Scarborough Castle is an impressive medieval fortress in a stunning location overlooking the town from high up on the cliffs. Given it’s setting, it rather reminded me of Chinon Castle in the Loire region of France.
We walked across the town from the museum and climbed up the hill to enter through the fortified gatehouse. The castle is under the stewardship of English Heritage so we were able to enter without paying the entrance fee on the day.
There’s evidence of human habitation on the promentry from pre-historic times and the Romans were here – they built a signal station on the cliffs. The first castle on the site was built in the 12th Century. It becam a Crown property during the reign of Henry II and over time was expanded to become a major fortress. It was beseiged, and badly damaged, during the Civil War, although, due to it’s strategic position on the coast, a garrison was kept here until the 19th century. Although a ruin today, there are substantial remains to explore and it’s location presents good views over the coast and town.
The remains of the fortifications are along the south of the headland, facing the old town. During medieval times the cliffs to the north would have been pretty much impregnable.
We walked past the Inner Bailey and bought a coffee from the kiosk next to the Master Gunner’s House – a later building. We then decided to walk along the top of the cliffsto take in the views before exploring the walls from the east side.
About half way along the cliffs there’s the site of a Roman signal station, one of a chain of structures built along the north east coast. There’s little in the way of physical remains of the Roman structure. A chapel was built on the site near a “holy” well, in about 1000 AD which was extended over the next few centuries and the visible stonework are the remains of this building.
At the end of the headland we reached the eastern end of the castle walls. They’re still quite substantial.
There’s remains of several towers and rooms incorporated with the curtain walls and ruins of other structures inside the Outer Bailey.
We made our way to the Inner Bailey with it’s rectangular keep known as the Great Tower.
There’s a viewing platform here that provides god views over the town, harbour and south bay.
The Thursday of our holiday we drove over to Scarborough. As far as I can remember I’d never been there before (although I’d been to Filey and Bridlington, a little further down the course, in the distant past). But Scarborough is the largest resort on the North Yorkshire coast. It’s been a popular destination since the 17th Century, originally as a Spa resort, but it really took off after the opening of the Scarborough–York railway in 1845, which brought in workers from the Yorkshire mill towns. The town goes back much further, though, as demonstrated by the impressive remains of a medieval castle on the hill overlooking the town. The Romans were certainly here and it’s likely that the town was founded by the Vikings. It’s built around two bays, separated by the hill that’s topped by the castle. The Marine Drive now goes round the end of the cliffs, linking the 2 bays, but this hasn’t always been the case.
There’s plenty of parking – not free, mind – and we parked up on the Marine Drive on the north bay. We walked round to the south bay, the site of the original medieval old town, and the attractive harbour.
After exploring the harbour we walked along hte prom on the south bay which is typical of a British seaside resort with the usual tacky amusment arcades and shops selling trinkets, with the odours of fish and chips, greasy fry ups and do-nuts constantly present. We carried on, climbing up through the gardens before the Grand Hotel, to the top road where there was a good view over the bay to the castle.
The Grand Hotel was opened in 1867, when it was the largest hotel and the largest brick structure in Europe. It’s a Grade II* listed building. Today it’s owned by Britannia Hotels and so, like all their other hotels, it’s best avoided.
We’d decided to visit the small museum so made our way past the Grand Hotel
walking the short distance to the Georgian Rotunda building where it’s located.
The mseum has small, but interesting, collection – mainly concentrating on fassils and the geology of the area.
The exhibits in the drum of the building are displayed in a way that probably hasn’t changed much since it was founded.
We spent about an hour in the museum and then headed across the town towards the castle – and that deserves a post of it’s own. We also wanted to visit a celebrity in the old churchyard – you’ll have to wait to see whao that is (or perhaps you can make a guess!).
There was more to see in Scarborough, but our time there was limited. I’d have liked to have walked round to the old Spa building and the funicular railway and also spent some time walking along the norrth bay. It’s certainly worth another visit if we’re over that way again.
The forecast for Tuesday predicted that after a reasonable start it would be a wet and windy afternoon. I was up early (as usual!) and decided to get out for a bracing walk along the cliffs to the south of Whitby before the weather changed. I managed to persuade my son to acompany me, be he soon lost his enthusiasm and turned back half way through the walk.
We crossed over to the East Cliff and climbed up the 199 Steps circumnavigating the graveyard with views over the sea and towards the Abbey ruins.
