Friday, 10 October 2008

A Short Excursion

There can't be many places where you go and do the weekly supermarket shop and see this...
and this, hardly a stone's throw from the car-park



Yes, you keen-eyed observers, you, this is Whitby which is a mere half an hour's car ride over the moors from our new home. Then again, it is another world. Although Whitby is still Yorkshire, the people have a north-eastern, almost Geordie, lilt to their voices and you might as well be in another country for the total contrast in tone and outlook. Mist hung low over Rosedale Abbey when we left and as we climbed up over the moors we were soon plunged into thick fog which prevented us from enjoying the view over Glaisdale, but having dropped sharply down through the allied villages of Egton Bridge and Egton and into Whitby the sun was blazing and there was a summery feel about the place. Between the Co-op supermarket that replaces what was the old and squalid fish quay and the harbour, is a modern plaza, where stands a memorial to local man Captain William Scoresby and his equally pioneering son, also William. The memorial consists of a pole topped by a crow's nest because William Senior invented it. (Scoresby Junior is considered by some to be the true inventor of the ship's compass.)

Between that and the harbour wall stood a man in fisherman's cap and jersey playing the accordion and singing sea-shanties. with a puppet dancing at his feet. All very touristy, of course, but he had a superb voice and his evocative words of hardship and far-away travel flung my spirits skywards over the sea. Whitby and its people have always been outward-facing (there are Whitbys all around the world) and therefore open-minded and welcoming. I love it.

4 comments:

Jo said...

Lovely to see pictures of Whitby. One of my favourite places. I've done a fair bit of shopping in the CoOp there myself! I remember the buskers on the quay as well.

Annie Wicking said...

Whitby is the land of my forefathers... The blood of most of my ancestor runs through my veins and even my name is of Whitby stock so when I say I love the place its in my blood. It truely is... How lucky am I?

Thank you for sharing your trip in to Whitby with us.

Best wishes
Annie

Nicola Slade said...

Interesting to learn about the two William Scoresbys. In His Dark Materials Philip Pullman named his balloonist Lee Scoresby - I wonder if there was something in his mind about the two Williams when he chose the name? Especially with William Jr and the compass/Golden Compass?
A bit of a tenuous link but possible, bearing in mind how even the slightest of passing comments can trigger the creative process!

Sally Zigmond said...

I shall probably go every week unless the weather gets really bad. The road is not at all good in winter and is a bit far to go the 'long way' round. So expect more pictures, especially when the Goths are in town. They are such lovely people even if they do look scary. They have impeccable manners and local once told me that the town welcomes them, 'because you never see a drunken Goth.'