Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Bus to Staithes and Saltburn

There is a half-hourly bus from Whitby to Middlesborough which stops just below The Porthole and rather than drive, we have decided to take the bus first to Staithes and then on to Saltburn, this is scheduled to take about 90 mins in each direction.


Staithes is a famous picturesque fishing village on the east coast of Yorkshire.

Staithes Sign

The one disadvantage for the visitor is that the village is down the bottom of a steep narrow street and there is no parking anywhere for visitors to the village other than a carpark at the top of the hill.

Staithes Street 1

So getting down to the harbour

Staithes Street 2

is easy

Staithes Street 3

and you pass numerous houses dating back to Victorian times before you get to the harbour.

Staithes Street 4

When we went, the tide was out

Staithes Harbour 1

and hence although the harbour looked rather muddy,

Staithes Harbour 2 001

had we been of a mind (and probably either considerably younger or with our grandchildren),

Staithes Rocks

we could have looked for crabs in the rock pools.

Staithes Bench

At least there is a seat at the harbour (with some rather nice art on it) to rest upon before walking back up the hill to catch the bus again.


Saltburn Map

Saltburn (a rather good website is here) by the Sea is a Victorian seaside resort which has worked hard to retain much of the original Victorian charm that attracted thousands of visitors in its heyday. We went there for lunch, to ride the Saltburn Cliff Tramway, to walk the pier and to do anything else if we had the energy (which turned out to be not much).

Saltburn Railway Station

The railway station has been lovingly restored


although the Mortuary (1881) which is down on the seaside could do with some attention. This was built to cope with the large number of bodies being washed up on the shore. Originally they were taken to the nearby pub (The Ship Inn) but so many needed storing with that they decided to build a Mortuary nearby.

Saltburn Houses

The original seaside hotels are still standing long the top of the cliffs although most are now B&Bs or flats.

Saltburn Tramway 1

Originally there was a lift which took people up and down the cliff but this was replaced by a “water balanced tramway” in the 1880’s because the lift had a habit of sticking halfway on its journey up or down.

Saltburn Tramway 2

The tramway is a superb example of Victorian engineering and has been very well restored. There is a water tank beneath the floor of each of the two tramway cabs. The tank is the cab at the top of the cliff is filled with water, when full it weighs more than the cab at the bottom (to which it is attached by a rope and pulley) and hence slides down the rail pulling the other cab up to the top. It discharges its water, the tank in the cab at the top fills and the trip is then repeated.

Saltburn Tramway 4

There is some lovely stained glass inside the cab

Saltburn Tramway 3 

and the journey is well worth the £1 each (50p for old people like us) to go up and less so to go down!

Having got down to the beach where

Beach Donkeys 001

traditional Donkey Rides were offered

Beach Donkeys

but not at Victorian prices, we walked along the pier

Cold Sea

View of town from pier

to the end from which there was a nice view of the town.

Large Fish and Chips

Lunch was an enormous plate of Fish and Chips 

Bus Home

and then the bus back to Sandsend.

We enjoyed our few days at the seaside and would happily go back again (out of season !)

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Walking from Sandsend to Whitby

When the tide is out, it is very easy and very nice to walk along the beach into Whitby which is not more than 3 miles away.

Whitby in the distance

The sand is firm and easy to walk on in either direction

The beach behind

and other than a few fellow walkers with their dogs (allowed out of the region close to Sandsend), we met no one. As we got closer to Whitby thinking about hot chocolate and a tea cake, we passed a row of Beach Huts having their Spring facelift.

Beach huts near Whitby

These can be rented from the Council (here) at weekly rents which exceed £100 per week in high season. Apparently they are very popular.

Drawing close to Whitby

As you get close to Whitby, you approach the harbour walls

Looking back tide in

from which there is a good look back to where we had come from - the tide has now come in because this was taken after Hot Chocolate and Tea Cakes (so large, we could not eat any lunch).

Whitby Harbour

The harbour is much larger than this picture because it goes a long way back 

Whitby Harbour Swing Bridge

with many boats behind a working swing bridge.

The Quayside is traditional with

Whitby Harbour 1

traditional entertainment such as this

Whitby Harbour 2

and pleasure boats taking visitors out to sea on a short voyage

Whitby Harbour 3

at very cheap prices (at least cheap at Easter).

We chose to go out on this boat for 20 minutes, although perhaps the attraction for Pat was the Pirate on the deck at the stern.

Pat and the Pirate

We sailed out of the harbour, passing

Whitby from sea

old houses and through the harbour mouth.

Crocodile Rock

They like to convince you that the rocks on one side of the harbour are in fact a fossilised crocodile. With some imagination you can believe this - note the front foot roughly in the middle of the picture and the snout on the left hand side…... 

Whitby from the sea

Looking back at the turning point of the 20 minute “voyage”, the traditional view of Whitby with the ruins on the headland is easy to see. 

Fishing Boats

If you look carefully, you can see signs of “Old Whitby” as in

Shop Side Advert

this advert on the side of a shop

Shop SIde Advert 2 

and these tiles on the side of a building advertising "Geo Thompson Dealer in Reliable Pianos and Organs Tuning and Repairing a Speciality"

As we waited at the Stop for the bus back to Sandsend, a lot of veteran cars sped through town

Car Rally

and here are two of the many we saw.

Monday, 20 April 2015

A few days at Sandsend near Whitby

Sandsend North Yorkshire

There is something special about being so close to the sea that you can hear the waves breaking, smell the sea air, walk along a sandy beach just in the water etc, particularly when you feel tired and in need of a rest. So we are spending a few days at Sandsend Cottages near Whitby and specifically the cottage known as The Porthole. It has rave reviews in TripAdvisor and even if you base your judgement on those who only find it “Very Good” (8) as against all of the others which find it “Excellent” (153 at the time of writing), it is hard to imagine that staying there will be something you would regret.

Sandsend google

Google Earth shows a long empty sandy beach with Whitby a couple of miles away at one end (right hand side of picture). The internet also indicates that a bus goes comes along the road below the cottage in both directions every 30 minutes and hence we can walk along the coast until we get tired and use our Bus Passes to come back etc. It seems to have all of the ingredients of a quiet, easy, relaxing few days off.  Hopefully it will still be out of season and we will have much of it to ourselves.

Reality is almost the same as hope (although we both suspect that during the peak holiday season, it will be heaving with people and parking will be very difficult).

The Porthole is high up on a hillside above the road and offers superb views of the bay, beach and sea. As a sample, I offer you:

View from Walkway

A view from the Porthole balcony

On the beach towards Whitby

On the beach, tide out, looking towards Whitby (south)

On the beach away from Whitby  North

On the beach, tide out, looking away from Whitby (north) 

Sandsend South

The southern end of Sandsend


Sandsend from the Beach

The Porthole from the Beach

The Porthole from the beach - the Porthole is the single storey brown building in the middle of the picture and just below the tree line, to the right of the brown house and the left of the white house.

We can confirm that the location is idyllic (probably more so out of season).

Sandsend a long beach

For children there is nothing to do except run on the beach,

Sandsend Children in sea

paddle in the very cold sea, make sandcastles, fly kites, camp, eat ice cream and behave like a child. The beach is also a “dog free zone” during the summer.