We joined the coastal path, which is part of the Cleveland Way route, and which would take us along the cliffs
There were other people walking along the path, probably making their way to Robin Hood’s Bay. That wasn’t my plan. I’d walked from Robin Hood’s Bay back to Whitby last time we stayed here. I could have carried on walking the route in reverse this time but I’d decided to turn around at the lighthouse, which is about a third of the way to Robin Hood’s Bay and retrace my steps and get back to Whitby before the rain came in. I actually think the best views are gained walking towards Whitby.
Here’s some photos I shot from the top of the cliffs – some taken going out and some coming back.
I turned around just after the lighthouse and headed back along the path towards Whitby. On the way I decided to divert down the cliffs to Saltwick bay. The tide was receding revealling a good stretch of fine sand.
The last time we holidayed in Whitby we’d been fossiling here and without making any real effort I picked up a couple of pieces of ammonite and could see fragments of fossils in some of the larger rocks.
Returning to the cliff top path, with the tide going out remains of a wrecked boat were revealed
It didn’t take me long to get back to Whitby. I called into the bookshop (I just couldn’t help myself) and made a purchase and stopped off at a couple of shops to purchase some supplies. The cloud had been coming in during my walk and it started to rain quite heavily, but fortunately I wasn’t far from the cottage.
I spent the afternoon taking it easy and catching up on some reading, drinking tea and eating cake! But in the evening we’d booked a table in the Magpie cafe on the harbour which is renowned for it’s fish and chips and other seafood. Last time we were here it was closed as there had been a fire, but it had been renovated since then. It’s very popular and although we’d booked a few days in advance could only get a table fairly late in the evening.
We had a very enjoyable meal.
After eating the rain had eased off so we walked along the harbour, climbed up to the Whale bone arch and made our way back to our cottage
Monday morning during our holiday in Whitby was rather gloomy. But after breakfast, while everyone else was taking it easy in the cottage, I decided to go out for a wander over to the east side of the harbour.
After crossing the bridge I turned down Church Street and where I found myself irresistibly drawn into the rather good independent bookshop, The Whitby Bookshop. After a good browse I carried on down Church Street before turning down Henrietta Street which leads to the harbour piers. I passed the smokehouse, but decided against purchasing any kippers. I’m very fond of the smoked herring but didn’t want to stink out the cottage!
I reached the harbour and walked onto the walls
Taking care to avoid being blown off the wall by the strong wind, I snapped a few photos of the town under the moody sky.
I set off back towards the cottage,
Picking up a few supplies on the way.
After dinner, it had brightened up so leaving our daughter behind to catch up on some work for her course, the rest of us decided to walk over to the east side of the town to have a mooch in the shops and take a few photos under a sunnier sky
After the walk with my son along to Sandsend and back, during the afternoon all four of us headed through Whitby, over to the East Cliff and then up the 199 steps to visit the ruins of the Abbey. Perched on top of the cliffs above the town and next to the old Parish Church, even on a fine day it has rather a “spooky” atmosphere, especially when viewed across the graveyard as in the picture above! No wonder Bram Stoker used this as a location for the early part of Dracula.
We’d all been into the abbey during our previous visit to Whitby, but it was certainly worth another visit – although you can much of the structure from outside the walls without paying the entry fee, we’re all either members of English Heritage or Cadw (the Welsh equivalent) so we got free entry and were able to get a closer view.
The current Abbey wasn’t the first one on the site. The original Anglo Saxon builing was founded St Hild when Whitby was part of the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, way back in the 7th Century when the the town was known as Streaneshalch and is the liklely location of an important gathering of the clergy, known as the Synod of Whitby, which established the dominance of the Roman Church over the Celtic tradition in the kingdom of Northumbria. The Anglo Saxon building was destroyed following the Viking raids in the 9th Century. The site was then deserted for a couple of hundred years until after the Norman invasion when a new Romanesque Benedictine Abbey was founded in 1078. This wasreplaced by the current Gothic structure constructed over a protracted period between the 13th and 15th Centuries. The Abbey was closed by Henry VIII in 1540 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and it gradually fell into ruin – no doubt used as a “quarry” by the locals.
There’s a long stretch of sandy beach to the north of Whitby. At the other end, nestling underneath the cliffs, is the small village appropriatly named Sandsend. It was originally a fishing village, then a home for workers in the alum extraction industry. Today it’s a tourist resort and, apparently, the most expensive place to buy a property on this stretch of the coast!
