24. Jun, 2021

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THURSDAY 24-06-21

We awoke this morning in a much quieter parking area at The Black Bull pub due to the conference and event building not hosting an event today. I didn't want to hang around too long as today we were making our way to Staithes on the North Yorkshire coastline. It wasn't a long journey but involved us skirting south of some pretty big towns and using numerous roads to reach our destination, and how well it went would depend on the mood 'She' was in.

Once the 'rush hour' was over we were off. We followed the route to the main road which we used yesterday, so for anybody wishing to come here I would suggest travelling down the A6076 and leave it at the junction N54.900794° W1.678141° then head for The Black Bull wiv all dem lubberly cars next door, that way you'll avoid the ghastly road starting at the entrance to the Beamish Museum.

We so often  moan about 'Her' in the little box with a screen on the front, but today the route 'She' sent us on was faultless. I knew we'd have to skirt around places like Darlington, and Middleborough, names which send a shiver down the spine, names associated with threats like "If you don't eat all the vegetables on your plate you're going to Midlesborough". Well thankfully 'She' ensured we passed around Middlesbrough, and I'm glad we did. It makes you grateful for what you've got - whatever it is. Only life in a leper colony could be worse. It was very sad to see the evidence of the demise of the once huge industries that thrived around here. There were former steel works, coal fired power stations, coal mines etc, now there's begger all really, it's so sad.

Onward we went, over roundabout after roundabout road after road, until they became so third-rate we just knew we were getting close to Staithes.  As we approached I told The Chef that if I wasn't happy about the side road leading down to Staithes I would overshoot it and go straight to the campsite and then try and get a bus back to the village (we could take a look tomorrow on the way out of town but rain is forecast).

Fortunately we lost a lot of our altitude on the coastal road before we arrived at our left turn in to Staithes - game on.

Our luck was in. There were signs for the overflow car park (N54.556639° W0.791617°) which welcomed motorhomes. My, my, you don't get that too often here in the UK. So we parked up and paid £4.20 for four-hour stay which I consider a very reasonable charge.

It was a walk downhill in to Staithes village. It reminded me so much of being in Cornwall. What a nice little place it is, geared totally to tourists of course, but I can live with that, provided it's not too far over the top.

So a little about Staithes then:

Staithes has a sheltered harbour, bounded by high cliffs and two long breakwaters. A mile to the west is Boulby Cliff where, for a brief period, alum, a mineral used to improve the strength and permanency of colour when dying cloth, was mined. The mining operation ended when a cheaper chemical method was developed. The ruined remnants of the mines can be seen from the cliff top when walking the Cleveland Way between Staithes and Skinningrove.

At the turn of the 20th century, there were 80 full-time fishing boats putting out from Staithes. A hundred years later there are still a few part-time fisher men. There is a long tradition of using the coble (a traditional fishing vessel) in Staithes.

The permanent population of the village has dwindled due to more than half of the houses being second homes or holiday cottages owned by outsiders. Age old Staithes' traditions are beginning to disappear; up until recently, some local women still bought Staithes bonnets from the sole bonnet maker, however, the Staithes Fishermen's Choir is still going strong. There is active local participation in the local RNLI Lifeboat Station and crew.Locally, the name was traditionally pronounced "Steers".

To celebrate its place in art history, Staithes held a festival of arts and heritage in 2012. Many houses and other properties opened their doors to the public as pop-up galleries, creating a trail through the village. In addition, events celebrating the heritage of Staithes were held. Such was the success and interest in the festival, the villagers intend to make this an annual event.

There is a local pub crawl known as the "Roxby Run". This starts at the "Fox and Hounds" in the nearby village of Dalehouse then goes to Staithes Athletic Club, the "Captain Cook Inn", the "Black Lion" (now closed) the "Royal George" before finishing at the "Cod and Lobster" on the harbour.

