Jo’s Monday walk : Whitby cliff tops

St. Mary's Church, suspended on the cliff top

St. Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey, suspended on the cliff top

Now, I know what you’re thinking!  ‘This lady is obsessed with cliff tops and water’.  And you wouldn’t be very far wrong.  After the cliffs at Sagres in the Algarve, and last week’s Seaham walk, it’s becoming a recurring theme.  I do try to vary my walks for you, but I can’t help being just a little biased.

This week we’re going down the North Yorkshire coast to Whitby.  Last time I took you there we went window shopping.  It’s a small town that has something for everyone, but my favourite part is unquestionably up on the cliff, looking down.  First we have to get up there.  We’ll tackle the steps pretty soon, to get them out of the way.  Your reward can be fish and chips afterwards. Agreed?

The car park is right next to the marina- a good place to start

The car park is right next to the marina- a good place to start!

And today there's a treat! The swing bridge is opening.

And today there’s a treat! The swing bridge is opening.

In all my years, I have rarely seen this sight in the bustling little port.  A crowd gathers to watch the sailboat go by, and as the gates swing shut again, a queue forms to cross over the bridge.  A delightful party of small schoolchildren with cheery blazers were being corralled by their teachers. I’d have loved a shot but they were too fidgety!  Over we go, to be met by a confusion of signs.

There is a confusion of signs! And can you see the bubbles coming out of that box?

I thought these bubbles were with the schoolchildren, but apparently not!

And then it's the steps!

Then it’s the steps!  Only 199 of them

But don't worry!  You can stop to admire the view.

But don’t worry! You can keep stopping to admire the view.

It's lovely in either direction

It’s lovely in either direction

Here's an interesting place to live!

Here’s an interesting place to live!  Next to Caedmon’s Trod

And at the top St. Mary's Church is beckoning

And at the top, St. Mary’s Church quietly waits

Whitby has been welcoming visitors for a long time.  The earliest record of a permanent settlement is 656AD, when an abbey was founded on the East Cliff by Oswy, the Christian king of Northumbria.  Viking raiders destroyed the monastery that followed, and for 200 years the site lay desolate, until after the Norman Conquest of 1066.  The area was then granted to William de Percy who, in 1078, donated land upon which was constructed a Benedictine Monastery, St. Mary’s Church and the town and port of Whitby.

The name Whitby comes from Old Norse, meaning ‘White Settlement’.  It was here, in Whitby Abbey, that the earliest recognised English poet, Caedmon, a former cowherd, lived and worked. The town has a strong literary history and famously features in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Set on the River Esk, Whitby has a sheltered harbour, and in the 18th century the port was a thriving centre for shipbuilding, whaling and the transport of locally mined alum and jet.  The jet became very fashionable when Queen Victoria adopted it for her mourning jewellery on the death of Prince Albert.  Whitby jet shops still feature prominently in the cobbled streets today.

The clouds are gathering, so it's time to move on

The clouds are gathering, so it’s time to move on

We pass the entrance to the Abbey ruins

Pass by the entrance to the Abbey ruins

And out on the cliff top, look back at Whitby Abbey

And out on the cliff top, look back at Whitby Abbey and the pier

Ahead of us lies Saltwell Nab

Ahead lies Saltwell Nab

And beyond that, Whitby Holiday Park, balanced precariously on the cliffs

And beyond that, Whitby Holiday Park, balanced precariously on the cliffs

At this point you can turn inland and follow a path back to the coast road, but I wanted to see more.  We are only 1 mile out of Whitby, and 5 miles further down the coast is idyllic Robin Hood’s Bay.  I continue on, along the Cleveland Way.

Whitby is still visible in the distance

Whitby is still visible in the distance

And below the bay glistens

And below, the glistening bay

While colourful Cinnebar moths  flutter at the cliff's edge

While colourful red and black Cinnebar moths explore delicious yellow cowslips

Another treat in store next- a former lighthouse and fog-horn station

Another treat awaits – a lighthouse and a fog-horn station!

