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Whitby, or ‘I do like to be beside the seaside…’

August 23, 2010

Hello dear readers and thank you for your patience.

I’d love to tell you that our quiet spell is due to being off sunning ourselves on some golden beach somewhere, but as it happens, I and my colleagues here at LS have spent most of our time recently in Sheffield. I can only speak for myself when I say that my silence is more due to attempts (failures) to save money and a complete exhaustion, coupled with distaste for the weather recently.

So I decided to get off my bottom and go for a weekend jaunt. I’m lucky enough to still have a job at the moment, but am aware of how precarious that is at the moment in the public sector so am keeping fingers and toes generally crossed. As such, I had a bit of spare cash to spend a night in Whitby this weekend, which was Regatta weekend and the start of Whitby Folk Week.

Sheffield types, it seems, are big fans of Whitby so I thought I’d give you a rundown of my weekend as a virtual Love Sheffield day trip.

In previous years I’ve been spending the whole week at Folk Week, but this year I decided to save my annual leave for elsewhere and give it a miss, making a snap decision to go for the weekend yesterday morning. As you may know, I’m a bit of a folkie so it’s a case of ‘go for the tunes, stay for the ales’.  As a folkie, the fact that it was regatta weekend irritated me. This is a standard ailment – it’s well known that Regatta folk and Folk folk like lager and ale respectively, and never the twain shall meet. There are even separate pubs frequented by the two crowds over the weekend. Luckily, Whitby has plenty of them to go round. I can’t think of a pub in central Whitby I haven’t been to.

I’m getting slightly ahead of myself, as on the drive over (you must drive or take the bus from York in August. The Moors at this time of year are breathtaking with purple heather as far as the eye can see.) we stopped to roll in the heather.

It was great. Like being in a shampoo advert.

So onwards to Whitby, we noted that brilliant feeling that you get when you see the sea creeping over the horizon for the first time. For British people this happens less often that you might expect…for Americans (for example), Sheffield could be classed as being ‘near the coast’ due to it being less than a two hour drive to the sea, in spite of it being slap bang in the centre of the country. In spite of that, our island mentality definitely means it’s still an ‘event’ to make that two hour drive, and the sea seems awfully far away to most middle-land folk.

Being the folkies that we are, and Whitby being small as it is, we must have spotted almost ten people we knew wandering around just as we were looking for a parking space. Then we headed on to the Sports Centre to meet up with our hard working friends at Orb Music and Hobgoblin.

Later on, it was time for some tunes at The Station, one of our favourite places for a late night get together (open until 2 during folk week), and then on to The Ship to meet some friends. Where The Station has guest ales and nice wooden floors, The Ship has Carlsberg and a carpet that smelled like sewage. In spite of this it’s extremely popular with the Irish music set (different pubs in Whitby tend to attract different crowds – try The Resolution late at night if you like folk songs), but not with us, so we headed to the great Mister Chips for tea. The chips are cooked in vegetable oil which is one of the reasons why I prefer this place (after all, who wants their chips to taste of beef fat? Yuck), and the scampi I had was definitely worth the wait. Mushy peas were a disappointment though, which is a shame.

We wandered around a number of pubs looking for somewhere to play music without a)intruding on other sessions or b)irritating Regatta folk. We went to The Station, which was not very good, The Board, which was too full, and headed to The Endeavour, which was just right. There were some people singing but they didn’t seem to mind us coming and playing, and we spent the rest of the evening playing Scottish, Swedish, Irish, English and French tunes into the night.

I stayed with a lovely friend of mine who lives right in the old town in Whitby, to my surprise as I thought that everywhere there had been turned into holiday let cottages! When we eventually emerged this morning, it was a bright, hot, sunny day – a miracle in Whitby – and so we went off to do some tourist type things.

First we had a great veggie breakfast in a little place called Bino’s. The food was lovely, the place was…well…just a little odd. It described itself as a Bistro, but it was a very odd amalgamation of things. The prices were pretty high, and in spite of that, our tea came with those little plastic packets of UHT milk which is honestly inexcusable in a place like this, especially when it looks like they have an espresso machine so must be using fresh milk in the frother! Also, for a bistro their menu was a strange combination of fish and chips, burgers, and other things – not so bistro-y. Lastly, they advertised a cocktail menu for the evenings, the blurb on which was written in the strangest way (something like ‘a special cocktail drink handmade just for you in a special glass!’ – well, yeah…), and included things like Screwdriver and Fuzzy Navel – both are just vodka or schnapps mixed with orange juice – that’s not really a cocktail! It didn’t fill me with confidence, I think they’re taking the piss.

Anyway, the mushrooms were really nice.

Then, I decided to take a series of pictures of some of the things that remind of Whitby.

Boats holding up the bridge, and sailing out to sea.

The fortune teller's hut that's been there for as long as I can remember.

Nutcases swimming in the freezing water in the North Sea inlet.

The fishing quay - where the best scampi and kippers in the world come from!

Crabs priced by size and weight at one of the many fresh seafood stalls on the seafront.

Trillos of Whitby Ice Cream with their classic vintage van. On the front it says 'with free Dracula blood'. Check out an interesting history of the Trillo family by clicking on the picture.

My sister and a friend before going for a swim.

Chiltern Hundreds North West Morris dancing at the Whalebones.

Captain Cook and The Abbey, all in one shot. The crowd watching Morris up on the West Cliff.

And so, eventually, I trundled home on the 840 bus to York and then a train. The bus journey is highly recommended over the other route to Whitby – a train to Scarborough and then a bus. The buses that do the York route are very new and comfortable, and the route runs right through the North York Moors, and Goathland (where Heartbeat is set) so aside from the rollercoaster-like inclines, it’s a nice trip. Are there always so many sheep in Goathland, by the way? They were just sort of hanging out on grassy verges in the middle of the town. It’s very odd. Is that a tourist thing or do they just wander into town of their own accord?

Other things of note – Whitby charity shops – I picked up a tweed Zara cropped jacket for £6, and a lovely heart print River Island blouse for £4. I must go to charity shops more often…just now how do I get rid of that charity shop smell?

So, I hope you indulged my little excursion, but I know it’s a place very popular with Sheffield folk.

Ciao for now.

Rosie @ LS

One Comment leave one →
  1. Carlo permalink
    August 31, 2010 9:26 am

    Nice picture of us at Whitby. Hope you liked our dancing.
    Chiltern Hundreds

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