On the Sunday morning of our holiday in Whitby, as the tide was going out, I set out with my son to walk the 3 miles to the village. It was a fine morning and although there was a bank of cloud hovering over Whitby, we were in the sunshine as we headed north.
We were walking towards the cloud now, but it was clearing and we were in the sunshine most of the way back to Whitby
A little further on we turned off the cliff top path back down towards Skinner Street and our holiday cottage.
We’re just back from an enjoyable family holiday in the historic seaside town of Whitby. This was our second visit having had a holiday there in July 2017.
The town developed following the establishment of an Anglo Saxon monastery high up on the East Cliff in 656 by Oswy, the Christian king of Northumbria. It’s in a narrow valley at the mouth of the River Esk, flanked by tall cliffs. The original settlement was at the bottom of the cliffs on the east side of the river, eventually spreading over to the west bank. It’s location means that it’s a maze of steep, narrow streets and ginnels – not the easiest of places to drive around!
Until relatively recently it was very much an industrial town with alum quarries on nearby cliffs and shipbuilding was a major industry – it’s hard to believe that in the 18th century it was the third largest shipbuilding port in England. Not surprisingly it was a fishing port and in the mid 18th century it also became a centre for whaling. Whitby developed as a spa town in Georgian times and tourism really took off in the mid 19th Century with the arrival of the railway, leading to the development on top of the West Cliff.
Bram Stoker stayed in Whitby and it inspired him to write his novel, Dracula, which started with the Dementer, the ship carrying Dracula running aground, its crew missing, its dead skipper lashed to the wheel was wrecked on Tate Hill Sands, below the East Cliff (his inspiration for this was the beaching of a Russian ship, the Dmitry, on the sands in 1885). One of the novel’s characters, and Dracula’s victim, Lucy Westenra, was attacked by the Count in St Mary’s Churchyard, the Parish Church that stands in the shadow of the Abbey.
We had a relatively easy week, spending our time wandering around the streets, cliffs and beaches with only one trip out to Scarborough. We didn’t spot any vampires, fortunately!
Here’s a few snaps that I took around the town during our stay, starting with a few views of the East Cliff from the harbour and West Cliff
There’s a fine beach to the west of the town stretching a couple of miles to the small hamlet of Sandsend
The second day of my mini break in Coniston I’d decided on a lower level walk. I checked out of the hostel at about 9 and walked the short distance to Shepherd’s Bridge to set off down Yewdale. It was a gey start to the day, with low cloud up on the high fells, but the weather forecast looked promising for later in the day.
The walk down this very scenic valley is one of my favourite low level walks taking me through pleasant fields and woodland with good views over to the fells to the north.
I turned down towards Yew Tree Farm. Owned by the national Trust the farm featured in the film Miss Potterabout Beatrix Potter starring Renée Zellweger. In the film it stood in for Hill Cottage where the author lived, but, although she owned the farm, she never actually lived there. The current tennants sell their Herdwick Hogget (young sheep between 1-2 years old) and Belted Galloway beef. They’ve been on TV a few times recently (including Countryfile on the BBC) – a good advert for their business I bet! We’ve bought their meat several times via the internet and I have to saya that we all think that their “Beltie Burgers” are the best burgers we’ve ever eaten.
Here’s some of their Herdies!
I took the path behind the farm and began the climb up Holme Fell
It’s not one of the bigger fells – just over 1000 feet – but it was a sharp, steep ascent.
but there are great views from the top. It was still grey and overcast but there were still 360 degree views
There was some peeking out over Wetherlam
Holme Fell is probably one of the best viewpoints for looking over Coniston Water
I stopped for a while, taking in the view and trating myself to a snack and then I started to make my way down the other side of the fell. This is the second time I’ve been up here but I still haven’t worked out the best way down. The path I took metered out and whichever way down I’ve taken inevitably results in some bog hopping.
This used to be slate quarrying country and there was plenty of evidence of the industry between the fell and Little Langdale.
My route followed a track that eventually headed east, over High Oxen fell (which isn’t very high!) back towards the Ambleside to Coniston road. The views over to the fells from this road was outstanding, especially as the cloud was clearing and the sun beginning to appear.
