Helen Rose Outdoor Diary, Whitby.

smugglers rh bay

July 2023

Helen Rose Outdoors.

I had arranged to go to Whitby for a weekend walking three years ago but unfortunately it was cancelled due to the Covid 19 pandemic. However, the Bearsden and Milngavie Ramblers arranged a weekend there this Spring and I was lucky enough to have a place on the trip.Whitby is located in North East Yorkshire and Yorkshire is the largest county in England. It is a five to six hour drive from Glasgow but we did have a lunch stop at Houghton Hall but due to traffic we arrived later than expected for our tea and scones.

Larpool Hall

We stayed at Larpool Hall located near Whitby which is a house owned by HF Holidays.. The house was very comfortable with great staff and plentiful, delicious food. HF Holidays is a specialist walking company but we had been let down by them as they organised it as a self-guided walking holiday. Our wonderful club leaders rose to the challenge and organised the walks on the Cleveland Way. Larpool Hall is a Georgian house of historical significance and is listed on the English Heritage Register. It was built in the late 1780s and was a private residence until it became a Children’s Home for boys from 1919 to 1966.

Robin Hood’s Bay

Allander Travel arranged a coach for us all weekend with Jimmy, a wonderful driver. . There were three walks on offer the first day and we drove south to Robin Hood’s Bay. Robin Hood’s Bay, it has to be said, does not have any evidential ties with the Robin Hood who robbed the rich to feed the poor. In fact, it is doubtful, despite an old English ballad saying differently, that he ever even went there. The naming of the area is a bit of a mystery.

Fishing and farming were not the only trades, however, as smuggling was a rife tradition too. Boats from the continent brought contraband to their shore which was distributed to the contacts on land. Operations were financed by large syndicates who made all the money whilst the villagers took all the risk. Trying to lower that risk, it is reputed that the villagers built a network of subterranean passages underneath their homes. This would mean they could move the tea, gin, rum, brandy, and tobacco, with less chance of being caught. It was a steep walk down to the bay and then an ascent to join the Cleveland Way.

Cleveland Way

The Cleveland Way National Trail is a 109 mile (175 km) walking route through beautiful and ever-changing landscapes and scenery. Officially opened in 1969, it was the second recognised National Trail in England and Wales. Starting from the attractive market town of Helmsley, the Cleveland Way heads across the inspirational, and breath taking heather moorland of the North York Moors National Park, before reaching the coast at Saltburn-by-the-Sea. From here it is a visual feast along the North Yorkshire coastline to Filey, passing old fishing villages and lively coastal towns. We were walking back to Whitby about 9 miles on my chosen walk. It is a good path skirting the coastline with the North Sea looking very blue on this warm sunny day. There were a lot of undulations walking on the cliff tops. We passed fields of buttercups and cattle resting chewing the cud.

As we approached Whitby we saw the beautiful curve of the sandy bay.


Whitby is a lovely former fishing village but most notable for Whitby Abbey which inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, a work of fiction. Every year there is a Goth weekend in Whitby and I have certainly added that event to my wish list. It is an alternative music festival founded in 1984 and now one of the world’s Goth events.

The fishing port emerged during the Middle Ages, supporting important herring and whaling fleets, and was where Captain Cook learned seamanship.   Coincidentally, it was where his vessel to explore the southern ocean, The Endeavour, was built. Jet was mined locally by the Romans and Victorians and became fashionable during the 19th century. There are many shops still selling it there. It fits in well with the Goth theme of black.

We descended the 199 steps in to the town from the Abbey on the East Cliff and back to Larpool Hall where Fiona had arranged an evening quiz for us on Scotland. I learned the Unicorn is the National Animal of Scotland and there are 587 golf courses in Scotland!


On the second day, we headed in the opposite direction to Staithes.  Once, one of the busiest fishing ports on the North East coast, Staithes boasts a long proud history as the one-time home of famous Royal Navy captain and explorer, Captain James Cook.

It is a charming beach resort and we took the opportunity to sit on the promenade for our elevenses. It was then a steep climb up to join the Cleveland Way.


At Boulby, there is a ffactory preparing potash for agricultural use.  In April 2011, the mine below the factory began the world’s first commercial production of polyhalite a rare mineral that has been found in large quantities in a seam out to sea from the mine, with total resources estimated at over a billion tonnes lying more than 0.93 miles (1.5 km) offshore. The mineral has a commercial potential as an inorganic fertiliser. Another interesting fact about this factory is that there is a laboratory over a kilometre below ground to study dark matter and exclude radiation.

At the start of the Cleveland Way on this section is a life size metal sculpture.  The Miner’s Bait Table, commissioned by ICL Ltd the owners of Boulby Mine to celebrate the history of the mine and its 50 years of existence. Inspiration for the piece was the “bait tables” where miners would eat their snacks or lunch whilst underground. Each table contained a communications board with phone and they were mobile, being able to be moved around as required.

Runswick Bay

We ambled along the Cleveland Way over the cliff tops with glorious views over the North Sea to reach Runswick Bay, the final destination on the walk. The Cleveland Way is along the cliff top so there is a steep descent down to the village but well worth the effort of the steep ascent on the return! Runswick Bay is one of the Yorkshire Coast’s prettiest destinations with its sweeping, sheltered bay and charming red roof cottages. The sandy beach, which once provided anchorage for brightly coloured fishing boats, is now a family favourite for rock pooling, fossil hunting and coastal walks, where you can admire the breathtakingly stunning sea views. However, we contented ourselves with an ice cream on the beach. It was back to Larpool Hall before returning home the following day.

Many thanks to Moira and Fiona for arranging the weekend which was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us. We appreciate the hard work that went in to arranging it.

Forthcoming attractions; Ayr Horse Races/Dunure to Ayr walk and Cullen.

Aye Write: Diana Gabaldon – Outlander
Doon the Watter with Friends of People's Palace Winter Gardens & Glasgow Green

This section: Helen Rose Hillwalking Diary, Pat's Home Page Blog, Walks

Written by :

Avatar of HelenRose Scottish hill walker and writer for Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End.

Comments are closed.

Copyright Glasgow Westend 2009 thru 2017

Contact Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End | About Pat Byrne | Privacy Policy | Design by Jim Byrne Website Design