Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby
Travelling by Bus and Walking Up and Down
20 km by bus 12 km on foot
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Safa’s 16th Birthday
Happy Birthday, Safa!
We saw a few interesting features besides mud and bog yesterday. In Little Beck Wood, a school teacher hollowed out a boulder to make his hermitage. He carved a perfect door with a triangular peak. One assumes he did all this with hammer and chisel since he did it in 1799! Falling Foss, meaning water, is the site of a 20 metre waterfall as well as a charming outdoor tea garden in the woods. A car park a few kilometres away means that people who do not want to walk so far can still get here.
Egton Bridge is a beautiful village with some huge houses and one enormous estate, all with colourful gardens. We walked around the village after our arrival, stepping across the well worn stepping bridge across the River Esk. We visited St Hedda’s Catholic Church, wherein we learned about Blessed Nicholas Postgate, a priest born in 1596 who ministered to the people of the moors for 51 years before being hanged, drawn and quartered 1679. There is a wonderful stained glass image of him wearing shepherd’s cape trudging across the moors.
As we left Egton Bridge we heard and saw many pheasants. In a farmyard we saw a black one. Pheasants have been a feature right across England. The lane we walked was once a toll road, a sign on the toll cottage showed the prices in pence for each type of vehicle, horse drawn or otherwise for as recently as 1948. One horse with 4 wheels was eight pence. A hearse was the second most expensive way to travel at 6 pence.
Once out of the mist the seacoast town of Whitby appeared and reappeared in the distance as we skirted it to the south. Because of the cloudy day, the North Sea was not visible until we were practically on the cliff with another seven kilometres to walk with the sea on our left below us. Yes, we walked up and down on the cliffs, but never all the way to the shore until we arrived in Robin Hood’s Bay. This trail was once again part of the Cleveland Way.
Robin Hood’s Bay has a newer 19th century upper town and a lower town that has evidence of settlement dating back 3000 years. Much of the town is red brick. Every house has a name which is something we have seen right across England. Many of the houses have unique arch brickwork and interesting wood or stone peaks above the front doors. The white rose of the house of York is seen throughout Yorkshire. Here we also see it carved in stone.
Brian and I took the local double decker bus to Whitby ten kilometres away this morning. The bus had us at Whitby harbour in about fifteen minutes even with a long pause for a construction zone. This is much faster than walking! We wanted to see the ruins of the famous Whitby Abbey and we needed cash. There are no ATMs or banks in Robin Hood’s Bay and there have not been any of thaws since Richmond.
It is incredible to see the detail of this enormous abbey and how much of it is still standing. Instead of destroying this one Henry had an inventory done of all of its contents and leased it to a local lord. This seemed to be a far more sensible thing to do. We did not have sunshine as we walked around the abbey but it was great just wandering around it listening to an audio set about various aspects of construction and life in the abbey and stories of saints, pilgrims and the Saxons who inhabited this space before there was an abbey. Did I mention we climbed one hundred and ninety-nine steps to get to the abbey, walked around and through it for more than an hour and descended those same steps. We did not have to count the steps. A sign warned us how many there were.
We were happy to return to quieter Robin Hood’s Bay. Some of the same school trips arrived on the sand beach from Whitby when we did. There were dozens of school trips happening.
After we lunched on cappuccino and a corned beef and potato pastie for Brian and a cheese and onion pie for me, we descended to the beach. We walked almost to the far south end of the beach, 3.75 km from our lodging. We examined rocks, looking for jet and fossils. We found a few and chatted with a pair of student paleontologists . We found a few lippet shells. No other shells to be found.
By the time we were getting an ice cream cone to walk back up our hill, Eliane was texting us her arrival. We had a happy reunion over tea at our B and B. Eliane has a room just two doors down the street. Brian did not feel like a second descent to the beach, but I accompanied Eliane on a beach tour. She did not tell me she had her bathing suit on; so, she had a swim bit I did not! I took photos to record the event. I put my wind jacket on while Eliane frolicked in the water.
We had supper at the Victoria Hotel Pub. Brian and I shared a cream of crab soup then each of us had deep fried scampi with fries, mushy peas and cold slaw. Brian had to finish mine.
We visited the cemetery and grounds of St Stephen’s Church built in 1870. We did not get to see the interior but this is a very large church with a 120 foot tower that is a distinctive landmark.
We are repacking our two bags so that each of us can carry one. Sherpavan is not taking our supply bag to Hadrian’s Wall, but most of our travel will be by bus tomorrow. We are leaving Robin Hood’s Bay before this weekend’s folk festival.