doing it. It being such an impermanent thing, I vaguely wonder if he’s Buddhist, actually. Either way, they were cool to look at!
These are beach huts. I’m told they’re Very British – so much so that the winner of a WI photo competition on the theme of “British Summer” was a photo of some beach huts (nicer than these, mind). I never noticed any in Blackpool, the only other British seaside town I’d been to before Sunday, so I was very confused when I was first told about them. Apparently, they’re to give you someplace to change into your swimsuit.
Chris was more confused to see them there on Sunday – he wondered why people these days don’t just wear their swimsuits under their clothes, like he did when he was a boy and his family would visit Blackpool for a week. Once I saw that they have a place to put a padlock, though, I realized they could also be useful as lockers. When Chris was a boy, his mum would watch their stuff when they went swimming (she doesn’t like swimming); if it was just him and I who went, we’d both want to swim, though, so we’d need somewhere to keep our street clothes, towels, keys, etc. Plus I suppose you could wait out rain in them. Besides, they might have a kettle, etc, in them as well, for all we know.
The beach huts were along the path back up to the street level, so we went up there. We thought the large building just there might be the science museum we’d seen on the map, but it was yet more arcade, etc, “family entertainment” instead. Past that, we found a theatre (for plays), and just in front of that were a couple of food vendors, including this Tibetan one! I’m interested in Tibet, so would’ve liked to try some Tibetan food – if only we hadn’t just eaten! Hopefully they’ll be there on our next trip.
We also got a better view of the maze we’d passed when we’d walked on the beach – which was in use! 🙂
This sign vaguely amused us, so we snapped a photo of it. We were also very confused by this arrangement of bricks and fence. It’s as though there was an opening that’s now been bricked up, but that fence is only waist high or thereabouts, so it’d be a very short opening! Really wonder what happened there.
We were wandering back the way we’d come (except much higher), and on the corner (as it were), where harbor meets ocean, they’ve put a few monuments and a lot of benches. While snapping photos of them, I saw the rainbow! You can just see it in the left picture above and in the right picture below (you might need to look at the large version).
The statue is of Captain Cook, who gets credit for discovering Australia. He apprenticed in Whitby, was based in Whitby, and used Whitby-built ships for his three “voyages of discovery,” as the sign put it. I thought the coat of arms (?) on the front was really nifty.
I’m not sure what the other monument here is – it looks like a ship’s mast with a ship atop it. There wasn’t a sign, so your guess is as good as mine.
The sky was very moody.
The whale bone arch is impressive-looking, though a bit morbid: these are the jaw bones of a blue whale. The whaling industry was big in Whitby for many decades – I’m heartened that the sign tells us they used all the parts of the whale, at least. These bones came from Alaska – a twinning thing, I think (the sign is hard to read); Anchorage and North Slope Borough are credited. Apparently the original ones, erected in 1963, are preserved in Whitby Archives Heritage Centre.
From this corner we also had lovely views of the rest of Whitby – here’s the other side of the harbor.
…and the first thing we were struck by was this building that looks so very out of place. The word – Streonshalh – is the Viking word for Whitby, the internet tells us. It’s flats now, but I’d be shocked if it was built as flats. And look at it – it’s assymetrical. The bit on the left could’ve been an extension, but regardless, the rest of it is still assymetrical. Very strange. We can’t find anything else online about it, annoyingly.
We saw this steam-powered bus go by! Delightful – and the friendly driver waved at us while we were snapping photos. It’s the Vintage Spirit. Then we found a bench to sit on and chill out, from where we saw the Board Inn. Chris didn’t realize it was spelled that way, and thought it was Bored Inn, and went on about it for quite awhile before I decided to correct him. Still, who does name their place that? Their website is entirely lacking in explanation, meh.
We also had chance to admire St Mary’s Church and the ruins of Whiby Abbey, together with its 199 steps, and the many people going up and down them. Sadly, we were on the wrong side of the harbour and just didn’t have time to make that climb. Oh, shucks.
My friend Chris (a different one) tells me that next time, we have to climb up those steps and count them all, and when we get to the top, we’ll have the Whitby Wibbly Wobblies – since our legs will be ready to give out! Something else to look forward to … 😉
Panning to the right, we see more of Whitby. After our rest on this bench, we’ll head off in that direction – you’ll see those pictures in the exciting conclusion, “Whitby, part 2”!