cliff tops

Looking up, looking down- in Whitby!

Looking down on Saltwick Nab

Looking down on Saltwick Nab

The cliff tops at Whitby are a great place from which to look down.  Can you see those two tiny specks of people way out in the bay? The tide was as low as I’ve ever seen it, and I think that they might have been seeking fossils, normally hidden beneath the waves.

The Nab is beautiful

The Nab is beautiful as the light catches the hump of its back

Click on a photo to open the gallery

What stories these rocks might tell

What stories these rocks could tell

As we approach the outstretched arms of the pier at Whitby

As we approach the outstretched arms of the pier at Whitby

Stories of shipwrecks

Stories of shipwrecks

And pirates!

And of pirates!

At the bottom of Whitby’s 199 steps (I never remember to count) W. Hamond is Whitby’s original jet shop, established in 1860.  The jewellery looks fabulous, and nowadays there’s a tea shop, if you don’t mind a few more steps.  Or there’s always icecream!  For once I had a project in mind as I was walking around.  As I paused to look up at some cherubs on the HSBC building, an elderly gentlemen grasped me by the arm.  ‘You should come inside’ he said, leading me firmly through the heavy doorway.  The old carved wood was highly polished and beautiful (and the bank clerks totally ignored me), but the ceiling was the surprise.   Who would have thought?

Click on a photo for a closer look

And the project I had in mind?  Joining lovely Debbie on Travel with Intent.  She spends her Thursdays looking up and looking down. This week she has some wonderful photos of the Forth Rail Bridge, and it’s week 96 of the challenge.  What are you waiting for?

So let's finish with a look up at the abbey

Let’s just finish with a look up at the Abbey

And down those steps!

And down those steps!


Six word Saturday


A Bench challenge and an orchid

A gentle day on the north east coast of England

A gentle day, on the north east coast of England.   My friends and I amble along, in search of a bench where we can sit for a while, admiring the view.

A good-looking bench but facing the wrong way

A good-looking bench, but facing the wrong way

This one might just be perfection

Ah, here it is!  Spotlit so we can’t miss it

It’s not a perfect day, but pleasant, in a very English way.  The kind of day when it’s good to be on a cliff top bench, gazing out to sea.  After a while we ease ourselves up and carry on.

The posts frame the bay beautifully

These posts frame the bay beautifully

At this time of year small orchids radiate out from the grass.  Careful not to tread on them, I kneel down for a closer look.  Pretty, aren’t they?

I'm astonished at the colour!

I’m astonished at the colour!

When our walk is done I carry on down to the small marina at Seaham, looking for a sheltered spot where I can read.  There must be a bench or two?


This one might do- no back rest, though

But this one's much more fun, though maybe not so comfortable

This one’s much more fun, but maybe not very comfortable!

Careful not to upset Judge Jude by breaking any rules, I’ve been quite subtle with my post processing of Benches.  But I just had to give Lunapic one more whirl.  What do you think?  All of the images except for the last one were done in Ulead Photo Express, in quite an old version.

It’s Saturday again so it must be time to find your six words.  Pop along and share them with Cate at Show My Face.  Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday for a walk.


Jo’s Monday walk : Algar Seco

Algar Seco

Algar Seco

Going back to places isn’t always such a good idea, but in this instance it definitely paid off.  It must be 10 years since I first set foot in Carvoeiro. The location, possessively hugging a small cove, fishing boats pulled up on shore for safety, was always idyllic.  Unfortunately too many people had discovered its charms.  Parking was something of a nightmare, and the overall impression was definitely ‘tacky’.

I’m not one to give up on a place so easily, and I felt I owed it a second chance.  As it happened, it provided the perfect location for my November birthday.  Crowds weren’t an issue and some of the parking problems appeared to have been solved.  The ‘tacky’ aspect is still there, but  the spectacular scenery of the surrounding coast is justifiably a magnet.  ‘High end’ villas and smart restaurants have moved in.  Best of all, a beautiful new boardwalk has been installed along the cliff top east of town, making a walk to Algar Seco pure exhilaration.

The boardwalk, heading towards Carvoeira

The boardwalk, heading towards Carvoeiro

Magnificent, isn’t it?  I was totally unprepared for the sight, but so often it seems to me that the Algarve ‘gets it right’.  The cliff tops are subject to erosion and the boardwalk helps to protect them from the curious, while enabling safe and easy access to their dramatic beauty.

You can see the frailty of the rocks

You can see the frailty of the rocks

Algar Seco is the name given to a rock formation carved into the cliffs by erosion and the action of the waves.  Steps lead down into a natural amphitheatre, where the fit and sure-footed can view at close quarters how the sea seductively sculpts the shore.

I am not known for my affinity with goats, and wearing smart sandals was perhaps a mistake.  A squidgy yellow puddle wasn’t exactly what they were designed for, but they survived.  Wet wipes are a wonderful invention, aren’t they?

The scenery was worth it!

I thought the scenery was worth it!

Especially from inside the caves

Especially from inside the caves

Amazing to be so close to nature

Amazing to be so close to nature

Even if a little scary

Safer on the boardwalk!

But much safer up on the boardwalk!

