We were staying in a caravan in Whitby, or rather, not in Whitby, but above and behind it, like in the old days.
We used to camp up here year after year – a fresh air get-away. The highlight was walking along the cliff path which hugs the edge of the fields on one side and plunges straight down to the sea just beyond a crooked wire fence on the other. We would descend the 199 steps into Whitby, mooch around the shops and walk along the sea walls, then trip back up the steps to our haven above the cliffs.
Whilst we regularly return to Whitby it had been a long time since we‘d stayed on the cliff top as tents were no longer welcome at the site. However, we had been very pleased to take up the offer of staying in a friend’s caravan.
Our first day was taken up with enjoying the open views from our bolthole – miles of green fields and wide blue skies, with a glimpse of Whitby Abbey in the distance; and refamiliarising ourselves with the piers, cafes and shops of the town.
Although I think I’ve had my fill of the cobbles in the old part – painful bumps, deep fissures that the wheelchair (and Pete) struggled to manoeuvre out of and such numbers of people to negotiate!
In the evening we returned to enjoy the views by night. It was now distinctly autumnal but so fresh, making you feel very alive.
The next day, Pete did an early morning check of the footpath and returned to say that he thought it was negotiable by wheelchair from the site right along to Whitby Abbey, above the town.
This was great news. I had been pushing away those memories of all the coastal walks we’d done round here, which wasn’t helped by the fact that the caravan was right next to one of the footpaths along which a steady flow of people passed, clearly enjoying the walk.
I didn’t need to think of that any more. Soon I was on the path myself, peering through the fence and following the line of steep cliffs careering down to the sea hundreds of feet below. The tide was out and we watched tiny people walking their dogs across the flat rocks. And we simply watched and listened to the sea.
After about half a mile we reached the ruins of Whitby Abbey, and shortly after that, having bowled through Dracula’s graveyard, we found a bench overlooking the town. From here we had spectacular views of the harbour, the maze of houses with their red roofs, and, of course, the sea.
It was great to be back on top – and I didn’t have to negotiate the 199 steps either!