Thursday, 3 September 2015

Walking Around Whitby. . .

Whitby is a great starting point for two of my favourite walking landscapes - coast and moorland. The Cleveland Way which encompasses both, is right on its doorstep and is clearly signposted so if you have an ordinance map with you,  you'll easily be able to plan your own walks. After all, you just have to keep the sea on one side of you!

With my Mum along, we decided on a guided walking holiday with HF Holidays - a company I wholeheartedly recommend - which offers a range of walks each day. Their houses are comfortable (this is Larpool Hall, just outside Whitby), the food plentiful and the leaders and fellow walkers are an interesting and varied group of people, usually from around the world and certainly all parts of the U.K.

One of the early walks we did was from the picturesque village of Staithes, long valued by artists for its light, along the coastal path south to Sandsend.

These are the kinds of views you get once you climb up on to the cliffs. The paths can be a bit undulating, but there are also stretches where you follow an old railway line, so it's flat and easy walking.

You can also start south of Whitby, in this case from Cloughton and walk north along the Cleveland Way to the village of Robin Hood's Bay which I last visited when I finished the Coast to Coast walk three years ago.

There aren't any mountains in this part of Yorkshire, but there is the distinctive and so prettily named Roseberry Topping, which formed part of yet another walk.

Here is the view from the top.

And looking back at the descent.

We then started climbing to the opposite ridge, heading for the Captain Cook Monument which also involved walking through gorgeous moorland heather.  The end of August is the peak time to see it in full bloom and honestly, I just couldn't get enough of the perfect purpleness in every direction.

This is the Captain Cook Monument - James Cook grew up not far from here, did an apprenticeship at Staithes and all his ships were built in Whitby.

There's a statue of Cook in the tiny village of Great Ayton, where he spent his childhood, but I was drawn to this WW1 memorial in the village green. I love the crocheted medals.

But back to the heather.  This is the Hole of Horcum, the starting point for our last walk which ended up in Pickering.  This is a huge hollow, created over many years of water erosion.  Or you can believe the legend in which a giant scooped out an enormous handful of earth to throw at his wife during an argument. I'm sure she ducked.

From here we walked along Bridestones Moor.

And saw many of these weathered stone outcroppings.

Pickering is at one end of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and you can take a steam engine back to Whitby if you want.

But first, it's well worth a visit to the town's parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Inside, you'll find the most incredible medieval murals.  The colours have remained so incredibly vivid even after so many centuries.

But back to the heather. On our drive home, I asked the Liverpud to make a short detour to the village of Goathland which is the epicentre of Heatherland.  It's in a little valley and completely surrounded by purple moorland. Absolute heaven. 

You can see quite clearly why Baa Ram Ewe chose the name for this shade of their Titus 4ply.  A perfect match.

And now I really need to knit myself a sweater in this yarn!  I'll definitely be visiting their booth at Yarndale.

 Speaking of yarn, I found some lovely things in and around Whitby.  More on that soon.

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