Jo’s Monday walk : Ruswarp to Whitby (and back)

Memory is a strange thing, isn’t it?  I was sure I’d walked this walk with you, from Ruswarp to Whitby and back again.  I even remember telling how I was like a drowned rat when the skies opened on the way back.  Sitting in a puddle, eating a cheese sandwich and looking out of the pub window at the rain is not my idea of fun.  The Guinness was good, but it was a sunny riverside setting I had in mind.  Apparently my memory lies.  Nowhere could I find that original post!  Nor photos to accompany it.  Strange tricks memory plays!

I walked this way again recently, with a sunnier ending, and this time I’m determined to share it with you.  It’s tinged with sadness today, because it’s a year ago that Dad died.  There was nothing he liked better, if he had company, than to whisk them into his car and off over the Moors to Whitby.  Fish and chips and a pint and he was happy with life.  He couldn’t walk far but was always fiercely independent (in a soft, gentlemanly way).  The last time we were there together he parked the car on the cliff top.  Somehow we ended up down at street level, and then were faced with the challenge of getting back up there again.  I seriously doubted we’d ever make it but, with many pauses, we did.

Ruswarp is a charming village, a little over a mile inland from Whitby, along the River Esk.  The Esk Valley Railway runs through the village and sometimes you’re treated to the sight and sound of steam.  By the riverside you can hire rowing boats and canoes, and take canoeing lessons.  This gentle walk is signposted off the main street and follows a stone pannierway, known locally as Monk’s Trod.  Watch out for a bit of an uphill haul as you leave the river and approach Whitby, on the Esk Valley Walk.

You have a couple of choices for leaving the walk to enter Whitby.  Last time I followed the Cinder Track but this time I opted for West Cliff.  Either option will bring you close to Pannell Park and from there you’re close to the seafront, and the monument to the bombardment.

This is where Dad parked, close by the monument to James Cook, looking across to Whitby Abbey and near to the whalebone arch.  I remember the relief with which he subsided onto a bench when we made it back up that cliff.

I was lucky to be heading downwards, admiring the views on the way.  Into the ‘Screaming tunnel’, alleged to have been used by Dracula to frighten his victims, and out the other side.  Best done in daylight.

Down on the harbourside the seagulls are in raucous control, while St. Mary’s church looks down with the serenity of centuries.

The swing bridge remains locked in position, while Whitby is full of its usual bustle.  To escape the crowd for a while we duck into our favourite little eating place, tucked away in the quiet of Sander’s Yard.  Healthy food, you’ll note! (I won’t show you his chips)  And  I only looked at the cup cakes.

Leaving the bucket and spade brigade behind, it’s time to carry on, past the marina and down to the very end of the car park.  There you will find a footpath that runs between the railway and a boatyard.  Hold on- you’re in for a treat!  Look what’s coming!

It’s always a sight to gladden the heart, and I watch it disappear into the distance before turning my gaze back to the river.  At this point we have lovely views back to Whitby, while ahead lies the 120 foot high viaduct, built to carry the Whitby-Scarborough railway.  The route was closed in 1965 and the Cinder Track walking and cycling path I mentioned earlier now runs across it.

The River Esk was used to power corn mills in the village of Ruswarp, though the last closed in 1962.  The weir built to channel water into a mill-race has been adapted to power a hydro-electric project on the south bank.  As I follow the river, suddenly I can hear a whooping and a hollering.  Looking over the hedge I’m amused to see what looks like a scene from ‘Swallows and Amazons’.  The schoolkids are having a whale of a time.

I’m almost back to my start point when there’s the hoot of a whistle behind me.  Spinning round I’m delighted to see the engine racing along, black steam pouring from its funnel.  Steam trains don’t stop in Ruswarp, but slow at the level crossing where our trail ends.

Five minutes later and we’re back on the riverbank, where we began.  I hope you enjoyed coming along with me.

Yesterday we did what Dad would have wanted.  The family got together in a pub that he liked, and we talked and we laughed.  It was easy to imagine him there with us.  Today it’s all just memories.  God bless, Dad!


Thank you all for your company.  I hope you can find a little more time to visit these walks that people have kindly contributed.  If you’d like to join in, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  I’ll make you very welcome.  Time to put the kettle on now.