Reaching the main road I crossed over and took the track following the Cumbria Way towards Tarn Hows
I had considered walking over to Black Fell – another small fell that’s a great viewpoint – but decided against it for two reasons. My knee was starting to give me a bit of trouble and I was also keeping my eye on time as I had to catch the bus from Coniston back to Windermere at 4:30 to make sure I connected with my train back home. So I carried on following the Cumbria Way to Tarn Hows where I stopped for a bite to eat.
I deviated from the Cumbria Way following the western side of the tarn with the extensive views over to the Coniston Fells
At the end of the Tarn I followed the metaled track back towards Yewdale. The weather had really changed now with plenty of sunshine, and it was getting warm.
Carrying on down Yewdale Coniston Water came into view
Reaching Shepherd’s Bridge on the edge of Coniston, I had a couple of hours before my bus was due so I decided to walk over to the lake
On a sunny afternoon there were a lot of people enjoying themselves out on the lake
Time for a brew and a slice of cake in the lakeside cafe!
After enjoying people watching for a while by the lake, I headed back towards the village
had a mooch around and then joined the group of people waiting for the bus back to Windermere. It was running late but I had a chat with a couple of liverpudlians who were heading back to Bowness via Ambleside.
I arrived back in Windermere an hour before my train was due (I’d bought an advance ticket for the last direct train) so bought a few supplies from Booth’s supermarket and then sat and ate my purchases on the platform. The direct train ended up not being so direct. It was due to terminate at Manchester Airport but signalling problems (had somebody been nicking the copper cable again?) meant it would now terminate at Preston. Luckily it was only a short wait there before I was able to find a connection which got me back to Wigan only 15 minutes later than originally scheduled.
I’d had a good couple of days in Coniston and despite the slight delay on my way home using public transport was a welcome change from sitting in traffic. I’d have liked to stay another night given the fine weather, but I had a meeting the next day. September’s going to be busy, but I have a family holiday to look forward to at the end of the month
When does summer end and autumn begin? Well for me, the August Bank Holiday signals the start of the transition between the seasons. September is the end of the school holidays and the prospect of a busy time at work is on the horizon. So the Bank Holiday weekend is the last shout of summer, but also a time when everywhere is busy, the motorways are jammed and half the rail network is shut down due to engineering works. So definitely not a time to be heading out. This year, though, I managed to extend the Bank Holiday by a couple of days and book a place in the Youth Hostel in Coniston. So on the Tuesday, when most people were back in work I took the direct train to Windermere and then caught the bus (an entertaining ride between Ambleside and Coniston on little wiggly roads encountering cars – how the driver didn’t hit them I’ll never know!). It took longer than it would if I’d driven, but I enjoyed being able to look out of the window and appreciate the scenery for once.
I arrived in Coniston about 12:30 and set out on the walk I’d planned, by passing the Old Man and heading up Dow Crag. The village was busy but I was soon away from the crowds, setting up across the fields that would take me up to the Walna Scar Road. I had thought I might follow the shore of Coniston Water down to Torver and cut up from there, a route I’d fancied trying for a little while, but I wanted to get to the hostel around 6 o’clock and I reckoned that would take me a little too long to achieve that objective.
and back down to Coniston Water
Reaching the old track, about a mile after the quarry car park, I carried on climbing gradually and the Dow Crag ridge with Brown Pike and Buck Pike came into view .
I turned off a short distance before the Torver Bridge taking the path towards Goat’s Water and Goat’s Hawse. As I climbed the path, i started to encounter people coming down the path. A popular return leg from Coniston Old Man for those who park up at the Walna Scar Road quarry car park.
I eventually reached the foot of Goat’s Water with Dow Crag, a mighty wall of rock, popular with rock climbers, looming over the tarn.
It’s a tricky walk along the shore of the tarn, over the boulders. The ascent up to the Hawse started at the top of the tarn.
Looking back to Goat’s Water from the top of the Hawse
over to Dow Crag
and over to the north west I could see the Scafells, although the summit of the Pike was obscured by cloud
Looking over to Swirl How and Grey Friar
and looking to the east, there’s the Old Man
It was a grey afternoon and I could see rain falling over to the east and also over the Scafells. I was keeping my fingers crossed it wouldn’t blow over and although there were a few drops, it never really started to rain over my chosen route.
