Day 10 (Wednesday)—Beaches and a Castle
Once Heather had bounded to breakfast and back we bounded down towards the seaside. Excitedly we went down the hill to the north bay sands, walking along the beach with the castle looming high up in front of us on the headland. The tide was making its way in but there were still plenty of rock pools to explore as we went along the sand and Heather could paddle. We climbed up from the end of the beach to follow the road round the coast beneath the headland.
The south bay seems to be the busier, more tourist orientated of the two bays flanking the headland. There lie the amusement arcade and rides. What is harder to find is a pub; we had to walk quite a way down the seaside, slowed by Heather’s popping in and out of trinket shops in search of the obligatory thimble, before we found the Newcastle Packet (hey, if you need a pub look to the Geordies!)
We watched the donkeys giving rides a bit and looked at some sandcastles before needing to get back up the hill to go towards the castle. The lazy way of doing that is to take the Central Tramway, a furnicular railway run by the oldest surviving tramway company in the world. For the grand total of 75 pence each one can’t complain at the cost of the labour saving trip, unlike the cost of the public toilets I called in at the bottom (40p is more expensive than even London station toilets!)
Height gained it was on towards the castle, stopping off at a restaurant/take-away for fish and chips (even if we did have to go hunting someone in the takeaway part to say we’d like a table, and to pay them). Scarborough Castle is up a steep hill but well worth the climb. The gatehouse is imposing enough and once through the ticket office to one side (English Heritage members, so free 🙂 ) one climbs the closely defended entrance passage to emerge on the headland by the keep, still imposing despite having been slighted. Most of the castle’s area is the grassy headland which stretches away towards the sea. We circumnavigated it, taking in the spectacular views of Scarborough. At the far end are the remains of a chapel upon the site of a Roman signal tower. There was also a well, on which sat a mad lady.
To the south of the headland one begins to encounter the remains of the castle walls, with accommodation butting up against the inside and the foundations of a further hall set within the bailey. Crossing back into the inner bailey we huffed and puffed up the stairs to the viewing platform set on the walls. There was some excitement at the top as news spread that a seaplane was due to arrive. Apparently part of a recreation of a 1913 flight we watch as the plane swooped several times, circling around. Just a pity it never landed.
After that there was only the walk across past the inner bailey well to the keep. Slighted after the civil war the keep is a but a shell, only one side standing to anything like its full height. Whilst one can go inside it’s only via the modern walkways and stairs one can attain any real height and then only to first floor or so.
With the day fading we left the castle behind, pausing at St Mary’s Church, partly because the graveyard contains the resting place of Anne Bronte but mainly because the churchyard is a pretty place to sit and rest. We enjoyed the sun and working out the remains of the church portion knocked down in the civil war to form a clear firing line to the castle.
The way back down from the castle was easier than the climb up (and we spotted a windmill in the distance we hadn’t known was there) but the climb back to the hotel wasn’t. Tired out we squeezed into our room for the evening.
Day 11 (Thursday)—A Last Bit of Sea
The next morning we worried about what to do with bags and thought of just staying around the station until the Lyness very kindly offered to store them for us. So we got a bus round to the seaside (not so bad as normal for the simple reason the regular bus service in Scarborough seems to be open top!) Back at the south bay Heather had the chance of more paddling in the slightly chilly sea.
The march in time is ever onwards though and so it came time to catch the bus back to our bags. Having a return ticket we went to catch the bus, same number as we got, only to be told the ticket wasn’t valid as it was a different company! Two companies running the same number bus on very similar routes, what a strange system—one can’t help but think they are looking to capitalise on the inevitable confusion. Kindly the driver let us on anyway so we were soon in a taxi from hotel to station and a train whisked us away through the Yorkshire countryside to our connection in York.
We were only supposed to have a quick change in York but our London bound train was delayed an hour and rather than simply look for another it at least gave us the opportunity of lunch in the station pub. And then it truly was away, holiday gone and done. What a joyful time.
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