Getting away from it all…

Honorary OU life member Sue Goodyear is off on another adventure - and this time she finds herself in Whitby, a seaside town in Yorkshire with great history!

Getting away…well, that doesn’t mean escaping the weather as a recent trip to Whitby showed. Does someone secretly lift the top layer of the ocean and then hurl it across the land, drenching everything in its wake?

Whitby is a place I have never been before, it involved a 6.5-hour train journey passing through towns and cities including Nantwich, Crewe, Manchester and Middlesbrough. I had heard of Whitby as a fishing port of long-standing, so I was looking forward to dining on fresh fish.


Normally as a traveller who stays in hotels or bed and breakfast, I was staying in an Airbnb that slept up to 10 people. I was interested to see how this differed from my normal travel arrangements. Friends organised the stay at about 15-minutes walk from the town centre in well proportioned and facilitated accommodation. 

Now Whitby has for me a scary element. It’s linked with Dracula. I don’t do scary but I could see the skies in the artwork reflected the skies I saw, giving the feel of a dramatic area. The Abbey ruins are situated at the top of a flight of steps – 199 to be exact. Every 10th step shows in Roman numerals how many had been ascended.

Something I had never experienced before was a storyteller. It had been arranged for a local storyteller to come and tell us about the area. With electric lights dimmed and candlelight flickering in the spacious lounge we sat surrounding the storyteller as they imparted local knowledge, all the better for us to understand and enjoy of some of the sights we were to encounter. Who would believe we would eventually spot the gravestones engraved with skull and crossbones to indicate a pirate's final resting place…

For those wanting a workout both physically and aerobically, a walk down the very steep roads to Robin Hood's Bay. Narrow streets and cobbled alleyways bring history flooding back; horse and carts, clogs and a hard-working life.

Fish. I can’t write this without mentioning fish as for five days it became the centre of my dining experience. Fish pie, fish and chips, smoked kippers and kedgeree. Each dish so wonderfully fresh and airing the accommodation after the kippers and kedgeree became necessary. Returning to the house we still had faint odours even after the doors and windows were flung open amid cries of ‘must remember to also put the rubbish bin out, as this will mean the smell goes even quicker!’.

For those who are Goths, then you will be pleased to know Whitby has a gravitational pull, and with Halloween having recently been and gone, Goths found themselves heading there for a few days. So no holiday romance for me and thankfully no love bites on the neck… And no press-ganging into service on a ship for Captain Cook or any other sea captain.

I would go back to Whitby. How did I end up here? Well as part of my OU learning journey I ended up with a narrowboat, and I  have since met a load of boaters who arrange social get-togethers and trips away. Funny how my study days are now continuing in a new way through travel and social gatherings. So Whitby and I will one day reunite as there is more to explore, I would love to head there early next year to find out more about their steampunk event, but it might be too scary for me. I will stick to beachcombing, looking for jet.

Note: According to Wikipedia, Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.

Posted on behalf of Sue Goodyear.

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One Comment

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  1. One can never visit Whitby without coming away with an aversion of the smell of fish and chips eaten out of cardboard box whilst walking through the narrow steets which do not allow the odour to escape Next time you stray there Sue just take part in the ‘fish and chip experience’ at the Magpie and then leave town asap.
    Beautiful pictures and no smell. ☢️