Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday 5 September - Whitby and the North York Moors Railway

The double deck Coastliner bus took us directly to Whitby. We travelled via Malton and Pickering. The grain has been harvested and the hay made into very large bales. One of the problems at this time of year is the tractors that move large trailers of hay at slow speeds on the highway. We were delayed several times through this yet the bus was able to keep to the timetable throughout the two hour plus journey. At one point we made a detour to serve Flamingoland. We passed over a narrow stream along which two swans were taking three cygnets.  One white bird, one bringing up tgecrear and three brown grey birds in between. The stream was not more than a metre wide. It was misty in places and a thick fog developed as we climbed up to pass over the North York Moors. There were extensive patches of purple heather in which could be seen grazing sheep, many with curved horns. Over the moors the sheep grazed along the unfenced road. There were a few dry stone walls but mostly hedges to mark boundaries. Going along the high moorland roads in thick fog produced an atmosphere suitable for Bram Stoker (who wrote Frankenstein in Whitby) or the Hound of the Baskervilles.
The Magpie is a white building just right of centre
At Whitby we crossed the bridge to wander through the narrow cobbled streets. We were particularly taken with one place unusually named Arguments Yard. 
Returning across the bridge we were delayed as the span was opened to allow three yachts to exit the inner harbour. As expected, there was a preponderance of fish and chip shops, rock shops, ice cream vendors, pubs and amusement arcades.  We were taken with the Den of Antiquity. We had been recommended to try the Magpie which turned out to be an excellent fish restaurant. Not only did they serve superlative fish and chips but they had a very wide selection of fish and seafood and were skilled at preparation other than deep frying.
I started with a Whitby Kipper.  The bread and butter and strawberry were provided to cleanse the palate.
Mary started with an excellent plate of scallops
A six wheele3d Sentinel steam bus was giving rides around the town.
Nobody was in the water which even looked cold for paddling.
Whitby is a working port
There was time for a short walk to the sea wall and then we returned to the station to catch the train to Pickering. The NYMR has been running into Whitby for a couple of years now but the new platform and run round loop has only been in use for two weeks. There is a need to sort out the crowd control as the man technically in charge had no idea. Our train of old blood and spilt milk cars was scruffy and in need of a good clean. It was hauled by a Stanier class five. The route is pleasant enough but the ride was slow with a number of unexplained pauses. We saw several pheasants and although the line runs through the moors they are completely hidden because it is in a valley. The bus is a much better moors experience.
Stanier Black Five 45428 at Pickering
Click here to see all pictures taken at Whitby and Pickering
At Pickering we made our way to the Coastliner bus stop where we found two Australians and two Americans and a discussion ensued over the time of the next bus to York. They felt that the bus would arrive in two minutes but I pointed out that as it was a school day the bus had already left and we would have to wait an hour for the next one. We went into the nearby Royal Oak where the barmaid admitted that she had given wrong information as she had forgotten about schooldays.
The bus shelter was conveniently located close to the Royal Oak
John Smith's was excellent
The wait wasn't too much of a problem as we just bought a drink and sat in the bar where we had a long discussion with a 73 year old local who had had two strokes and a triple by pass.  "If you rest you rust".
While waiting for the bus we were observed from a room above the supermarket across the road
The bus arrived at the time I predicted and brought us back just after 6 o'clock. It was a good day but there was a lot of travelling just to spend a few hours on the coast.
This evening we tried a new pub, the Black Swan. It is just a short way away from the tourist area that it had mainly local people. The bar was pleasant and I enjoyed a Timothy Taylors Landlord.