‘Hornblower Lodge’ is now a holiday cottage, but was formerly a fog-horn station, fondly known as the Whitby Bull.  The original horn was switched off in 1987 but before that it worked in conjunction with Whitby High Light.  The lighthouse is only 13 metres high but is positioned on the cliff top, 73 metres above high water level, with a range of 18 nautical miles.

The lighthouse also has holiday cottages to let, details included in the link.

High light

Whitby High Light

Wouldn't you like to live here?

Wouldn’t you like to live here?  I would!

Or how about 'Hornblower Cottage'?

Or how about ‘Hornblower Cottage’?

A lane heads inland from the cottage, taking you past farmland, and soon you are back on the coastal road.  You can follow this all the way back to Whitby and visit the Abbey, if you like.  It’s well worth a visit, and there is a restaurant on site.  Or you can save the visit for another day and take the footpath to your left, just past the Holiday Park sign.  This will bring you back into Whitby, threading your way down through the houses to end up almost opposite your start point.

Heading back to Whitby

Heading back to Whitby

Down the steps through the houses

Down the steps, and past the houses

Back at your start point, at the harbourside

Till you’re back at our start point, by the harbour

These are the newest lobster pots I ever saw!

These are the newest lobster pots I have ever seen!

Speaking of lobster, I seem to remember we had an agreement?  Whitby is full of fish and chip shops but ‘Hadleys’ is a favourite of mine.  Always busy, I don’t know how the girls stay so cheerful.  You’ll find it on the corner, just over the swing bridge and before the Whitby steps.

No, I haven't forgotten!  Believe me, they are really good

A little expensive, but very good

Just one last photo, for Jill, who thinks my skies are always blue

Just one last photo, for Jill, who thinks my skies are always blue!

The downpour drove me inside the excellent Tourist Information Centre, right by the car park, but it didn’t last for long.  Or I could have gone shopping for Whitby jet.

What do you think?

What do you think?

My walk is about 6 miles in total, or the shorter version 4 and a half.  I hope you enjoyed it.  If you don’t drive, Whitby is easily accessible by rail from Middlesbrough.  This link will give you lots more information about the area, to encourage you to visit.

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I’m so lucky this week!  Meg has agreed to be my tour guide to the Wilanow Palace in Warsaw  :

And she doesn’t mind a spot of rain, either  :

Drake introduced me to Svendborg in Denmark.  What a beauty!  :

Please don’t miss Jude’s Logan Botanic Gardens.  You will be bedazzled!  :

Sylvia is running out of time for her beach walks, but don’t be sad!  :

And I got deluged at the falls with Amy- and loved it!  :

Pauline (you know her as Pommepal) has sent me a post all the way from Canberra, down under  :

And I thought I’d just update you on Elaine  :

That’s quite a lot of reading for you so you’ll need a cuppa (or two!).  I promise to find you a flat walk for next week.  If you’d like to join me, just click on the logo for details.

Six word Saturday


An old dog, and new tricks!

One of my old shots, given a new look

One of my old shots, given a new look

Superb effect, isn’t it?  I could bore everybody witless with this one but I think it’s SO clever!  You might have seen the photo on my Thursday’s Special, using the same technique?  It’s done by using a free download called Lunapic.  I think it’s absolutely amazing!

And another oldie, brought to life

And another oldie, brought to life!

The forecast is for storms this weekend so if you’re stuck at home, here’s something to play with. If I can find the time, I will too! Both photos are of Hartlepool Headland.

But first I need to visit Cate at Show My Face to play Six word Saturday.  Have a happy weekend!


Summer Spotlight: Johanna Bradley

Originally posted on Jill Weatherholt:

IMG_1206You know that sense of panic you have when confronted with a blank sheet of paper? Well, I’m experiencing it right now! I’m Johanna Bradley, by the way, and I run a blog called Restlessjo. The blog is my writing space, and I can kick off my shoes and feel totally comfortable in there. I hope my visitors can too.

When I tentatively suggested to Jill that I would be up for a little Friday Fun, it seemed like a good idea. Now I’m wondering whatever possessed me to mingle with so many great writers and high achievers. Maybe I’m hoping that a little inspiration will rub off on me. Words have always been my friends, but occasionally they can be the enemy too.