In 1745–46, Staithes' most famous resident, James Cook (born in Marton-in-Cleveland, Middlesbrough), worked in Staithes as a grocer's apprentice where he first gained his passion for the sea. He moved to nearby Whitby where he joined the Royal Navy. William Sanderson's shop, where Cook worked, was destroyed by the sea, but parts were recovered and incorporated into "Captain Cook's Cottage". This has been the residency of a local Staithes family for several generations.

In 1779, the American privateer John Paul Jones raided the village for supplies and, later, a large number of Staithes men, caught by the press gang, fought and died at the Battle of Trafalgar, or spent years in Napoleon's prisons.

We wandered around taking in the ambiance of the place whilst listening to the squawking shitehawks nesting on the cliff face.

We were tempted to have an ice cream but both places selling them only took cash, so they were out. We won't buy food from anywhere that is happy to handle skanky cash right now, especially when having taken your money they then handle your cornet.

Eventually we decided we should have lunch and had two options, either we returned to the motorhome for a 'Chef Special', or we ate in the village. The 'Cobbles' was our choice for a fine dining experience. I had a sausage roll and a latte, whilst The Chef had a potato, cheese and onion pasty and a latte also. For me I made the right choice. I've never before had a sausage roll which was clearly made from minced meat rather than turned in to 'piggie paste'. It was lovely. We dines alfresco on a bench seat down by the 'river' leading out to sea. I just know geologists etc will throw their arms up in horror at my description of such a location, and if I can come up with something better, I'll edit it.

On our way back up the hill we again passed the 'Captain Cook & Staithes Heritage Centre'.  On our way round we learned that a local couple created this museum by firstly buying the former Primitive Chapel (I did ask the very helpful and interesting guide why it was a 'Primitive Chapel', and he didn't know the answer, but promised to Google it when he got home), and then acquiring all of the artefacts contained within in. If you're ever passing this way please visit. It is so interesting - and free.

We returned to the motorhome and killed a little time before setting out just a couple of miles down the road to Serenity Camping www.serenitycamping.co.uk (N54.540388° W0.776641°). We had to queue behind one of those motorhomers who are infatuated by their vehicles bodily functions, and since the fresh water tap was right  by the entrance to the campsite, they blocked it up whilst they took on water. But never mind. We are on pitch one, probably reflecting the fact that I booked months ago and was probably the first in their diary.

What a lovely little campsite it is, so much so that I made a point of going to the office where both owners sat and congratulated them on running such a nice clean and obviously loved campsite. They appreciated the gesture, but I think it is so important to praise those who make the effort whilst moaning about those who don't. Me - moan I hear you cry. I know, it's so unlike me but sometimes you just have to.

The onset of a thundery shower of rain put paid to the campsite's caravanners sale of sprigs of lucky heather and wooden clothes pegs. Never mind, we'll try and cope without them.

So my darling Rosina and I are parked here for the night on our way to our next destination. We have had a couple of thundery rain showers, but nothing that has spoilt a lovely evening. Well, when  I say a lovely evening what I really mean is that The Chef told me it was a lovely evening whilst I sat indoors here churning out this rubbish.

In the news, that treacherous, odious little short-arse John Bercow, the thankfully, former Speaker of the House of Commons has changed allegiance to the Labour Party, having been found to have licked the lower regions of Comrade Corbin in an attempt to get a peerage (terrorist-loving leaders of the opposition are permitted to put forward candidates for peerage), but without success. No doubt Starmer the Smarmer will recommend him for what he so desires. It was the antics of Bercow and the desgaceful MP's of all parties who did their utmost to ignore the will of the people regarding the Brexit referendum that I vowed never to vote again.

Finally our illustrious Royal Navy, twelve ships, and growing, was involved in a skirmish with the Russians as HMS Defender passed through disputed seas off the Crimea coast. Make no mistake Boris the Clown should steer clear of such confrontations. We have begger all armed forces these days and if the Russians chose to knock out that warship, or any other, there's nothing we could do about it. They would eat us alive, the consequence I'm afraid of years and years of running our armed forces in to the ground. Still look on the bright side, I think we could give Mogadishu a beating if they stepped out of line.