Sunday morning we woke up in a bed and breakfast called the Grosvenor in the romantic, seaside Yorkshire village of Robin Hood’s Bay, the situation of which is truly superb, nestled as it is on the side of a cliff near the sea.
Just after sunrise and before eating pretty close to the full English breakfast (i.e., save for blood pudding, which I couldn’t muster the courage for), I took a few snaps of the village and Ravenscar Cliffs, located just a few miles to the south. Though I got some great pictures, the North Sea maritime climate here is unpredictable, and I was caught in a rain shower and got pretty wet. When I returned to the Grosvenor for breakfast, seeing my wet coat an amused native quipped, “Welcome to Yorkshire!”
It was then off to nearby Whitby, which is just as beautiful as Robin Hood’s Bay, though quite a bit larger. This town is known for its ruined abbey, which I found absolutely enthralling, as well as for its associations with Captain James Cook, one of the great navigators and explorers of the 18th century, and Bram Stoker’s immortal Dracula.
Greensboro Public Library’s holdings include recent books on both Capt. Cook and Bram Stoker: Sea of Dangers: Captain Cook and His Rivals in the South Pacific by Geoffrey Blainey (2009); and Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A Documentary Journey into Vampire Country and the Dracula Phenomenon, edited by Elizabeth Miller (2009).
And, if you’re interested in the breathtaking Yorkshire coast like me, the library has James Herriot’s Yorkshire. Better know for his All Creatures Great and Small, a collection of delightful stories about Herriot’s experiences as a veterinarian in North Yorkshire, the former volume is a guided tour to this lovely region, which Herriot knew as well as just about anybody. James Herriot’s Yorkshire is especially rich in information on Whitby.
After Whitby, we headed for York to see York Minster Cathedral and walk what remains of the ancient city walls. It was Sunday and the streets of York were bustling with tourists and visitors. Though time and hunger pangs did not permit a tour of the Cathedral, it was, needless to say, absolutely gorgeous.
We also enjoyed walking through “the Shambles,” a street of ancient buildings (some as early as 14th century) once known for its butcher shops, and nearby stumbled upon an antiquarian bookshop where I was able to purchase a mid-19th century engraving of Robin Hood’s Bay. From there, we made our way to an excellent tea room where we drank Earl Grey, and I had a jacket potato topped with delicious chili-con-carne.
By early evening we were comfortably ensconced in Gareth and Heidi’s home back in Haslingden, Lancashire. Gareth made a fire, and we dined on beef pies and mushy peas from the local “chippy.”
The next day was a wash day, though later in the afternoon Gareth and Heidi took me to the town of Ramsbottom, where I enjoyed sorting through a bucket of old English pennies, chiefly minted during the reigns of George V (1910-1936) and George VI (1937-1952) and bought a few to take back home as souvenirs.