Robin Hood's Bay, UK

21st September 2018

We checked out of our hotel this morning - the Milton Hilltop, Carlisle. We really liked this place - plenty of parking, lovely welcoming entrance with a regal feel to the bedrooms, a relaxing bar, with lots of quiet tables and a nice restaurant. It was not expensive, served lovely food by a great little Asian waiter - Jien.

It poured with rain all night, coming off the back of two cyclones apparently. We left Carlisle and headed towards Appleby-in-Westmorland, on the off-chance it was sunny and we could get some decent photographs (the fact that Debbie's maiden name is Appleby may explain why we kept going back there). As soon as we arrived the sun came out and the rain mysteriously disappeared. Providence! An hour and a half and a lovely morning tea later, we moved on so Stephen could photograph some bridges, viaducts and towns along the Settle to Carlisle Railway for his website.

Crosby Garrett

Crosby Garrent is a little town on the line that is probably the only village in the UK bisected by a railway viaduct. It was a stunning little place with every building and structure in stone. We photographed the town and viaduct from just about every angle and location, dodging the showers that seemed to be following us.

Rhubarb growing wild at Soulby

Then on to Soulby, another village in the Eden district of Cumbria, where we saw a pheasant, and rhubarb growing wild on the side of the road. We crossed the town's pretty bridge on our way to Kirkby Stephen.

Brough Castle

Next was the Cumbrian village of Brough, on the western fringe of the Pennines near Stainmore. Brough Castle was built in the 11th century within the northern part of a former fort. Like many other castles in the area, Brough was restored in the 17th century by Lady Anne Clifford. The Castle is now in the care of English Heritage and its ruins can be visited. This was our last destination in the Eden Valley before heading out of the area towards Darlington and Hurworth-on-Tees to go grave hunting.

All-Saints Parish Church, Hurworth

Debbie's early family migrated to Australia from the Darlington area in the late 19th century, and so a visit to the area during our trip was high on her (and our) agenda. A great place to start looking for references to past family members is on grave stones, so we headed for All-Saints Parish Church at Hurworth where many of Debbie's ancestors were laid to rest. It didn't take us long to find some, so we photographed every headstone we could find with the name "Appleby" on it. These gravestones provided Debbie with a tangible connection to her family members who have gone on before.

Memorial stone to Debbie's great great great great grandparents William and Ann Appleby, and their sons Thomas and James, Debbie's great great great grandfather

Then we went off to photograph the Croft Bridge, which is mentioned in a book of Debbie's family history. It is a bridge they would have crossed many times as it led to their home in Silver Street, Darlington. It is an impressive old bridge with seven arches, possibly built by the Normans. Strange things have happened on Croft Bridge. In the 16th Century the Sheriffs of Durham and York met here to deliver prisoners as it marked the county border.

3 Silver Street

Our next stop was No. 3 Silver Street, where Debbie's great grandfather, James Appleby, was born in 1853. This proved to be a little elusive - the house is no longer there. It appears to have been bought by the neighbouring school soon after the family migrated to Australia, and the land is now part of the school yard. Seeing the place where they lived reduced to a bitumenised playground leaves one feeling somewhat robbed of another link to the family, with a desperate but unfulfilled hope that we'd somehow got the wrong place, and the home was actually still standing a block or two away. Sadly, much has been lost by many over the years in the name of progress, and as they say, time waits for no man.

By now, we were all crying out for sustenance, including the car. It was quite thirsty, its lunch costing $3.00 a litre, a total of £68 (Aus$136.00) so the rest of us had to be content with sandwiches. Note to self ... don't complain again about the cost of Sydney petrol.


Soon we were off to our final destination of the day - Whitby, the launching place of the sailing career of British navigator, James Cook. We were booked into the Resolution Hotel in this very touristy fishing town, which unlike its neighbour, Scarborough, is built on steep hills on either side of the harbour and has lots of steep little alleyways masquerading as roads weaving through it, with lots of stairs to climb.