How did I get into blogging? For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the travel bug. I always kept a diary when I…

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1 Day 1 World Project : 10.00- 11.00pm

My favourite clematis

My favourite clematis

Just got time to squeeze this in, before another week takes over!  I wasn’t quite so adventurous this week, although it was another lovely evening and I would like to have been out and about.

I kept an eye on the time as dusk gently descended and just after 10.00pm, I went upstairs to look out of the back bedroom window.  There are a couple of spotlights in the garden that make it rather pretty on an evening.  Then into the garden for a close up.  It had rained quite hard at teatime and everything had a soft sheen.  Sorry I haven’t really managed to capture it for you.

And very close!

Who knows- next week it’ll probably be the cup of cocoa!  I can’t remember when I had one last.

What were you up to between 10.00 and 11.00pm this week?  Lisa would really like to know. Follow her project on this link.


Thursday’s Special again!

Lake at Sedgefield

Fire and water don’t mix, do they?  Which is a real shame because I wanted to submit this for Thursday’s Special and you never saw a hotter image of Paula!

Clever effect, isn’t it?  Visit Lunapic to see how it’s done.  Many thanks to Amanda for helping to increase my wisdom.



Jo’s Monday walk : Seaham ‘Tommy’

Sculpture Eleven O One, known by the locals as Tommy

Sculpture Eleven O One, known by the locals as ‘Tommy’

It’s a far cry from the cliff tops of the Algarve to the Green above the cliffs in former mining town, Seaham, but that’s where our walk will take us this week.  The campaign to keep Tommy in place has attracted national attention, and I needed to see him for myself.

Built out of special corten steel by local sculptor, Ray Lonsdale, Eleven O One is so named for the armistice which came into effect at 11am on November 11, 1918.  His air of total bone weariness and despair makes you want to throw an arm around him. Originally intended to be in place for just 3 months, Tommy has touched so many hearts that donations have almost raised the £85,000 needed to keep him.

I’ve taken you to Seaham before, though not on my Monday walks.  It has a long seafront and a pretty little marina.  Come with me and I’ll show you a bit more.

I'm starting at the car park at the far end of the front

I’m starting at the car park at the far end of the front

And walking back along it

And walking back along it towards the lighthouse

Pausing to admire the many rock pools

Pausing to admire the many rock pools

There's a lot of cloud today

There’s a lot of cloud today

So the sea isn't at it's twinkly best

So the sea isn’t quite at it’s twinkly best

But it's still a place where the starfish like to play

But it’s still a place where the starfish like to play!

For the moment we will bypass the Green, where a crowd gathers to have a photo taken with Tommy.  I will come back when it’s quieter, to lay a hand on his knee and try to console him. Instead, we will drop down into the marina, not looking quite so pretty today with heavy skies.

Boats can always snare my attention

Boats can always snare my attention

With a waft of flowers to cheer them up

With a waft of flowers to cheer them up

And some noble weeds

And a few noble weeds

There are good views out to the lighthouse from the cafe that sits above the marina, and the RNLI have an excellent museum, showcasing the lifeboat, if you have time to browse.

Leaving the marina, I look out to the lighthouse

Leaving the marina, I look out to the lighthouse

And the view around the bay

And back across the bay, at Seaham , above the cliffs

There are miles of cliff tops so you can extend the walk as far as you want.  There are parking facilities at both ends of the seafront and also by the Green.  A lower promenade takes you closer to the beach, or you can check out the craft shops and sample local cuisine if that appeals more. But now it’s time to return to Tommy.

Could anything be more sad?

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Time I shared with you some brilliant walks from last week.  You can click on the logo above or my Jo’s Monday walks page for details of how to join in.  You’re always very welcome.

First up we have Elaine, fresh from the Three Peaks Challenge on Saturday.  I think she’s earned a rest this week!  :

Drake has been a loyal supporter since I started my walks.  Come with us to lovely Strasbourg  :

Jude always has an eye for a beautiful garden and this week is no exception  :

The Alcazar in Seville is a special place, especially when seen through Amy’s lens  :

You need a strong stomach for Sue’s post this week.  Deep fried Oreos?  After you!  :

Happy walking folks!  I hope to see you next week.