Let’s start with an introduction.  Melodie lives in Manchester and she loves tea :

Hike around Edale, Peak District

You’ll enjoy Jude’s stroll in the YSP.  I certainly did!

Yorkshire Sculpture Park : Part Two

Maybe you should bring a blow-up boat for this walk with Violet :

The Fishing Islands

Jackie’s raring to go, as ever!  And well supplied :

Chuck Wagon

Fitbits are all the rage, aren’t they?  Marsha has it under control!

How to Get an Easy 10,000 steps in Sedona, AZ

Sometimes you can simply overdo it.  Believe me, Liesbet, I know!

Day Trips around Santa Fe, NM- Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque

Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque

Janet shares some fascinating details of this National Park :

The Badlands 1

The Badlands 2 

While Lady Lee is living the good life!

Being pampered in Das Kranzbach

You have to get up early for peace and quiet in Singapore, but you’ll be welcome to join Ju-Lyn :

Running to stillness on Orchard Road

Kathrin’s planning on some physical hiking in Yosemite.  I’d love to join her :

Places in California : Q is for…

While Woolly has some fun with the birds :


I’m ending today with my lovely friend, Gilly, showing us yet another side to beautiful Firenze :

A walk in the Oltrarno

Many thanks to you all, and wishing you a great week!

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!


Jo’s Monday walk : Whitby in Winter

In short supply, the winter sun sets over Whitby harbour

In short supply, the winter sun sets over Whitby harbour

I’ve taken you walking along the Whitby cliff tops in summer time, but winter can be a very different proposition. Yet I was amazed at how many people thronged the narrow cobbled streets, leading to Whitby Abbey, on New Year’s Eve day this year.

It was bitterly cold, but I expected the numerous steps around Whitby would soon warm me up. And on such a day, fish and chips would be almost compulsory.  Anyone fancy joining me?

James Cook has a beautiful, if chilly, view

James Cook has a beautiful, if chilly, view

The road across the York Moors had the merest dusting of snow- delicious and crisp, though I don’t know if the sheep would be impressed.  I didn’t stop to ask.  Stepping out of the car on West Cliff, the air was bitingly brisk.  The good news, though, was that parking, often scarce in this town, was free of charge until the end of March.

My destination was St. Mary’s Church, clearly visible on the cliff top across the bay.  That meant either steps down, a meandering road downward, or a combination of the two, and then steps up the other side. I paused for breath, and to admire the view, alongside the statue of James Cook, who served his apprenticeship in the town.  HMS Endeavour, commanded by Captain Cook on his voyage to Australia and New Zealand, was built in Whitby, in 1764.

I started down the steps from the Whalebone Arch, symbolic of the town’s whaling past.  A ‘halooo’ in the ‘Screaming’ tunnel, allegedly associated with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, just had to be done.  Childish, I know!  If ghost walks are your idea of fun, it’s possible to tour the town with a guide who will point out all the Dracula connections.

Through the tunnel, the steps continue on down, winding between the backs of houses until you reach the quayside. Easy going from here, as you make for the Swing Bridge.

The Swing Bridge spans the River Esk

The Swing Bridge spanning the River Esk

There are plenty of shops and cafes to distract you in the cobbled streets beyond the bridge, but inevitably you will arrive at the foot of 199 steps.  The Abbey, and St. Mary’s Church, await on the cliff top above.  Take your time.  It doesn’t matter if someone overtakes you.  There is space, and opportunity, to loiter and enjoy the view of Whitby harbour down below.  Fill your pockets with goodies from Justin’s before you start.  It might help!

Justin's can tempt at any time of year

Justin’s can tempt at any time of year

You may think I’m a sadist dragging you up here, but there is a purpose.  Originally the Church Stairs were wooden steps leading to St. Mary’s.  The church can be reached by road, by a circuitous route, but more often a coffin would be carried up the steps for burial in the churchyard.  There are resting places to make this an easier passage.

Our journey today is not so sad.  I’m climbing the steps to see the Christmas trees donated to St. Mary’s by local businesses each December.  Schools take part as well, and it is a lovely enterprise. I noticed this year a Prayer tree where you can tie on a shred of ribbon to leave your personal prayer.  My Six word Saturday featured many of the tree decorations so here I’ll concentrate more on the church.