Developed at a time when there were no motor cars, it has little to no parking, so we had to get a permit from the hotel to park two blocks away. We finished the day with a walk to Whitby Abbey - 200 steps up and 200 back - followed by dinner and bed.

22nd September 2018

We were up bright and early to take full advantage of the lovely showers in our rooms and by 8.30am we had left our comfortable hotel to drive to Robin Hood's Bay. What an amazing place.

Robin Hood's Bay is a small fishing village and a bay located within the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, between Whitby and Scarborough. Bay Town, its local name, is in the ancient chapelry of Fylingdales. In the 16th century Robin Hood's Bay was a more important port than Whitby. The town has a tradition of smuggling, and there is reputed to be a network of subterranean passageways linking the houses. During the late 18th century smuggling was rife on the Yorkshire coast. Vessels from the continent brought contraband which was distributed by contacts on land and the operations were financed by syndicates who made profits without the risks taken by the seamen and the villagers. Tea, gin, rum, brandy and tobacco were among the contraband smuggled into Yorkshire from the Netherlands and France to avoid the duty.

Robin Hood's Bay

The village offered rip-off parking at the top of the hill (though Stephen and Rona thought the price was quite reasonable, compared to some they had encountered down in Cornwall). We took the last available parking space, then walked down many steps and a steep road through the village and down to the bay. We passed quaint little houses and shops, the streets were only one car wide, and there was a maze of interweaving alleyways and paths to the tiny houses. It must have been a smuggler's dream when hiding from the customs officers. At the waterfront we came across the entrance to a tunnel used by smugglers to hide their contraband.

Once on our way again, we climbed the hills and took in the panoramic coastal views, with Whitby in the distance. We were now on the North Yorkshire Moors. It was 11 degrees when we stopped at Goathland (more parking fees), the village where the popular TV series Heartbeat was filmed (the fictional Aidensfield).

The sound of a steam train whistle prompted the two Steves to make a dash for the Goathland Railway Station to photograph a North Yorkshire Moors Railways train as it pulled to a stop at the platform - morning tea had to wait!

A garage at Goathland used in the TV series, Heartbeat

The village was the setting of the fictional village of Aidensfield in the Heartbeat television series set in the 1960s. Many landmarks from the series are recognisable, including the stores, garage/funeral directors, the public house and the railway station. The pub is called the Goathland Hotel, but in the series is the Aidensfield Arms. After filming for some years a replica was built in the studio.

A Ford Anglia used in the TV series, Heartbeat

The village of Goathland has a history extending from Viking times. The name Goathland is probably a corruption of 'good land'. Alternatively, it may come from 'Goda's land', Goda being an Old English personal name. In 1109 King Henry I granted land to Osmund the Priest and the brethren of the hermitage of Goathland, then called Godelandia, for the soul of his mother Queen Matilda, who had died in 1083.

We finally got our tea, coffee, scones etc. and were on our way for the 2 1/2 hour drive to Coventry via the M1 South Motorway. Luckily Rona had the iPad and Google Maps to help negotiate those tricky, sometimes-not-enough-warning-was-given and not-enough-signs-along-the-way. Driving along the M1 was just like driving on the Hume Highway in New South Wales, except there were more lanes, more vehicles and more of a sense of urgency in the way the drivers jostled for a position in the traffic flow.

Guildhall and Bayley Lane, Coventry

It was raining again when we arrived at Coventry at 3.30pm and booked ourselves into our hotel - a very nice, quiet place with good facilities and interesting decor. The look of each room was quite ingenious, with a modern, contemporary feel. Most of the "furnishings" were drawn on the wall (just as well as the real things would not have fitted), the ensuite module looked and felt like a spaceship and the "wardrobe" resembled two surf boards held together by a skateboard. We went for a walk downtown, had a great late lunch/early dinner and then back to our hotel to write this travelogue, just managing our 10,000 steps for the day.

Stephen Yarrow and Debbie Hall

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