North Yorkshire Coast
Friday, 17th October 1997
This section of road around Britain, which unfortunately for the website goes in the wrong direction, was part of a tour round Yorkshire that we did with much Family History. It starts at a campsite at Crindon House Farm, Hartlepool
Our site was at Crindon House Farm. As we arrived the man and his son directed us to the field overlooking the sea.
We refilled the water tank, leveled the van and then set off for a walk. It was now 5.00 pm and rather windy but very mild. We walked first down to the beach – a lovely unspoiled stretch of sand dunes within a stone's throw of Hartlepool.
We realised that we had not been by the sea for some time. This stretch of coastline is completely undeveloped and unspoiled. We looked North to headlands and cliffs. After a while the beach ran out and we ascended the dunes to an uninspiring static caravan site. We tried hard to think of something nice about the site, but couldn't think of anything at all! We had to walk along and then through it, and had some difficulty in finding the way out under the railway line. There was no one about. It had an eerie "on the beach" feel about it.
We left the site and followed the road inland for some way until we found a track down to a farm and then a footpath across the fields to a disused railway. We now had a pleasant walk back, pretending to be trains – through cuttings and over viaducts, under a pinky sky, finally crossing the footbridge back to our field. During supper we noticed the full moon shining down on the sea and sat then with the lights out enjoying this favourite sight of ours.
Adrian on the unspoilt beach near Hartlepool
Saturday 18th October
We awoke to find the sun just rising over the sea and soon the sky was clear blue. We looked down over fields to the sea. Hartlepool, which we had seen lit up last night, was now hidden in the haziness of the sun.
We left at 10 o'clock having pumped the tyres and emptied the loo. It had been a lovely spot. As we left we saw chickens with their chicks and there was a group of turkeys too.
We drove into Hartlepool, firstly to the part which was once old Hartlepool. It now looked quite neat and tidy. We drove round into central Hartlepool which was once called Stranton and then West Hartlepool. Now the whole area is called Hartlepool. We parked in a side street – the car park was fairly empty but had many restrictions (width, length etc.) – and walked across and through a newish indoor shopping centre. We were looking for a bank
We walked out of the shopping centre and soon found the "Bank Street", but all the actual banks were closed and all the building societies were packed out. We waited in Nationwide for a while, but everyone was taking a long time opening accounts etc. We bought one or two items of food. In a bakers we bought two cream slices and two white and two brown rolls (with great difficulty). The girl ended by saying "Sarawl" (is that all) which I just about understood. We bought meat from the butchers and a few things in Marks and Spencers and the map of Hartlepool in Smith's as we had left ours at home.
We returned to the Tiv and enjoyed tea/coffee with our cakes outside in the sunshine in our far from exciting surroundings.
The area we were in however was of great interest. Although it now bore very little resemblance to its former time, it was actually the area where many of my ancestors had lived. Nearby was Christ Church – beautifully restored and now an Art Gallery. It looked splendid against the clear blue sky.
We walked out and around various streets, the names of which we knew so well. Although a good percentage of the old houses at been demolished, one or two streets had been saved for posterity. We arrived at the railway station. It looked very unloved now, but I became very moved at the thought of my Grandma arriving there with her large family in 1903, with Dad Cape a year old baby, to travel to London to a new life in the South. It was sobering to think that if that hadn't happened we wouldn't be here now.
Christchurch and Scarborough St where my Great Grandfather lived in the 1860's
We went in search of the Museum, near to where Fountain Terrace had once stood. We passed the "Boilermakers Club" which still seemed to be busy, but when we reached the Museum we found that it had moved to the new "Marina and much more" area on part of the old docks. We decided to drive back there and found it adjacent to a fine restored quay area with an entrance fee, but the Museum itself was free.
Despite wanting to be outside on such a lovely day we spent quite some time in the Museum enjoying particularly the old maps and the old photographs of Hartlepool. By the time we emerged, it was 2.00 pm and we thought we should have lunch.
We had both just remembered Ward Jackson Park, where there is a tree planted to commemorate Aunty Lily's centenary. We drove there and I made up some rolls, which we took into the Park. We soon located Aunty Lily's tree and remembered our visit here with Mum, Dad and Tom in 1990. We sat near the tree on a broken wooden seat by the pond to eat our lunch.
Hartlepool Railway station
We both thought that there was also a tree planted here in Dad's memory and searched every inch of the park but couldn't find it. Maybe we were wrong or maybe the tree is planted somewhere else. Rather sadly and reluctantly we had to give up.
It was 3.15 when we left the autumn sunshine of the park and drove through some streets of Bellevue, the area that Dad's family had lived in. We drove down to Dorset Street, where he was born and down to Oxford Street, where Aunty Lily went to school – we took a photo.
