We decided to spend a couple of days at Scarborough on the east coast, just for a change of scenery and catch up with family.
We drove over late Sunday afternoon as the weather was suppose to be foul (it wasn’t in the end – typical) and found our campsite, at Scalby north of Scarborough. We literally found our spot, stuck a stake in the ground to claim it and drove off, down towards Cayton Bay where we were due to meet both our daughters and where dogs were allowed on the beach.
We had to drive through Scarborough to get to Cayton Bay. Handsome houses lined the road as we followed the road in. Scarborough’s suburbs seemed full of well maintained, smart houses but as we entered the centre, it went all awry. For the town planners, some fifty years ago, decided that the 1960’s fashion for square, squat and downright ugly concrete buildings was the way to go. Now, they were a jarring footnote and need a stick of dynamite. Thankfully, it only affected some 200 yards of prime real estate, but took the edge off the lovely Art Deco Stephen Joseph theatre on the corner. Peering down the side streets, someone had obviously had a quiet word in several ears, as the main shopping street remained untouched and it’s Georgian and Victorian architecture looked inviting. A little further along, a small square of tall Georgian houses had been converted into cheap nasty flats, with grubby torn net curtains and a certain weariness about them. It was sad to see.
We carried on along the A165 and found a surf club down a side road with a small grassy car park (£3 all day) and waited for the daughters to arrive. Once assembled, greetings and small chat and the dogs acquainted, we headed down a steep slope to the beach, into a wide arc of bay. One of the daughters has a big boisterous 2 year old Labrador which she unleashed. He immediately launched himself down the beach and straight into the surf. Our Dog just had a big smile on her face and got as giddy as a 13 year old hound can. We walked along the golden sands, the sun out but with a cool north wind. A case of shorts with thick woolly jumpers (typical British summer wear). Large waves crashed onto the beach as we wandered along, away from the crowded entrance where everybody had seemed to have stopped. The cliffs all the way along had eroded and slipped, spreading debris over the sand. Nearby, a beautiful house with a glass balcony and tall picture windows perched high on the cliff, staring out to sea. What a fantastic view. It seemed to be part of a renovated old industrial building that now could be a holiday rental or someone’s fabulous home. What a great spot.
We carried on, pleased we had donned jumpers and coats. The Lab bounced in and out of the water before hurtling headlong towards us and somehow at the last minute, either swerving around us or doing a handbrake turn and charging off again. He was exhausting to watch. The bay curved around until we reached rocks covered in slippery and slimy seaweed, blocking our way any further. We looked around us at the tall unstable cliffs, sweeping majestically around, with the wide sandy beach and cold dark North Sea. We retraced our steps, investigating the old military pillboxes that once had stood on top of the cliff, looking out to sea for the enemy in World War Two, now lying in a crumbled concrete heap after slithering down the cliff as the earth gave way underneath them. They were surprisingly still intact, despite lying at quirky angles, the Dogs and Daughters going inside the murky dark interior and poking their heads through the window slits. What an awful job that must of been, sitting in them for hours on end looking for enemy ships or bombers, all dark and poky. We left them poking out of the sand and carried on our walk.
The kids peered in rock pools, looking for crabs and other sea creatures like they used to when they were small, reminiscing when we left them at Filey on a wildlife weekend, allegedly abandoned by us. We walked up the other end of the bay, until we were again stopped by rocks. High above us, the cliffs were steeper and guillemots swooped as they tended to their nests in little dips and crannies high up the face. It was getting late and we found our path and hauled ourselves up the steep path back to the cars.
We agreed to head into Scarborough itself for tea, voting on fish and chips. We drove in convoy along the main road, dropping into the town centre, under the splendid green Victorian bridge that spans the valley and past the splendid Grand Hotel, perched high up, dominating the town. I think it’s being renovated, but not sure if the project has ground to a halt. We swooped around the corner onto the front, the buildings with their red pantile roofs cascading down the hillside in a chaotic, but pretty jumble. It was quite picturesque with Scarborough Castle at the other end, keeping guard. But alas, the allusion was quickly quashed as amusement arcades, icecream parlours, purveyors of all things seasidey and tacky and numerous cafes and other fast food vendors jostled each other down the entire front, their gawdy frontages competing with each other. Music, disjointed announcements and the mechanical clunkings of the slot machines added to the atmosphere. It was classic British seaside scene.
We parked the cars on a jetty area and walked a few minutes to Papa’s Fish and Chip shop. With no functioning indoor restaurant due to Covid, we ordered and ate our fare at the tables and chairs spread outside. It was a good spot to people watch. The Dog barked at pigeons that dared to come too near, making everyone jump. Seagulls swooped low, looking for easy pickings. Signs were everywhere warning the public not to feed the gulls – there’s many a story of unsuspecting visitors losing their fish and chips to a hungry passing gull. Luckily the gulls didn’t bother us and we ate our food without being bothered.
After tea, with the sun starting to drop and bathing Scarborough and the cliffs in a gorgeous light, we wandered back to the cars and said our goodbyes. We drove back to the campsite at Scalby, did some nesting, walked The Dog around the campsite having a good look at other campers and enjoyed the evening sun. The weather forecast was completely wrong, thank goodness! Finally we retreated to bed and fell into a deep sleep.