Picture Post: Staithes buoyed by the winter light

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Those of you with children, or grandchildren, might well be aware of the CBeebies series Old Jack’s Boat.

The children’s TV programme follows the story of a retired fisherman who tells tales from his time at sea, helped by his eccentric friends in the village.

Staithes in the early morning autumn light. (JPress)

Staithes in the early morning autumn light. (JPress)

The star of the show is the marvellous Bernard Cribbins and the series (and you get an extra point if you know this) was filmed in Staithes.

A few years ago I interviewed the actor and I asked him about filming on the Yorkshire coast, to which he said: “I’ve filmed in a lot of locations throughout my career, but there’s something about the sea air, the beauty and the friendliness in Staithes that makes it a special place to be... I hadn’t been over to that area before but I absolutely loved it.”

He’s clearly a man of good taste, our Bernard, because Staithes, captured here in the morning with the tide out, is well worth a visit no matter what time of year it is.

With its endearing, higgledy-piggedly cottages and clutter of winding streets, walking through this pretty coastal hamlet is a little like stepping back in time to a quieter, simpler world.

Not that it’s always been quite so tranquil. It’s perhaps hard to believe but Staithes was once one of the largest fishing ports on the north east coast and in its heyday almost 300 people made their living from the fishing industry here.

They would head out to sea in locally-built boats known as “cobles” and their catch was then loaded on to trains bound for Whitby, Redcar and Middlesbrough.

Its nautical heritage doesn’t stop there. Staithes was also home for a couple of years to a certain Captain James Cook and takes the credit for starting what became his life-long fascination with the sea.

These days the village’s unique charm entices artists eager to capture the light and crashing waves, as well as geology enthusiasts keen to explore our very own “dinosaur coast.” It’s popular, too, with those who simply want to come and enjoy some good old-fashioned sea air.

Technical details: 16-55 2.8 FUJI x-t1 1/125, SEC, F10, ISO 400