The tree commemorating my Auntie Lily's 100th birthday in 1988
We then did a tour of the houses in search of the swimming pool marked on the map – nowhere does it say "Leisure Centre" – surely there must be one! When we finally found the "swimming pool", we found that it was a learner pool, so that was that! We drove out to Seaton Carew – now really an extension of Hartlepool – but didn't stop at the beach and very soon found ourselves heading southwards and into the unpleasant area of Teeside. We had visited this area before and knew that the Proctors came from Salthouse and had seen the house before, surrounded by the ICI works. Now all the work's had gone and just half an old house remained. It was a sorry sight and we quickly moved on.
Past the Transporter Bridge, we went over Newport Bridge (still called that). The actual "village" of Newport where George Thompson Lawson lived with his family in the 1840s, no longer exists. At least the name of Newport lives on.
We continued to the coast reaching it at Redcar. I found the whole area of oil refineries and steelworks so devastatingly repulsive that I revelled in the sandy beach we stopped beside, just north of Redcar. It was now 4.30 and the sun was still warm.
We located two small campsites nearby. The first was adjacent to the rugby club at the far end of Redcar. We visited it, but the car park seemed full and we imagined that Saturday night might be rowdy. We continued to the second one – a little way inland at New Maske. This was adjacent to the "Yorkshire Lass" pub – an unattractive building in need of a coat of paint. We could see down to the coast at Redcar and beyond and if you blotted out the industry, it was pleasant enough.
We decided to stop and to go off for a walk into the forested hills behind the village. Unfortunately the grid reference for the site was wrong, we were the other side of the village, and so had to walk through endless streets of houses before reaching the fields and then the woods. Many of the gardens were pretty – fuchsias and roses particularly seem to do well and there were lots of bedding plants still flowering.
The sun was setting behind the hills, glowing red as it did so. Then in the dusk and twilight, the industrial parts in the distance looked pretty with the twinkling lights. We enjoyed our evening walk, but returned before it got really dark. It was still very warm.
We came back to the village and were thinking that it was just one huge sixties-plus estate, when we came across rows of terraced back-to-back houses, right on the street – no front gardens, so that we looked straight into the living rooms from the pavement. The warmth and the quiet made us think of France. So "New Maske" was much older than we first thought!
Back at the Tiv I decided that it was time to wash out a few socks and pants – our visit to a launderette hadn't materialised. We did all this while preparing supper, enjoying the warm temperature.
Later we tried out the pub, but the smoky atmosphere hit us as we entered the entrance hall and we didn't feel inspired to enter further. We read later that the village had started as a mining village and that the older houses we had seen had now been modernised. It was built by the Quakers and had no pub – hence this so-called "modern" one, but it wasn't well patronised there were no cars in the car park at night.
Oxford St school, where my auntie Lily went to school in 1890s
Sunday 19th October
It was disappointingly foggy when we woke up. We heard the weather forecast as we left, which said that everywhere would be fine and sunny. Not where we were – the fog stayed all day.
We filled the tank with water and left about 10.20 driving to Saltburn by the sea. We descended a 1 in 4 steep hill with hairpin bends, to the car park beside the sea that we could see very little of. We decided nevertheless to have a short walk on the beach beside the pier. The tide was out on the beach which was sandy but scattered with coal dust. It felt quite eerie walking in the fog. Saltburn looked as though it was a nice place – what we could see of it!
We drove on to Brotton (a family ancestral place). We drove around the spreading town. We located rows of terraced houses which looked as if they came from the railway era but we were hoping to see older houses. The stark church set in a green hilly area but devoid of interesting things – not even a name board, dated from Victorian times, the early Chapel and the old centre of the village doesn't exist now.
We drove on round to the cemetery, sadly neglected and overgrown. We wandered around the area of the old gravestones, many were broken buried or impossible to read. Although we know that many of my ancestors were buried here, we didn't find anything of interest.
We left and drove via Skinningrove – a strange village, where the little rows of Council type houses fill the prime position by the sea, where you would expect to find amenities, or at least a car park – to Staithes.
We had visited Staithes before at least once but our memories of it were confused. We parked at the car park at the top along with many other people. At £1 for two hours it wasn't cheap. We had lunch first then walked down the steep hill to the little village nestling below. It reminded us of Robin Hoods Bay and s certainly very attractive – even on a grey day such as this.
We walked on to the beach, then back up via a footpath through the houses and up the side of the valley to the car park.
We drove on to Port Mulgrave, where for old times sake we walked all the way down to the shaley beach and wandered along the beach in both directions, reminiscing over many previous visits here with the children to collect fossils.