There was a lovely atmosphere as people came and went, and the volunteers shared their knowledge of the church, some of which dates from the 12th century.  The link will give you much more information.  Meantime, I had a rendezvous with the pier in mind.  The decision whether to have your fish and chips before or after is up to you.  I should tell you that Rick Stein favours The Magpie Cafe, over on Pier Street, but I have a preference for Hadleys, which is just around the corner from here, at 11 Bridge St.

At the bottom of Church Stairs there is a right hand turn into Henrietta St., a row of fishermen’s cottages.  If you follow it past the Smoke House, where you might catch the delicious aroma of smoking fish, it will take you down steeply to one arm of the pier.  This is the point at which you will need that warm hat!

Access to the pier is a little steep

The steep descent to the pier

Beware people doing a crazy dance

Beware people doing a crazy dance (to keep warm?)

And turn your attention to the view

And turn your attention to the view

Or look out to Saltwell Nab

Or look out to Saltwell Nab

I think it must be time to go

But I think it must be time to go

Retrace your steps to the Swing Bridge and you will see a narrow street ahead of you, rising towards the West Cliff. It’s a little steep for the first few yards, but then you can distract yourself by looking in the shop windows as you follow the gentle curve back around to the car park.

NB. You can walk out along the other arm of the pier, which is less strenuous but just as chilly!

I hope you have enjoyed our outing today.  I know some of you will have seen parts of this walk before, but I thought that it was a story worth telling.  As time goes by I will probably need to revisit a few old haunts, but they look different as the seasons change.  I will try to keep them fresh for you.

walking logo

Over the festive season, people have been too busy to do much walking, but I’m happy to say that I still have some walks to share with you.  If you’d like to share a walk in the future, that would be great!  My Jo’s Monday walk page gives you the details, or you can just click on the logo.

Extra special thanks to my contributors this week.  Let me just pop that kettle on and we’ll  start.

It was so peaceful with Jude this week, I was compelled to sit a while.  Yes, even me! :

Garden Portrait : Harmony and Balance

Meanwhile, Drake has excelled himself, again!  Don’t miss his beautiful mill in Samso :

The Walking Mill

Gilly has a gentle riverside walk for us and you’ll love it!

Strolling the Byes

Anyone chased their grandbaby round a zoo lately? And in the heat of the day, too!  Thanks a lot, Rosemay  :

Zoo tales from Perth 

Hope to see you all out walking again next week.  Till then, take care!

Six word Saturday


Just a last remnant of Christmas!


On New Year’s Eve I paid a visit to St. Mary’s Church in Whitby.  High on the cliff top, the chilly graveyard looks out to sea but, at this time of year, inside the church is bathed in a warm glow.

It’s the light of numerous Christmas trees, contributed by the community, and a huge boost to the church funds.  If you’re lucky you might even catch a carol service.

There are some beautiful Advent scenes

There are some beautiful Advent scenes

A last dusting of WordPress snow sets them off rather nicely.  I saw a little of the real thing on the road across the Moors- but not much!  I guess you know now where my Monday walk will be taking us next week?  Winter woollies will be required.

Until then, enjoy your weekend, and don’t forget to call in on Cate at Show My Face.  You wouldn’t want her to play Six Word Saturday all alone, would you?


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.

walking logo

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.

Which Way? The Cleveland Way!

You know I love it!

You know I love it!

I think I may have warned you that I still have a Whitby clifftop shot or two up my sleeve?  Well, Cee is giving me the perfect opportunity to show them off.

Now we’re here you may as well come and see a little more of Whitby, if you’re not bored, of course? As usual, click on a photo to see it in gallery form.

Along the pier is a good way to go.

Along the pier is a good way to go.

A poetic ending!

A poetic ending!

Well, I think I’ve probably got Whitby out of my system, for the time being.  The Goth Festival’s taking place there at the end of this month.  Now there’s a spectacle you oughtn’t to miss!

Thank you so much, Cee, for hosting Which Way?  I’ve enjoyed every step of it.  Click on the links or the logo to read more about the challenge.


Six word Saturday

6ws-participating-in-bannerLast week PINK , this week blue!

