We had a perfect day for our transit from Northallerton to Scarborough – the sky was clear and the sun was bright. We thought third time lucky with the weather for Sutton Bank and were rewarded with a much more colourful view.
The drive from there over the North Yorkshire Moors was a fabulous experience – the landscape is just phenomenal. To get back to the main road north over the moor we passed by Rivaulx Abbey and decided on the spur of the moment to see it because it was a National Trust property. However it was half an hour before opening time. Some cajoling got them to agree to let us in in only ten minutes. I spent the time getting a few photos. Joan then told me she was mistaken – it was not a National Trust site. At the same time one of the attendant told we could now go it. Since we didn’t want to pay, we embarrassingly had to slink away.
While descending the moor for the first time at Claybank, a dramatic vista unfolded across a valley. Most notable was an odd-shaped hill named Roseberry Topping; the other was a monument to Captain Cook. Once we learned this we just had to go there.
On the way to the monument we passed through Great Ayrton which billed itself as Cook’s boyhood home. We had to ask for local help to point us in the direction of the road to the monument. From the car park it was a twenty minute uphill walk to the top. The obelisk monument had been donated by a Whitby notable. Even though it was the other side of the valley from Claybank, I think the view here was even better. This had been an unplanned detour, so we had to press on to our scheduled stop at Whitby. The view descending to Whitby in these fine condition was such that my supply of superlatives has run out. There are just too many good views in this land.
We had been warned that traffic and parking were difficult in Whitby town, so we were relieved to see that a new Park and Ride system was now in operation. Once in town we set about locating Joan’s must-do eatery for fish and chips – the Magpie Café. The tourist info’s help was perfunctory; we had to seek the assistance of locals. Being a popular place know on the Internet, there a queue, but the wait was less than ten minutes. The fish (cod) and chips was indeed outstanding – I have never had such tender fish before.
Next stop was the Captain Cook Museum. We discovered that he learned his trade here from a local, Captain Walker, who taught him well.
For most of the time in town we had seen the ruins of the Abbey on a hill on the south side of town. From the Magpie we had observed people ascending on the steep steps to the Abbey. We had a go – 199 steps (on the way down we used the ramp). The ruined Abbey is impressive but time did not allow us to visit it up close. Fortunately, adequate photos were obtained from without.
Back in town we caught the bus back to our car and took off heading south. Along the coast there was a pretty village called Robin Hood’s Bay that Joan wanted us to see. The interesting bit of the town is low down below the modern village, and the road is quite narrow and very very steep – a 30% grade – awesome experience. Our Korean tractor handled it with aplomb. Earlier in the day we had twice done 25% slopes – one at Sutton Bank.
I have to keep saying how enjoyable it is to drive over the moor – the road is just such fun.
After arriving at our lodgings our hosts almost insisted that we have a tea so we took them up on it even though we were in a hurry to start exploring (only here one night). They’re very likable and friendly people so it turned into a longer session. Their advice on local walks was very helpful and we followed it, walking to and along the coast (North Sands) before climbing back up into town and a pub they had recommended for dinner.