We left at 3.30 and drove on to a Runswick Bay where we stopped briefly in the car park but didn't get out. It was a paying car park again and with the mist still hanging heavily we decided to head inland towards Middlesbrough.
We stopped off in Guisborough (more ancestral connections) and walked up and down the wide, pleasant High Street, deserted now at 4.30 on a Sunday. We walked up to the Priory ruins and walked around the outside of the church adjacent to it. There were lots of old gravestones, but the grass was very wet and the surroundings untidy with litter.
We left at 5 o'clock and headed for Middlesbrough. The mist had now lifted to give broken cloud. We located the so-called caravan site – in an area of playing fields. The sign said not to park on the grass between October and April but to park near the bowls court. We located this with difficulty and "parked up" for the night. We enjoyed an excellent turkey meal and played 60's Trivial Pursuit.
Guisborough Priory ruins
Monday 20th October
The wind howled during the evening and was still blowing when we awoke early in order to visit the record office in Middlesbrough.
We drove without difficulty into Middlesbrough – I tried to shop in a "Spar" – it was 9 o'clock, but the shop wasn't open. We located the record office and parked behind. We tried to go through the gate to get to the front of the building, but the gate was tied up with string. I was sure that I had seen a couple go through there and a chap in his van said that he had just come through that way. We went round to the other side of the building and found the front all cordoned off. We finally found our way in through a back entrance. It appeared that "bits were falling off the building" and they had just barricaded it off!
We had visited this record office a couple of times several years ago. Unlike Durham it is light and airy with plenty of room to move around and not too many people. We found plenty to occupy ourselves. We had a minor disturbance late morning when our van bleeper went off. Adrian returned quickly to the van (via the back entrance of the building) and discovered from a gentleman who was working in an office above, that some young kids had tried to get our bikes from the back of the van. We decided to play safe and put the bikes inside the van. It gave us an excuse to have some late elevenses. Later we returned to the Tiv for lunch of soup and toast, then it was back to the record office until they closed at 5 o'clock.
We had hoped to go for a swim afterwards. Adrian asked in the record office if there was a swimming pool nearby. "What, in Middlesbrough?". They didn't think so! What we have seen of Middlesbrough, it is a far from attractive town, although surrounded by lovely scenery.
We noticed evidence of several smashed windscreens. The people though seemed very pleasant and friendly. There were strange notices in the ladies about wiping the seat first and locking the door.
On a previous visit, about eight or nine years ago, we had seen "rag and bone" men on the streets.
We thought that there was a leisure centre at Eston, on the outskirts of Middlesbrough. "Leisure Centre – ooh, I don't know". While Adrian was fixing the bikes back on the back of the Tiv and I had had a short cycle around the decrepit area of the car park, we set off for Eston. The air hung heavy with what I thought was coal, but was more like creosote.
We found our way to Eston and located the leisure centre and on second attempt the swimming pool. It was 5.50 and the session ended at 6.30, so the friendly lady charged us half price! The pool was pleasant and almost empty and was extra long. We both enjoyed a pleasant swim and emerged feeling good.
Adrian asked about a supermarket still open and we were directed to Asda a mile or so away. We stocked up with much food and drink, again the assistants were friendly. We left and the negotiated our way back to our netball court "campsite".
I put an overlarge pizza in the oven while we were unloading the shopping and got sorted. The wind howled a bit, but we were snug in our little home.
Tuesday 21st October Whitby, Robin Hood's Bay and Ravenscar
We were up late to an overcast day and left at 10.30. We hadn't found anyone to pay but we made up for it today in car park charges. At 11.00 am the tape we were playing ended and we caught the end of the news. We heard that the replica of the Endeavour had just arrived in Whitby today and they were expecting crowds of thousands, particularly as this is half term week. Both these things were news to us! Half term week is next week "down south". As we heard the news, we also noticed the traffic signs temporally put up for the "Endeavour". It is open for just this week.
We turned off to Sandsend, which was following the signs. We drove down Lythe Bank, with memories of a walk here some years ago, to Sandsend, where we stopped to have elevenses beside the angry looking sea, reminiscing of times the children played on the beach here and filled their wellies!
We got to Whitby, with all the other crowds and were directed to a parking space – ironically beside the indoor pool; and we had searched for days to find the pool, until we finally had a swim last night! Extra car parks had been organised to cope with the crowds. Another motorhome – an Auto Sleepers Executive like ours – pulled in next to us. We said hello to the occupants, but we didn't seem to have much in common with them.
