Picture Post: Prospect of Whitby a true treat for the senses

No matter where you are in England, you’re never more than 70 miles from the sea, but here in Yorkshire we are particularly blessed when it comes to being able to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the seaside.

PIC: Gerard Binks
PIC: Gerard Binks

Filey, Scarborough, Bridlington and Staithes have all been attracting visitors for centuries, but perhaps the most famous of them all is Whitby. And this photograph, taken towards the end of November, just as winter arrived at the coast, manages to capture all that has to offer into a single image: sea, sand, great views and heritage, eyed with jealously by every other coastal town in the country.

Prominent in the foreground are lobster nets. Whitby made its name and its fortune in fishing and while the industry might only be a fraction of what it once was, a dedicated fleet of fishermen still sail the waters of the North Sea, returning to Whitby harbour each day with their catch.

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In the background, little more than a speck on the horizon is the Church of St Mary. Standing proud atop the East Cliff, just a stone’s throw from the town’s famous abbey, the church was originally founded around Ad1110.

The Grade I listed building still holds regular Sunday services and its position on the clifftop means it offers some of the most spectacular views of both the town and the sea.

Whitby’s West Cliff offers just as clear views for as far as the eye can see, and provides the setting for another place of worship in the town, St Hilda’s church, named after the founding abbess of the monastery at Whitby.

This photograph also shows another of the town’s landmarks – the River Esk, which flows into of the harbour mouth on the right, and out to sea on the left. Although the image might have been shot out of season, Whitby attracts thousands of visitors all year round, aside from a few quiet days in early January.

The population of 13,000 inhabitants swells each summer, as tourists flock to sample the local seafood, explore the town’s connections with Bram Stoker and soak up the history of this picturesque town.

Technical details: Nikon D3s 17-55mm lens, 125th sec @ F9, Iso400.

Picture: Gerard Binks