I stopped for a short while for a bite to eat and then started my climb up towards Dow Crag
Dow crag is the first of three summits on a ridge to the west of Goat’s Water. It consists of steep, rocky crags that plummet down to the bottom of the valley, the west side is a much gentler slope. It’s a much quieter along this ridge than on the old Man. There was a couple taking the same route but that was it, although I saw a walker and three mountain bikers coming the other way after I’d reached Brown Pike.
Approaching the rocky summit of Dow Crag
Looking back to Swirl How and Grey Friar
and across to the Old Man.
Getting over the summit of Dow Crag is a bit tricky but it’s easy walking after that.
A good view down to Coniston Water opened up. Definitely some rain falling over that way
After the summit I passed the steep gullies beloved of “crag rats”. They’d be a quick way down but that’s not exactly advisable!
I couldn’t help keep looking back towards the Scafells
The next summit along the ridge was Buck Pike. After crossing over the summit I could see down to Blind Tarn. It got its name as it has no apparent inflow or outflow
As usual, there were quite a few Herdies up on the fell
The summit of Brown Pike where I met another walker tackling the ridge from the opposite direction
Starting my descent down Brown Pike, the last of the three summits
I was soon back on the Walna Scar Road heading down towards Coniston
There’s the Torver Bridge
Carrying on I eventually reached the Walna Scar Quarry car park. They’d done it up a bit since the last time I was there and had started charging. A lot of people start their ascent of the Old Man from here, where they’re already getting on for 200 metres above the lake saving some climbing.
This was the view over to the fells.
After the car park I was walking on tarmac for a while, before taking a path down towards MIner’s Bridge at the bottom end of Copper MIne Valley.
After crossing over the Miner’s Bridge, I followed the track down towards Coniston
and then took the path along Yewdale, passing the hostel and then doubling back to check in. It was about 6;30 pm, only a little later than planned.
This time I’d reserved one of their land pods – a kind of cross between a pod and a tent. I think they look like some sort of alien spaceship – but I didn’t end up getting abducted!
Last Thursday it was too nice to stay stuck indoors staring at a computer screen so I decided to drive over to White Coppice and get up on the moors. My recent foray onto the Kinder Plateau had reminded me of the wild West Lancashire Pennine moors – although Kinder is higher and has more Millstone grit outcrops and rock formations, it’s very similar. I’d grown up trampling on these moors and always enjoy being up there, whatever the weather. But Thursday was a sunny day and less likely to be a quagmire underfoot!
I expected there would be quite a few people tramping up the main path up Great Hill from the hamlet so I decided on a less frequented route, up the clough (pronounced cluff), the narrow valley in the hillside, and along the Black Brook. As the water level was relatively low, followed the brook rather than the easier path a little above the water, which involved some easy scrambling, but a little more challenging than normal!
The lower sections of the brook show the influence of humans. This was an industrial landscape at one time – stone quarrying and mining for lead – and there’s still plenty of evidence of it’s history as you follow the brook.
There’s an entrance to an old lead mine in the side of the hill
After a while the valley starts to level off
and the summit of Great Hill becomes visible across the heather and bracken.
I left the clough and followed the path that took me up on tot he main path up towards the summit.
Passin the ruined farm of Drinkwaters
This is probably one of my favourite views – it brings back so many memories of walks up here when I was a teenager.
Carrying on up to the summit
It was a bright sunny day but long range visibility was poor. A pity as it’s an excellent viewpoint on a good day with views in every direction. There’s Darwen tower and Pendle Hill. I could just make out the Lake District Mountains, Ingleborough and the Snowdonia range in the murk but they wouldn’t come out in my photos.
After a short break in the shelter I descended down the flaged path
and then at the bottom of the hill took the path heading westwards.
Approaching the ruins of Great Hill farm. You don’t see many people on this path, but there’s usually plenty of sheep!
Looking across the moor – there’s Round Loaf to the far left – which is covered with heather, although the colours haven’t come across well in the photo.
A closer view of the purple heather in bloom
After Drinkwaters, at the fork, I took the path over Wheelton Moor towards Brinscall. It’s flat level path which I think was originally constructed to allow access to the moor for grouse shooting.
They don’t do that up here any more (a good thing too), but there is clear evidence that it used to take place. Here’s an old, disused shooting butt, there’s several along the side of the track
Carrying on, looking over the moor I could just make out the distinctive shape of Pendle Hill in the distance
I descended down the narrow road towards Brinscall
but before the bottom took the left turning down the path through Wheelton Plantations.
I then followed the path along the Goyt back to White Coppice