Apologies that this page hasn’t been updated this year. “Must try harder!” You can see from our ‘outings’ page that we have indeed been on several trips this year and the weather on each occasion we visited Salford Quays was glorious. We chose two dates to accommodate all our members but some chose to visit twice. I shall update this page asap but will keep the details of last year’s trip to the east coast on here until I do.
Well sadly, owing to insurance issues relating to the hire of our regular mini-bus, we haven’t had any coach trips this year. Neither has the wet summer encouraged us to organise an alternative. Shame on us! We have a local mini-bus/coach company on our doorstep so it’s about time we got ourselves organised.
That said … 13 members met up in Manchester city centre (UK) last Saturday for a guided walk-about with Ron Needham. Ron has spent his working life as a professional photographer and in the process is a mine of information on the history of Manchester – even down to showing us the city-centre bus shelter that was the first (and possibly the last!) in the country to have piped music playing. A great day out and our thanks and appreciation go to Ron.
Several members have said, “More days like that, please” so we really must either hire a mini-bus or get together in cars, trains, whatever. Please send in your suggestions of where to visit via the comment box below or complete a suggestion slip at the club.
Sunday, 1 August 2010
Robin Hood’s Bay & Whitby
The wonderful thing about Britain is that you only need travel a short distance to see great variations in the countryside. In Rossendale we are used to seeing the rugged moors of the West Pennines – used for grazing our sheep and cattle. Driving along the A64 on our way to the east coast, we passed fields of intense colour: the bright yellow of rape-seed; the warming gold of wheat; and the bright green of maze crops. And how wonderful to see mile upon mile of hedgerow separating the fields across an undulating landscape. For a while it was nice to leave the camera aside and just admire the beauty.
Although the main wild-flower season has now finished there were still plenty along the roadside verges and I wondered how many different species we must have passed on our 2 hour journey? If we were to include all the different types of flowers, plants, insects, birds, animals and trees that we’d passed - I think the number would run into many thousands.
We arrived at Robin Hood’s Bay at 11:30 am and were glad we were in a minibus as all the car parks were already full but we were allowed to park in the coach area. We arranged to meet back by 2 o’clock and ambled off in our little groups of two’s and three’s – only to immediately re-convene at the hill top tea room. Well, never let a good tea room pass you by!
I hadn’t been to Robin Hood’s Bay since I was a child, but with the exception of the car park, there is little that can really change. The village, with all it’s meandering alley-ways, must have remained the same since it was built – give or take a lick of paint here and there. A place like this brings out the child in me: I want to explore! A path took me between pretty cottages to bring me out onto a headland with wonderful views across the whole bay. Then a flight of cobbled steps led me down from the rooftops to a courtyard with the prettiest of rose-covered cottages. Every now and then I would turn a corner and bump into a familiar face, then just as quickly I’d make another turn and be alone again. Their is a feeling of secrecy about the place – like you are trespassing – but a couple of polite enquiries to local inhabitants got a friendly response and assured me I was quite welcome. It is easy to imagine, as you walk up the labyrinth of pathways that you’ve stepped back in time 200 years. Had I turned a corner to find children wearing frocks and playing leapfrog and skipping, it would hardly have surprised me at all.
There was plenty left unseen for another visit; for instance, museums and exhibitions about the village but that was a good reason to return again soon. As I climbed back up the steep hill to the car park (there are also steps) I couldn’t help thinking about the local postman - he must be very fit!
And on to Whitby - only a short journey away and very busy, but then this is a Sunday in August and it’s the school holidays. Once again, we agreed a time of 6pm to meet up at the Abbey car park on the hill. It was a fine day and there was no sign of the east coast mist and rain that I remember from my childhood.
We all drifted off in generally the same direction at different speeds and had soon separated into little groups. That’s the best way when there is so much to see and no set agenda; it means everyone can go at their own pace and look at what interests them. Invariably we would catch up with people, have a chat, then move on again. A friend and I decided on a boat trip: she was fascinated by the boat because it was a 40% sized replica of the Endevour, used by Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery. I was taken by the fact that at only £3 for a 25 minute sail it seemed excellent value – and was! (Unfortunately, I’d left my purse back at home but was very grateful to see so many wallets opening up to help me out. Thank you guys! And thank you to Frank who lent me a crisp £20 note).
We sailed out of the harbour to the sound of sea-shanties. My friend suggested which side of the boat we should sit on for the best views and camera action, and I was happy to follow as I don’t know my stern from my starboard. Neither, as it turned out, did my friend! Firstly, she’d confused the front of the ship with the back! And secondly – she’d overlooked the fact that the ship would have to turn about at some point to return to shore, so where we sat would make no difference. I’m guessing that Captain Cook didn’t have those problems and I made a note never to set sail for Australia with my friend at the helm!!! Some members went for a trip on the local lifeboat – the big, orange, dinghy type – and we all waved at each other as we passed in the opposite direction. I guess there are some days you just don’t want to grow up ;o)
If you want to find out more about Whitby visit the Wikipedia link here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitby
Once more back on shore and our thoughts turned to food. Opposite the boat mooring is a fish and chip restaurant and shop called, ‘Magpie’. It has a very good reputation so we decided to eat inside. At £9.99 a portion it isn’t cheap, but it was possibly the best fish I’ve ever eaten. The batter was hot, fresh, crisp and light and the fish itself was thick and tender. The chips, too, were very good. We added a portion of deep fried courgettes to our meal: nice, but a bit too much batter in addition to the fish. Still, all very enjoyable indeed - including the glass of white wine, served delightfully cold. If you go – try and miss the usual meal times to avoid long queues.
It’s amazing how quickly time flies when you are just mooching about. By the time we had explored the pier, had our boat trip and eaten a leisurely meal, it was time to head for the Abbey – and catch up with the rest of our happy troup of explorers.
The Abbey is reachable from the town centre in one direction only. That’s up!! Wikipedia will inform you that there are one hundred and ninety nine steps to the top. Well, I lost count at about 45 when we stopped to take photographs so I am happy to take their word for it. Sadly, we had not left ourselves any time to explore, but once more – this give us a good reason to return before too long.
I often marvel at how lucky we are with the weather. We had no sooner boarded our mini-bus than it poured down as we set off back towards home. Driving along the A173 (and out of the rain once more) the distinctive shape of Roseberry Topping came into view. We stopped at the end of a convenient farm track and everyone took the chance to get ‘just a couple more shots’. As we looked across to the hill, the warm tones of the hay bales in the fields provided the perfect foreground for this famous hill … and our final photo opportunity of the day. Now, if only a lapwing or curlew …. !
For more information on Roseberry Topping see the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roseberry_Topping
And there was still just time for a pint on the way home - a nice end to a great day out. On the homeward leg of our journey, cameras were swapped between members to share pictures of the day and there was much conversation over who had seen what. It had been a lovely day, and our thanks go to Mark for driving us safely there and back.
We are already looking forward to our next tip in the Autumn to (I think) Dunham Massey. Check the ‘Outings’ page for coming details. See you there!