Whitby harbour, North Yorkshire

Whitby harbour, North Yorkshire

It’s been a very Whitby sort of week when it comes to the blog so I may as well finish as I started.  I’m often blue on grey days, but this week I didn’t have much excuse.

How's this for a cliff top view?

How’s this for a cliff top view?

Hope you enjoyed the trip?  I still have some more shots for a rainy day. Click on any photo to see the gallery.

My grateful thanks to Cate at Show My Face.  Her life seems much harder than mine.  Click on the link or the header to see what’s been happening in her week.


Thursday : Lingering look at Windows- week 37

Window panel on a cottage door in Whitby

Window panel on a cottage door in Whitby, North Yorkshire

Don’t you think this is lovely?  I’ve been visiting Whitby for many years and I always walk down the main pier for the lovely views back at the town and out across the bay.  Picture postcard pretty though it undoubtedly is, the weather can sometimes be bleak on that North Yorkshire coast.  This little window panel seemed to me to speak volumes of the nature of the place.

Out on the pier itself, in glorious weather, there are more windows to see.

The bluest of skies accentuate the lighthouse.

The bluest of skies accentuate the lighthouse.

From top- to bottom!

From top- to bottom!

The beach is overlooked by a row of holiday cottages.  I’d already walked the clifftop and the pier, so time for a sit down and a bite to eat.  But the cobbled Whitby streets are always full of pirate treasures.

Justin's Chocolatier has a sumptuous window

Justin’s Chocolatier has a sumptuous window

The window in close-up

The window in close-up

And “ye olde tea shoppes”!

Yes, please!

Yes, please!

In the end we found an old favourite.

With it's cosy inside, looking out to the courtyard

With it’s cosy inside, looking out to the courtyard

It was just the ending needed to our day.

It was just the ending needed to our day.

Don't you think?

Don’t you think?  But I’m a coffee person, really!

I have to admit to having a naughty glass of wine, but then, the setting was so nice.  If you’re in Whitby, look out for Sanders Yard.

Meantime it’s thanks to Dawn at Lingering Visions for encouraging me to look through windows.  If you have some you’d like to share, follow the link and meet me there.

Weekly Photo Challenge : from lines to patterns

River Esk at Whitby

River Esk at Whitby

I really have no business being here this morning but the sky is grey again and I’m focussing my mind on the beautiful sunny day we walkers had at Whitby on Monday.  It was sparkling!

Out on the old pier

Out on the old pier

That's Saltwick Nab in the distance.

That’s Saltwick Nab in the distance.

A bollard always makes a good shot, don't you think?

A bollard always makes a good shot, don’t you think?

Or what about some "dinosaur's feet"?

Or how about some “dinosaur’s feet”?

Thanks to Cheri at the Weekly Photo Challenge for lifting my spirits.  Click on the link to lift yours.

Thursday- Lingering look at Windows- week 22

Where might I linger this week?  I’ll be getting myself talked about!  I believe I promised you some English windows.  Now, how to present them?

The glass-panelled arched ceiling of Malt Cross Cafe in Nottingham

The glass-panelled arched ceiling of Malt Cross Cafe in Nottingham

You know I spent the weekend in Nottingham?  The above was the venue for the book launch of “Steampunk Apothecary”.  If you want to see some of the antics, have a look at An extraordinary, but delicious, affair.

The Malt Cross Cafe is an historic grade 2 listed building and we were fortunate to have the use of the upper gallery.  Below, there’s a bar which sells delicious savouries.

Nottingham isn’t short on interesting venues, and windows.

Don't you love the light through this window in Nottingham's Newstead Abbey

Don’t you love the light through this window in Nottingham’s exquisite Newstead Abbey?

The previous weekend I was in Newcastle-on-Tyne and found myself very taken with these windows.  I think the building is currently being used just for office space, but at least it’s still there in all its glory.


England’s towns and cities have some of the loveliest windows you’ll ever see.

Did you stroll through my galleries?  We really must stop meeting like this.  It’s getting to be a habit.

So, what do you think?  Can England take on Poland and Portugal in the windows challenge?  Thanks Dawn for providing me with a little more fun this rain-soaked English day.

Don’t forget to check out the other Lingering Windows entries, and maybe participate?