Six word Saturday


Have you climbed a vertical pier?

The Vertical Pier, at Redcar

The Vertical Pier, at Redcar



Its setting on the waterfront is quite dramatic

Its setting on the waterfront is quite dramatic at sunset

With only the windmills for company

With only the wind farm for company

And a boat or two

And the odd boat or two

But when the lights come on, there's a hint of magic

But when the lights come on, there’s just a hint of magic

Sadly I wasn’t there long enough to see it fully lit, nor to climb the tower.  At £1.6 million it hardly represents value for money, but it is definitely different.  Part of a regeneration programme to breathe new life into this North Yorkshire town, it’s not so much a pier as a viewing platform, with 360 degree views of Redcar.

Renamed the Redcar Beacon, following a public vote, the tower has free admission and cafe facilities on the ground floor.  What was I doing in Redcar?  Attending an open evening for a friend’s latest venture.  If you happen to be passing, say ‘hello’ to The Clock Gallery.  There are some great photos on show.

What are you up to this weekend?  If you have some spare time, why not visit Cate at Show My Face, and play Six Word Saturday?  Have a good week!


1Day 1World Project: 9.00-10.00pm


Approaching Hart Village as night falls

I’ve followed this project almost from it’s beginnings and every week I mean to join in.  We’ve had a couple of lovely sunsets this week but I was bored with my usual ‘back bedroom window’ scenario.  Trouble is, most of my days are pretty busy and I can rarely summon the energy for an evening stroll.

It seems such a waste when those Summer nights will be shortening soon.  So, I grabbed my jacket and off I went, up the hill in search of a sunset.

The sun's last rays were just gilding this statue, at the Golf Club

The sun’s last rays were just gilding this statue, at the Golf Club

I scurried up the hill, which is quite steep (another reason I don’t do evening strolls), desperate to reach the top before the light faded.  Cars swept past me, racing for home, or the pub.

That glow on the horizon lured me on

That glow on the horizon urged me on

I was on the edge of the village- almost there!

I was on the edge of the village- almost there!

But still I couldn’t find the vantage point I really wanted, and those sweeping views I had in mind. I raced up through the village, nodding to the occasional dog walker.  Past St. Mary Magdalene’s lovely church and into Butts Lane, I started to look at my watch. Time in the allotted slot was ticking away.  I’ve never been very good with deadlines!

But then I thought to myself, ‘does it really matter?’  Here I am, out in the world with my camera, doing what I love best.  Lucky to be alive.

And the sheep seemed to concur!

And the sheep seemed to concur!

You’ve seen these sheep already today, on Paula’s Thursday’s Special.  They were very interested in what I was up to, lurking on the outskirts of Hart Village.

I peeped in through the farmyard gates

I peeped in through the farmyard gates

And admired the sign

And admired the sign

And then it was time to head for home, tired but happy.  I had already walked to Hart earlier in the day for a t’ai chi class, and retraced my walk for Christine on the return journey.  Thankfully, my days are not always so hectic.

I glanced in at the village pub, half tempted

I glanced in at the village pub, half tempted

But I didn’t fancy the walk back to town in the dark.  A quiet glass of wine at home would be my reward, and it was all downhill on the return journey.

Admiring the fish-shaped clouds

Admiring the fish-shaped clouds

I cannot claim that this was a typical evening, but I enjoyed it very much.  I hope that you did too. The photos were all taken between 9.00 and 10.00pm.

Lisa’s 1 Day 1 World Project is an interesting one.  Why not follow the links and join in?



Jo’s Monday walk : Fortaleza de Sagres

The Wind Compass in Sagres fort

The Wind Compass, inside the fort at Sagres

When we started our epic journey, I had the west coast of the Algarve firmly in mind.  Known for its cooling breezes on warmer days and its wild stretches of Atlantic facing beach, I planned a visit to the Costa Vicentina.  Unfortunately, by the time we had completed last Monday’s walk at the Barragem de Bravura and our sojourn at Figueira beach, it was already mid afternoon.