Now let’s follow the boardwalk towards Carvoeiro.  It isn’t very far and the views will keep you enthralled.  There are benches set in at intervals if you want to simply sit and feast your eyes. Looking back you have the beach of Marinha, with Benagil’s tiny cove beyond.  Ahead , an extravaganza of coast!  Soon you arrive at Capela da Nossa Senhora da Encarnacao’s so pretty chapel.

The church square

The church square

With a pretty roof

With a pretty roof

Affording calm views to sea

Affording calm views to sea

Beyond this, the road starts to dip into the cove which is Praia da Carvoeiro. The sea wall is planted with hardy flowers but the chances are you won’t be able to take your eyes off the bay.

Determined to bloom in the salt air

Determined to bloom in the salt air!

Just a hint at the beach below you

Just a hint at the beach below you

Invariably there will be a couple of boats, drawn up well away from the clutches of the sea.  And a burst of colour in the houses at shoreline.

Happy to be stranded!

Happy to be stranded!

How about this for 'beachfront'?

How about this for ‘beachfront’?

But you know that what will always lure me on is the thrash of the waves on the shore.  I cannot wait to get close!  Just a quick paddle!

Too close, sometimes!

Too close, sometimes!

But water like this is hard to resist!

But water like this is hard to resist!

After a play on the beach (yes, the wet bum incident, but the camera was safe!) and a few more shell shots, I opted to climb Rua da Paraiso.  I just had to see what ‘Paradise Beach’ offered.  The views down into the bay are equally lovely and you can complete a circuit which brings you back into the centre.  There are only two main streets, side by side, leading to the beach (and away, if you’re a driver).  Algar Seco is clearly signed, along the coast road and within the town, if you have left your car at the eastern end, as we did.

Thank you all for your patience.  I’ve struggled mightily this weekend but, in the week ahead, hope to get ‘back on track’.  As always I have some wonderful shares for you, so let’s get that kettle on and go armchair walking!

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First we’re off to Otatara Beach in New Zealand, with Jill  :

All Soul’s Day wander at Otatara PA

Then flying straight on to the States and the Hudson River :

Fort Lee Historic Park

A truly delightful Halloween walk next, with Colline.  I found some little ‘trick or treaters’ in the Algarve too.  Must show you sometime!

A Halloween Walk

Lamb burger anybody?  Then you can walk it off, with Yvette  :

Burger, Bach and a walk

Lovely Noe showed me another little piece of village life in South Sulawesi.  Don’t miss it!

The old village of Bitombang

Tobias is here from Hamburg!  A place I know little of, and am enjoying through his eyes  :

The steep approach to Baumwall

Of course, there’d be no Monday walk without Drake!  He always manages to stir nostalgia in me  :

Whistle down the Wind

And when there’s a walk from Tish Farrell, you know you’re in for a treat  :

Rambling Tales, My Little Pony, windmills, Olympian dreams

If Pauline ever invites you for a walk in her garden, say ‘yes’ immediately.  It’s fabulous!  :

Come walk with me in the garden

Nurturing and looking after swans sounds like a grand job, doesn’t it?  Sherri is at a swannery this week  :

A walk with swans

No Jude, you might have noticed?  She has her hands full of grandson in Australia.  Happy days!  I owe so many thanks to my contributors.  You have made my Mondays very special.  I hope I haven’t missed anybody this week?  Happy walking!

Jo’s Monday walk : Whitby cliff tops

St. Mary's Church, suspended on the cliff top

St. Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey, suspended on the cliff top

Now, I know what you’re thinking!  ‘This lady is obsessed with cliff tops and water’.  And you wouldn’t be very far wrong.  After the cliffs at Sagres in the Algarve, and last week’s Seaham walk, it’s becoming a recurring theme.  I do try to vary my walks for you, but I can’t help being just a little biased.

This week we’re going down the North Yorkshire coast to Whitby.  Last time I took you there we went window shopping.  It’s a small town that has something for everyone, but my favourite part is unquestionably up on the cliff, looking down.  First we have to get up there.  We’ll tackle the steps pretty soon, to get them out of the way.  Your reward can be fish and chips afterwards. Agreed?

The car park is right next to the marina- a good place to start

The car park is right next to the marina- a good place to start!

And today there's a treat! The swing bridge is opening.

And today there’s a treat! The swing bridge is opening.

In all my years, I have rarely seen this sight in the bustling little port.  A crowd gathers to watch the sailboat go by, and as the gates swing shut again, a queue forms to cross over the bridge.  A delightful party of small schoolchildren with cheery blazers were being corralled by their teachers. I’d have loved a shot but they were too fidgety!  Over we go, to be met by a confusion of signs.

There is a confusion of signs! And can you see the bubbles coming out of that box?

I thought these bubbles were with the schoolchildren, but apparently not!

And then it's the steps!

Then it’s the steps!  Only 199 of them

But don't worry!  You can stop to admire the view.

But don’t worry! You can keep stopping to admire the view.

It's lovely in either direction

It’s lovely in either direction

Here's an interesting place to live!

