We set off at 9 o’clock for a grand day out in Whitby. If we’d have driven direct it would have taken us about 2 hours but we stopped to look at The Finest View in England, according to James Herriot who wrote All Creatures Great and Small. In Helmsley we had morning tea and a cake. It was a lovely little market town, busy with elderly couples enjoying the dozens of tea shops. There were lots of lovely flowers in hanging baskets too.


Giant hollyhocks in Helmsby

We reached Whitby at noon and I could hardly believe the number of holiday makers on the beach, wandering around the narrow streets, and queuing up, 20 deep in some places, for fish and chips, which now come in a blue and white box – rather than newspaper as


Whitby Beach

they did when I was a child. We were on the headland overlooking the beach (complete with donkey rides) across from the abbey. I barely recognized the place. I’d visited as a child with my parents and was fascinated by the jet for sale in the shops. Then I’d hiked there with Colin along the coastal footpath from Saltburn to Scarborough, a punishing


Looking across to Whitby Abbey

hike over several days, and we’d stayed at Whitby Youth Hostel which was situated at the top of 199 steps up the cliff – this after a 23 mile hike! Here was the stereotypical British tourist, ladies in skimpy sundresses and men in all their shirtless splendour – not!


Queuing for fish and chips

We had lunch in a small cafe but it was so hot that it was difficult to eat anything. After lunch I headed for the Captain Cook museum while Judith wandered around the town some more. of course it was no cooler in the museum but it was fascinating to see original documents that he had signed. It was in this building that James Cook served his three year apprenticeship. A special exhibition told the story of the wives and sweethearts the sailors left behind – and how they coped. The exhibition focused on the wives of Cpt Bligh and Cpt Cook.


Cpt James Cook lived here

We decided to drive up to the other headland across the river where the abbey is situated. A wall just above head height surrounds the abbey and the only way in is through the new


IThe Abbey. I stood in awe of the people who built this place on this exposed headland.

Visitors’ center. It was too late in the day, and still too hot, to go inside so instead I went in search of the Youth Hostel. It’s now located in a spiffy new building behind the visitors’ center – very smart – but then I spotted the building we’d stayed in. It’s now Abbey Cottage – a private dwelling. I wanted to see the 199 steps that we’d climbed at the end of a


(Melting) Ice cream at the Abbey

very grueling day but before I found them I found a very, very steep cobbled street that runs adjacent to the steps. I didn’t remember that as being an option.

We stopped to collect some groceries and arrived home at 7:15, just in time to talk to Sarah over Facebook. It was still ridiculously hot as I tucked into my cottage pie an hour later.


A very hot Heather in the heather