The uppermost thing in our minds was a drink.  Water, wine, orange juice- almost anything would have done by this stage!  So, what did I end up with?  A tin of Sagres, the locally brewed beer.  I am not, by nature, a beer or lager drinker, but the popping of the can was bliss to my ears. Parking the car on the clifftop at Sagres, we almost ran downhill to the nearest kiosk.  Michael selected his favourite, Fanta orange, and sat, staring vacantly at yet another beach.

The town beach at Sagres, with the Fortaleza in the distance

Mareta, the town beach at Sagres, with the Fortaleza in the distance

I had planned to call at Sagres on my way back from the Costa Vicentina.  The last time I had been, it was a chilly, overcast day, early in the year.  Not today!

The town has an interesting history and is closely linked to Henry the Navigator, who set up a nautical school locally.  He helped to finance the Portuguese voyages of discovery, and by the time of his death, in 1460, landings had already been made at Sierra Leone in Africa.  An amazing achievement for the tiny caravels!  The Sagres link above takes you to Wikipedia, for some details.

Having got a second wind, it was time to stroll through the town and along the Rua de Fortaleza, the approach to the mighty fortress.  Of course, Michael wanted to know why we couldn’t just have parked in the enormous parking bays beside the fort.  Where’s the drama in that?

The Rose Compass

The Rose Compass, or sundial

Inside the simple church

Inside the simple church

The purpose of the Rose Compass is a little uncertain.  It may well have been a navigational aid, or just a sundial.  The setting is undeniably powerful.  Soaring cliffs drop away on either side of you, as you gaze out at the open sea.

Work on the huge battlements is ongoing, and not entirely sympathetic, but I found myself moved my the place.  A path leads out around the headland, with majestic views.

The shoreline crumbles beneath you

The shoreline crumbles beneath you

The canon still poised, ready!

With canon still poised, ready!

In the far distance, Cabo S. Vicente lighthouse- the most westerly spot in Europe

Far distant Cabo S. Vicente lighthouse- the most westerly spot in Europe

The beacon, closer to hand

The beacon, closer to hand

Yellow polka dots strewn among the plummy aliums

Yellow polka dots mingle with the plumy aliums

The view back to Mareta, and beyond

The view back to Mareta beach

The feet were tiring as we headed back through the hefty tunnel entrance.  Tiny Praca da Republica, the main square, has a choice of restaurants with outdoor tables.  ‘A Cabana’ suited us nicely.  I imagined it would be a lively spot on an evening but it was time for the drive home.  It had been quite a day! walking logo

Even as I was taking this walk, I just knew it had to be one of my Jo’s Monday walks.  What I could never have imagined is what took place last week.  On Sunday, 30th June, I received a walk from Christine at Dadirridreaming, back in Australia after a wonderful European holiday.  She and Stuart had taken the walk up Glastonbury Tor one rainy day on their visit to England.   We joked about the weather!

In this virtual world of ours, it’s easy to miss comments sometimes.  Christine’s last comment to me, on 1st July, I didn’t spot.  She was advising me that I should link my walking logo to my Jo’s Monday walk page, as she had done.  I have, Christine.  I have!  How very typical of this dearly loved woman, and I’m in tears again as I share this with you.

It’s hard to follow that, isn’t it?  But when you have some time, please return here and share the walks of my other contributors last week.  There are some very fine ones.

Drake takes us to beautiful Berchtesgarten  :

It was wonderful to have been joined this week by Laura.  And only 3 weeks after back surgery, that’s impressive!  :

Jude took me down Memory Lane with a glorious evening stroll around Derwentwater  :

You will certainly not have ‘the blues’ when you see Elisa’s post!  It made my heart skip  :

A friend you may not know, Kat, has introduced me to beauty and thrills in Corsica.  It’s one not to miss  :

And last, but never least, Yvette has gone on a Summer break, but not without leaving me a great post :

It’s been an emotional week, hasn’t it?  I’m off out walking very soon but will catch up with you all this evening.  Have a good week my friends.