Whitby 2009 – 2

Morning Whitby
Morning Whitby

It has rained during the night and when I awoke at 6:30am the town was quiet except for the cries of the gulls. The view from the window of the river gently flowing, the boats at their moorings and the empty streets was delightful.

Scoresby monument
Scoresby monument

Half an hour later, the clouds are now rolling away and blue sky showing through. There is movement on the water and people are beginning to appear in the streets, some strolling in leisurely fashion and others hurrying as though to work.

The Scoresby monument celebrates father and son, both named William, navigators and marine inventors. William Scoresby Senior is credited with the invention of the masthead barrel lookout, or “crow’s nest”, in 1807.

Despite the price, this hotel does not provide breakfast, so we will have to look for a cafe or buy something to take with us as we go.

Beach donkeys, Scarborough
Beach donkeys, Scarborough

No cafes were open before our bus departed at 8:30. The bus carried us across beautiful countryside for an hour or so until we reached Scarborough. As we travelled, the clouds gathered again and we stepped out of the bus into rain.

Rendezvous Cafe
Rendezvous Cafe

On a brighter note, there was an open cafe, called Rendezvous, just across the road. Breakfast at last! I had a rather strange cheese omelette. It had white and yellow zones in it as if it had started life as fried eggs that had become amalgamated.

The weather became overcast, rainy and sunny by turns. In all conditions, Scarborough impresses me. There are panoramic views of beach and coast and a number of impressive buildings and structures such as the viaduct.

I was greatly taken by the Grand Hotel (built 1892), a once magnificent building that today provides apartments for the gulls in which to rear their young. Once the largest hotel in Europe, this grandiloquent expression of Victorian optimism and panache, has fallen upon hard times. It is being stripped and one can only speculate on what its future will be.

Grand Hotel Grand Hotel
The Magnificent Grand Hotel

The huge edifice, solidly planted on its cliff, and visible from every point along this part of the seafront, continually catches the eye and elicits admiration. I took many photographs of it because every angle presents a new aspect.

The harbour
The harbour

The beach attracts surfers, bathers and other beach lovers. It has a gently sloping floor, acres of sand and donkey rides. On the promenade are the usual props to the modern seaside holiday from cafes and pubs through shops selling ice cream and beach balls to the garishly illuminated amusement arcades.

We were able only to scratch the surface of Scarborough but it impressed us and has a lot to offer. Here is a small selection.

Hen parties...
Scarborough has… hen parties…
A lighthouse...
a lighthouse…
nesting kittiwakes...
nesting kittiwakes…
...and religious nutters
and religious nutters

We reached Whitby about 5:30 and visited the dock near the Grand Turk replica ship and took some photos of our corner of Whitby from a different angle.

When we got back to our hotel room, the swing bridge opened and I got a chance to take a few photos of this, having missed previous openings. The windows in our room are stiff and do not open completely and this restricts the field of view somewhat.

The bridge opens
The bridge opens

We made tea and sat at the window enjoying the view. Where shall we have dinner tonight: at one of the two remaining Indian restaurants or the nearby Italian?


We have come to know a pair of herring gulls among those who frequent this corner. The male has a deformed right leg on which he never stands or walks. Although he sometimes loses balance momentarily, he is adept at landing and perching on one leg.

The bad leg
The bad leg

When I first saw him I thought he must be severely disadvantaged and wouldn’t live very long but in fact he appears fit and healthy otherwise and even chases some of the other gulls, implying that he has a defined place in the local hierarchy which he can defend.

He also has a mate and they are often seen together relaxing on the wooden walkway below our window. I have named him Long John, or L J for short.

I have seen L J scratch himself with the bad leg and I have seen him touch down on water but only briefly, so I don’t know whether he can propel himself across the water by paddling with his feet.

For our evening meal we decided on Moutrey’s Italian restaurant around the corner from our hotel in the intriguing Grape Lane, filled with equally intriguing little shops. Moutrey’s of course has a well filled wine list but we chose Yorkshire tea with lemon. How sophisticated is that?

Moutrey's Italian restaurant
Moutrey’s Italian restaurant

We both rated the food “excellent”, especially as the portions were not small. When we asked for hot water to top up the teapot this was readily provided and throughout, the service was polite, friendly and attentive. I haven’t given out any SilverTiger visiting cards for quite a while but I was happy to do so in this instance. If we can fit in another visit to Moutrey’s we will do so and perhaps sample their desserts.

After dinner, we went for what was intended to be a short walk but turned into a long one. We crossed the swing bridge and turned right along St Anne’s Staithe, where we had not yet ventured.

The Quay
The Quay

The daylight was fading fast and the electric lights were coming on, creating magical scenes that begged to be photographed. We continued walking and eventually came to the pier and decided to walk as far as the lighthouse, drawn onwards by the changing evening light in the sky and on the sea.

The eternal sea
The eternal sea

At last we did turn back and retrace our steps to the hotel where we relaxed and made tea.

At has been a long day but a good one. Let’s hope our other days are as good.

Notes on names

Whitby is thought to derive from the name of a man who owned a farm thereabouts, in a phrase meaning “Hviti’s farm”.

Scarborough was once the stronghold (borg) of a Norwegian called Skarthi.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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