We set off to walk down to Whitby and had reached Pannets Park, when our "bleeper" went off. We hurried back to the Tiv – after yesterday's occurrence, but it was literally a "false alarm"! We set off again and mingled with the crowds. It was a real holiday atmosphere with people and stalls everywhere, which irritated Adrian but which I quite enjoyed. Everyone had "jumped on the bandwagon" and were selling prints of the Endeavour in all shapes and sizes. We had noticed this in Staithes a couple of days ago and now we knew why. There were various Street musicians out to catch the crowds and show off their talents.
We walked along to the Endeavour and I took a couple of photos.
We crossed the bridge and went into the Heritage Centre and perused the exhibition of photos and memorabilia of old Whitby. The family history part wasn't open as they were too busy with the crowds but we did buy several books. One about old inns in Whitby which mentions our Clark ancestors. We walked along some of Whitby's old streets and bought a pasty/sausage roll to keep us going until our late lunch, which we had when we arrived back at the Tiv. We left at 2.45 and headed for Robin Hoods Bay.
Here we had to park in the Station car park at the top (another £1) and walk down into Robin Hoods Bay. We have very fond memories of our many holidays here. We walked along to Storm cottage (our friends house, where we have stayed many times) and then down to the beach and back up to the Tiv.
We now headed for Ravenscar – such a long way by road – and located the certificated site in a field above the sea, with views right down to the coast.
It was 5.30, so we quickly set off for a shortish (one hour) walk along the track and back along the disused railway to Ravenscar itself (all three or four houses). Ravenscar is one of those failed ideas for development at the turn of the century. There was an idea to build lots of houses and make this into a resort (600ft above the sea, with no sand!). One or two roads were built. We walked along one – quite wide, with kerbstones laid, but unsurfaced. A real incongruity. The name stands remotely at the end of it. There is just one house!
Back at the Tiv we enjoyed the last of the light in this lovely situation and later read through some of our books we'd bought today.
Wednesday 22nd October
Is this really Ravenscar? – Not a trace of wind!
It was a fine, dry, cold morning. We left at 10.30 and drove south a few miles to Cloughton where we found, with difficulty, somewhere to park the Tiv beside the road. I made up some rolls for lunch, before setting off at 11.30 for a very pleasant walk (inspired by one in the "Railway Walks" book from Emma) along the cliffs beside the sea (part of the Cleveland Way) and back along the track of the disused Scarborough to Whitby railway.
. It was a bit too early to make it a lunch stop. We walked on to Scalby, where we had to do a bit of road and estate walking, before finding our way onto the railway, and then we couldn't find anywhere to have lunch. After finally sitting on the grassy verge beside the track to eat, we set off again and found a bench about 20 yards further on!
We arrived back at the Tiv at 2.45 and the sun came out briefly. On our walk beside the sea we had seen a solitary clump of harebells.
We set off now for Scarborough and drove around and through it, remembering previous visits many years ago. We didn't stop. It was bubbling with half term visitors.
South of Scarborough we passed a pleasant looking sandy bay called Cayton Bay, but it was surrounded by static caravan sites and "holiday villages".
At Filey we stopped and put on our wellies and walked across the wide sandy beach to paddle in the waves, remembering the previous visit here with the children.
We drove on to Flamborough passing the flattened area which had once been Butlins holiday camp. We drove to North Landing, Flamborough and stopped overlooking the little cove below with its lifeboat station, which we had visited many years ago, following Simon's visit there on a school trip.
In driving back through the village of Flamborough we had to brake suddenly when a car pulled round in front of us and there was a crash – no – of cups! I hadn't put them away and that was the end of one of them!
The car park by the lighthouse at Flamborough Head didn't welcome motorhomes etc., so we didn't stop. Also at South Landing it was the same, so we drove towards Bridlington.
We found this pleasant seaside town with lots of big sandy beaches as all this coast has. It was busy with people and seemed to have lots of shops and amusements.
We had decided to make our way home tonight having completed the Hartlepool to Bridlington section of our Road around Britain.
At about 5.45 we were aware of a very strange luminous bulbous pinky red object, just above the trees ahead of us. It was a little while before we realised that it was the sun. It looked as though it had leaked out of the deep grey sky. It had hardly been visible all day but just made this dramatic farewell.
We had a trouble-free journey home on traffic filled roads, stopping at Trowel services to reheat the remaining pizza for supper. We were surrounded by huge lorries. We noticed many more pulled up in every available space when we finally reached the A34.
We arrived home just after 10.30 pm, opened up the house to collect up the post then returned to the Tiv to sleep on the drive.
It was pleasant walking weather. I had not been feeling too good, but the fresh sea air revived me. We made our way down onto the beach at one point
The Endeavor replica at Whitby
Adrian outside Storm Cottage
Looking back to Robin Hoods Bay from Ravenscar
Adrian on the Cleveland Way north of Scarborough
Rosie on the beach north of Scarborough