Here’s an interesting place to live!  Next to Caedmon’s Trod

And at the top St. Mary's Church is beckoning

And at the top, St. Mary’s Church quietly waits

Whitby has been welcoming visitors for a long time.  The earliest record of a permanent settlement is 656AD, when an abbey was founded on the East Cliff by Oswy, the Christian king of Northumbria.  Viking raiders destroyed the monastery that followed, and for 200 years the site lay desolate, until after the Norman Conquest of 1066.  The area was then granted to William de Percy who, in 1078, donated land upon which was constructed a Benedictine Monastery, St. Mary’s Church and the town and port of Whitby.

The name Whitby comes from Old Norse, meaning ‘White Settlement’.  It was here, in Whitby Abbey, that the earliest recognised English poet, Caedmon, a former cowherd, lived and worked. The town has a strong literary history and famously features in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Set on the River Esk, Whitby has a sheltered harbour, and in the 18th century the port was a thriving centre for shipbuilding, whaling and the transport of locally mined alum and jet.  The jet became very fashionable when Queen Victoria adopted it for her mourning jewellery on the death of Prince Albert.  Whitby jet shops still feature prominently in the cobbled streets today.

The clouds are gathering, so it's time to move on

The clouds are gathering, so it’s time to move on

We pass the entrance to the Abbey ruins

Pass by the entrance to the Abbey ruins

And out on the cliff top, look back at Whitby Abbey

And out on the cliff top, look back at Whitby Abbey and the pier

Ahead of us lies Saltwell Nab

Ahead lies Saltwell Nab

And beyond that, Whitby Holiday Park, balanced precariously on the cliffs

And beyond that, Whitby Holiday Park, balanced precariously on the cliffs

At this point you can turn inland and follow a path back to the coast road, but I wanted to see more.  We are only 1 mile out of Whitby, and 5 miles further down the coast is idyllic Robin Hood’s Bay.  I continue on, along the Cleveland Way.

Whitby is still visible in the distance

Whitby is still visible in the distance

And below the bay glistens

And below, the glistening bay

While colourful Cinnebar moths  flutter at the cliff's edge

While colourful red and black Cinnebar moths explore delicious yellow cowslips

Another treat in store next- a former lighthouse and fog-horn station

Another treat awaits – a lighthouse and a fog-horn station!

‘Hornblower Lodge’ is now a holiday cottage, but was formerly a fog-horn station, fondly known as the Whitby Bull.  The original horn was switched off in 1987 but before that it worked in conjunction with Whitby High Light.  The lighthouse is only 13 metres high but is positioned on the cliff top, 73 metres above high water level, with a range of 18 nautical miles.

The lighthouse also has holiday cottages to let, details included in the link.

High light

Whitby High Light

Wouldn't you like to live here?

Wouldn’t you like to live here?  I would!

Or how about 'Hornblower Cottage'?

Or how about ‘Hornblower Cottage’?

A lane heads inland from the cottage, taking you past farmland, and soon you are back on the coastal road.  You can follow this all the way back to Whitby and visit the Abbey, if you like.  It’s well worth a visit, and there is a restaurant on site.  Or you can save the visit for another day and take the footpath to your left, just past the Holiday Park sign.  This will bring you back into Whitby, threading your way down through the houses to end up almost opposite your start point.

Heading back to Whitby

Heading back to Whitby

Down the steps through the houses

Down the steps, and past the houses

Back at your start point, at the harbourside

Till you’re back at our start point, by the harbour

These are the newest lobster pots I ever saw!

These are the newest lobster pots I have ever seen!

Speaking of lobster, I seem to remember we had an agreement?  Whitby is full of fish and chip shops but ‘Hadleys’ is a favourite of mine.  Always busy, I don’t know how the girls stay so cheerful.  You’ll find it on the corner, just over the swing bridge and before the Whitby steps.

No, I haven't forgotten!  Believe me, they are really good

A little expensive, but very good

Just one last photo, for Jill, who thinks my skies are always blue

Just one last photo, for Jill, who thinks my skies are always blue!

The downpour drove me inside the excellent Tourist Information Centre, right by the car park, but it didn’t last for long.  Or I could have gone shopping for Whitby jet.

What do you think?

What do you think?

My walk is about 6 miles in total, or the shorter version 4 and a half.  I hope you enjoyed it.  If you don’t drive, Whitby is easily accessible by rail from Middlesbrough.  This link will give you lots more information about the area, to encourage you to visit.

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I’m so lucky this week!  Meg has agreed to be my tour guide to the Wilanow Palace in Warsaw  :

And she doesn’t mind a spot of rain, either  :

Drake introduced me to Svendborg in Denmark.  What a beauty!  :

Please don’t miss Jude’s Logan Botanic Gardens.  You will be bedazzled!  :

Sylvia is running out of time for her beach walks, but don’t be sad!  :

And I got deluged at the falls with Amy- and loved it!  :

Pauline (you know her as Pommepal) has sent me a post all the way from Canberra, down under  :

And I thought I’d just update you on Elaine  :

That’s quite a lot of reading for you so you’ll need a cuppa (or two!).  I promise to find you a flat walk for next week.  If you’d like to join me, just click on the logo for details.