#1354. Spring in the north east – 8C and howling

By Paul Perton | Travel Photography

Apr 18

Whitby. North Yorkshire. Early Spring. A recipe for photographic nirvana?

Probably not. Better pin your hopes on eating world class fish and chips in the town’s chippies than imagine the weather might co-operate.

Three days and the wind didn’t let up once, howling, groaning, gusting across the Moor above the town, bringing rain, more rain and yet more of the damned stuff. For maybe an hour or so every day, it stopped and the sun put in an appearance, but never wind-free and still.

Whitby – looks nice, but not a soul in sight.
Boat landing, Whitby
Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering

So, when you’re given lemons…

Dating back to 656 AD, the town has been a centre for shipbuilding, port, home to centuries of fishing fleets and more recently, a tourist destination favoured by the good folk of the north east, seeking weeks and weekends away from the industrial humdrum elsewhere. Alcohol and the aforementioned fish and chips are central to those pastimes, the latter being renowned – a reputation well earned.

The NYMR’s ex British Railways 9F no. 92134 runs around its train at the Pickering terminus
Hey Captain America, how about we tell you where this is and you release the $60bn funding to the Ukraine in return?
Robin Hood’s Bay
Robin Hood’s Bay

My travels took me just a few miles to Grosmont, home of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which provides steam and diesel hauled trains between Whitby and Pickering, some 8 and 20-odd miles away respectively. Threading its way through the moor’s many valleys, it’s a treat to sit behind an ex British Railways class 9F and watch the spectacular countryside slide past at a (regulated) maximum of 25 m.p.h., occasional drifts of smoke and steam heightening the views.

Next on the list was Robin Hood’s Bay, one of the prettiest villages in the UK, situated at the foot of a precipitous hill, allowing only foot access as the roads are barely wide enough for a single car and there is absolutely no parking available.

Robin Hood’s Bay
Robin Hood’s Bay
Keith’s Place, Robin Hood’s Bay
Robin Hood’s Bay
Robin Hood’s Bay

Wikipedia sums the name up thus: “The origin of the name is uncertain, and it is doubtful that Robin Hood was ever in the vicinity of the village. It is attested to in the early sixteenth century as “Robyn Hoodis Baye” in 1544.”

It’s a village of tiny streets and houses, seemingly most available to rent as holiday lets. Clearly, the difficulty of access, car parking and throngs of summer visitors has persuaded it’s original denizens to move elsewhere.

Robin Hood’s Bay
Robin Hood’s Bay
Down the (very steep) hill into town – Robin Hood’s Bay

On a cold, early Spring morning, it was magnificent and my X2D thoroughly endorsed my one camera, (almost) one lens decision for this trip.

Otherwise, the weather was as miserable as you might imagine and as photogenic as the few black and white images here attest.

I’ll definitely be back next year.

Winter on the moors between Whitby and Pickering
Winter on the moors between Whitby and Pickering
Winter on the moors between Whitby and Pickering
Winter on the moors between Whitby and Pickering
  • Allan Dew says:

    Hi Paul,
    Your images of Robin Hood Bay are beautiful ! I’m particularly drawn to the one looking under an arch at the white chair and single rose further up the walkway , the colours are so rich and warm makes me wish I was there.
    All the best,

  • Mark Ferencz says:

    Wonderful photos. Rich in color and interesting.

  • PaulB says:


    This looks like a wonderful place to get lost and explore. How long do you stay at each location, and succeed in not having images full of people?


    • Paul Perton says:

      Paul, I’m an inveterate early riser; 50 years in Africa will do that – wake when it gets light, sleep when it gets dark. So, Robin Hood’s Bay was early(ish) before 09:30 on a chilly, but clearing morning.

  • pascaljappy says:

    Wonderful Paul, thank you! I went as a kid, but do not remember the area well. Your post has made me hope to return. Like Allan, I’m particularly drawn to your white chair seen through the archway. What a shot! Though the wet winding lane in b&w does give it a run for its money.

    As for fish and chips, lucky s..

  • Kristian Wannebo says:

    Your photos make me want to live there,
    but your text – about so few true inhabitants – advises me to stay where I live…

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    You’ve captured many of the delights of beautiful Yorkshire – bad weather be damned! I’m sure none of us were surprised to find that a steam train made an appearance. I was in the area many years ago, but without a camera. Your post has certainly made me consider another U.K. trip (avec IPhone) in the near future. And the intriguing Robin Hood’s Bay will be on the list. Kudos, my friend!

  • Pascal Ravach says:

    Gorgeous AND interesting pictures… ‘nuf said 🙂
    The « real » feeling makes traveling that way a joy!

