199 Steps

199 Steps

The steps to St Hilda’s Church and the Abbey on the cliff above Whitby. There are level areas for the pall-bearers to take a rest.
On the right is the Donkey Trod – this cobbled way was once the main road to Scarborough.

St Hilda's

Caedmon’s cross is to the right. Caedmon was a Saxon ploughman – in his dreams some of the first English poems and songs would appear. The Abbess, St Hilda thought him blessed.

Church Street

Church Street this week. Plenty of tourists.

Argument's Yard

These narrow ginnels and vennels and yards run down to the harbour from Church Street. They could be barricaded whenever pirates raided the town.
The missing apostrophe confuses visitors. The yard was owned by Mr and Mrs Argument, a local family. They were peace loving as far as we know.

Even poodles get confused.


Mr Fortune smokes herrings half-way down Henrietta Street.

kippers in the smoke-house

Herrings metamorphose into kippers in the smoke of smouldering oak chips.

kippers to go

Now I’m vegetarian, kippers are the only things ‘that had mothers’ that I miss. The man in the smoke-house said he will let me know should he ever invent a vegetarian kipper.

Whitby Harbour

Herring gull, replete after feeding on tourist chips and sandwiches.

Whitby breakwaters.

Captain James Cook sailed from here as an apprentice seaman and later under government commision to map the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. The charts he made of the Pacific NW coast of the USA and Canada are still used by navigators. Captain Bligh (of The Bounty) sailed with him and helped with the charting – some say Bligh should have much more of the credit for the chart’s astonishing accuracy.
Cook was killed on a shore in The Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii) by some Polynesians. It was a misunderstanding due to a squabble over a stolen ship’s rowing boat.

So, that is what I saw this week in Whitby after I delivered some copies of ‘Tom Fleck’ to the bookshop.

About Harry Nicholson

I once bred Beveren rabbits in all colours. Today, I'm an enameller who works with a kiln, fusing pictures in glass onto copper. On Amazon is my novel, 'Tom Fleck', set in the North of England of 1513 - the year of Flodden. A sequel to 'Tom Fleck' is 'The Black Caravel' published in 2016. My anthology of poems came out in 2015: 'Wandering About.' Recently I published memoirs of my time in the Merchant Navy: 'The Best of Days' and 'You'll See Wonders" I've a blog of poems, stories and art at: https://1513fusion.wordpress.com/
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24 Responses to 199 Steps

  1. Ina says:

    Lovely, you make me wish it was next year February already 🙂 We will be staying in Church Street. I am trying to find one of your other poems where I asked about the old Whitby name, but I can’t find it 🙂 I will keep looking!

  2. Louise says:

    Thanks for an informative and interesting post. I’m not vegetarian, but have never had kippers- one of these days whenever I get to the UK, and visit somewhere amazing like this I’ll try some.

  3. Marie says:

    Looks like a great place to visit. Thanks for wonderful text to go along with these beautiful photos. Well done.

  4. Wonderful photos! Love those!!!

    Here is my Saturday Snapshot post!

  5. Vicki says:

    Love going to far away places via the posts of others. It’s beautiful there.

    Two weeks ago I visited a lighthouse and climbed 219 stairs to get to the top. It was tough! My trips to the church would be spaced out until I could get in better shape!

    Here’s My SS

  6. Alyce says:

    Thank you for sharing! Your explanations made me chuckle.

  7. Thanks for the lovely tour! Would love to visit one day…I’m saving my pennies for a trip across the pond.

    Here’s my Snapshot: http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2011/07/saturday-snapshot-july-23.html

  8. Enjoyed looking at your photos. Congratulations for finishing a novel. That’s wonderful. Thanks for describing a “Kipper.”

  9. vivinfrance says:

    Thanks for the tour, Harry, and the interesting pictures.

  10. Deborah says:

    Wonderful Harry, I really do enjoy your trips. :o)

  11. earlybird says:

    I loved this visit. Thanks, Harry. I spent a very happy day in Whitby a couple of years ago. I’ll come back again one day. I hope.

  12. Susannah says:

    I have always wanted to visit Whitby and the coastline around that area but have never made it that far north…yet. Most of my exploring has been in Cornwall and Wales. So I really enjoyed your photos.

    I too really love your pictures of your trips, thanks for letting us tag along. 🙂

    (I am interested to read that you are vegetarian. I haven’t eaten animals for 28 years! :-))

    • You have been veggie longer than me – about 20 years in my case. At one time I had a smallholding, kept a couple of Tamworth pigs and made my own bacon – I would never have thought it possible to make the radical change. A fortnight later I was walking across the Himalaya living on lentils and rice. I did crack at one point and had something the porters cooked – it was tough and might have been knee of goat.

  13. 1sojournal says:

    Love these journeys you take us on. History and commentary from present day. Don’t think I’d do the kippers, sorry.


  14. Lovely photos of a beautiful part of the world, Harry. 🙂 I have many happy childhood memories of Whitby, Scarborough and Flamborough Head.

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