Shiver me timbers, and avast me hearties! Wanna see my Jolly Roger? Aarrrr!

We scraped our barnacles off in Whitby during August 2005, in a self-catering cottage at Captain Cook’s Haven.

About 20 minutes walk from the centre of Whitby, on the edge of the River Esk just below the old railway viaduct. The cottages are managed by Hoseasons, and are very well maintained and furnished. The small site extends from the road level with the top of the viaduct, all the way down to the river bank. There’s a private indoor swimming pool at the top of the hill. The old railway track is now a flat cycle path all the way to Scarborough, with a cycle hire shop within reasonable distance of the site. We had a barbeque patio on the riverbank just outside our cottage, with a good view of the river and the steam trains passing on the opposite bank.

Whitby 009View from outside our cottage, showing the old railway viaduct crossing the Esk Valley Whitby 072And a view of the cottages from the steam train, as it passed by on the other side of the river. Some of the cottages are at the top of the hill, almost level with the viaduct

Whitby Abbey and St Mary’s Church

Took a walk up the 199 steps to see the church and the abbey ruins. I can understand how Bram Stoker was inspired to write Dracula by the church graveyard – even on a nice warm summer’s day, it was a windswept godforsaken place. The blackened gravestones lent it a foreboding atmosphere. Later that day, we sent Matthew on a sea fishing trip. Three hours (and a very heavy rainshower) later, he arrived back with a big smile on his face and clutching a single mackerel!

Whitby 045Whitby Abbey ruins Whitby 048St Mary’s Church
Whitby 116Whitby Abbey ruins, seen from the whalebone arch on the West Cliff Whitby 120Can you spot Matthew going on a sea-fishing trip? He came back several hours later, cold and wet but with a Mackerel!

The Grand Turk

Moored in Whitby harbour while we were there, the Grand Turk recently played the part of ‘HMS Victory’ in the Trafalgar celebrations. A family visitor ticket cost £10, and we were able to explore above and below decks including the Captain’s cabin at the stern. There was a rope-making demonstration for the kids, making rope on a smaller scale as multicoloured necklaces. The ship’s cannon went off several times a day, and you could hear it all around Whitby!

Whitby 054Target practice… Whitby 067…meanwhile the crew are busy below deck

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Steam trains run on a preservation railway from Grosmont down to Pickering (about 18 miles). During the summer, you can catch occasional steam connection services from Whitby station along the Esk Valley line to the interchange at Grosmont. We grabbed a pub lunch at Pickering, before returning via Goathland station (featured in ‘Heartbeat’ and also the ‘Harry Potter’ film). A family day ticket Whitby-Pickering all-line return cost us £45.

Whitby 109One of the Whitby – Grosmont steam connection services, seen from our cottage window Whitby 108and a steam service leaving Whitby Station

Sea Life Centre, Scarborough

Spent a couple of days in Scarborough – one on the beach and browsing all the trinket shops, and another slightly north of the town looking round the Sea Life Centre. A family ticket cost us nearly £30. There’s the usual collection of indoor aquaria, but also an outdoor area with penguins, seal and sea-otter enclosures. Highlight of the visit was either the jellyfish section (all the tanks are illuminated with ultraviolet light), or the two rescued sea turtles in the large indoor “shark” tank.

Whitby 137Matthew and Charlotte looking in the ray tank Whitby 150Charlotte at the seal enclosure
Whitby 129Jellyfish! Whitby 164and the rock pools outside the centre,
where Scalby Beck runs down into the sea