  • jeanpierreguaron660@gmail.com says:

    You might get a job as a photographer, with these images, Paul. But your narrative would destroy any chance of getting a job at the local tourist bureau, promoting the village and the climate as a “tourist mecca”!
    From your description, I can’t imagine why Australia has so few immigrants from Yorkshire! It must be the fish & chips! Maybe someone’s told them they can only eat kangaroos & crocodiles if they move here!
    These images should shake Pascal up – maybe after he sees them all he’ll rev up his comments on the X2D again – you’ve probably made him quite jealous, publishing these images.
    The final 4 or 5] images destroy the tourist trade – too wet & gloomy altogether. But the capture of the images is stunning – the detail, the sharpness, the colours, the composition. You’ve ticked all the boxes – contrast, clarity, colour and composition!

    • Paul Perton says:

      Thanks Pete. Interestingly, the steam loco shot at Pickering was taken with my much loved 25mm Zeiss Biogon on an adaptor. It has an incredible ability to render the most intriguing (almost) 3D images. There are a couple more from Pickering, even more detailed, but less interesting to DS viewers.

      • jeanpierreguaron660@gmail.com says:

        You can send them to me privately then – you already have my email addy. One of my best friends worked for years as secretary to one of the railway preservations societies in England – his photo collection is over a quarter of a million (but that includes trams – he’s nuts about them, too!) I don’t suppose you’d mind if I shared them with him?
        Zeiss Biogon – haven’t ever had one of those, but I’m nuts about Zeiss glass – gives FAR better colours** than anything else I’ve ever tried, and the sharpness is sensational. Correct me if someone has caught up to them – but last I heard, my Zeiss 55mm Otus for my D850 is the sharpest in the world. And now that old age has finally caught up with me, I need 4 pairs of glasses – and ALL of them have Zeiss lenses.
        **[You see the difference at once, with an SLR – looking through the lens! – instead of an EVF. You can change lenses over, by when you put the Otus on, you can see the difference at once. Of course by the time you’ve gone through the two different digi colour schemes, to get a print, it doesn’t show up quite so blatantly. But the lens providwes a great start.]
        I fell in love with Zeiss glass when I was a kid – around about age 14, after a stint with second hand Voigtländer Bessa II – “The Bessa II sits at the top of the 1950s Voigtländer food chain.” Then I spotted a second hand Zeiss Super Ikonta, and scooped it up. By the time I was 20 I’d had two of each, liked the shutter action better on the Bessa II but the lens better on the Super Ikonta – the Bessa II was too soft for my tastes.
        I’d also moved on, to my Zeiss Contaflex – which really hooked me – interchangeable magazine backs, interchangeable lenses (sort of), brilliant camera. And when I discovered the Zeiss Contarex, its big brother, I had become an addict – used it for 30 years! And I’m still using Zeiss, wherever possible!

        • Paul Perton says:


          I’m in the throes of Spring Cleaning here on board just now and am about to apply a third coat of Danish Oil to my kitchen island/workspace. That means I can’t get to my desktop Mac to send you a pic or two – be patient until the weekend!

          BTW, it was Pascal’s review of the Biogon that got me buying manual focus lenses and contributing to DS, so all in all, it’s been pretty momentous.

  • John W says:

    Wonderful collection of images of a place well worth exploring. Robin Hood Bay seems a treat, wind and rain be damned … keeps the tourists away. My father-in-law was a Yorkshireman, a photographer and a painter, so I’ve hears a bit about the locale. Oh to be footloose and fancy free again.

  • Jon Maxim says:

    Hi Paul,

    I am late to the party but must echo the other sentiments – what lovely images. I, for one, do not regret your choice of weather to shoot in . I find that the light is magnificent and your photos bear testament to it. As several have remarked, the colours are truly engaging – nostalgic, but not in a faded kind of way. Like others, I loved the white bench but you had me at sky in the first image.

    Thank you a for a delightful way to enjoy a break with a cup of tea.

    P.S. On the subject of sharp Zeiss lenses with wonderful colours. I am a huge fan, however if you have the opportunity, do not overlook the Voightlander APOs. Not sure if any available for Hassy’s though.

  • Ian Varkevisser says:

    Eeee-by-gumm lad been travelling in gods own country have you. Salt of the earth people there.

    Apologies for being late to the party but without the emails going out it is so easy to fall behind.

    Much appreciate the essay of images from this part of the world. Next time you are there would love to see some from the seaside resort village just down the road called Hornsea if you can.

    My dear wife ( nee Hobson ) hails from there and is a secendant of the famous he of Hobsons choice, recorded in the doomsday book.

    A really quaint and most wonderful part of the world finely illustrated in your wet of images. Now I get to see places I have heard a lot about over the years but have not been to.

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