The Yorkshire village that harbours a sense of timeless charm

Boats lie marooned on the sand in the harbour at the historic Yorkshire fishing village of Staithes.

It was once one of the busiest in the North and some still ply the trade today.

Defined by its huddled, higgledy-piggledy houses, winding streets and precipitous cliffs, it manages to effortlessly maintain an air of quiet romanticism. That is probably one of the reasons it was chosen as the backdrop for the popular CBeebies TV series Old Jack’s Boat, staring Bernard Cribbins, who played a retired fisherman telling tall tales from his time at sea. In the series, which ran from 2013-2015, he was seen wandering through the streets of Staithes with his faithful dog Salty.

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The name ‘Staithes’ is thought to come from Old Norse meaning ‘landing stage’ for boats, a tag earned because it offered easy access to nearby clifftop settlements.

Part of the Cleveland Way runs between Staithes and Skinningrove. To the west are the remnants of the alum mines that once made the village famous between the late 17th century and early 19th century – alum being used in the textile industry as it helped with the dying process.

The soaring cliffs which bound the village make it a great place to explore and it is popular 
today with tourists and walkers alike.

Popular haunts include Boulby Cliffs and the northern headland of Cowbar Nab with its tiny hamlet snaking down the rock side. It is also a popular destination for dinosaur fossil hunters as ammonites have been found in the area.

One of the village’s most famous former residents was none other than explorer Captain James Cook, who moved to the village in the year 1745 when he was 16 to work in a shop. It is thought that it was during his time there he became interested in seafaring.

PIC: James Hardisty

Today, Staithes lies within the North Yorkshire Moors National Park and includes a conservation area, wherein there are about 80 listed buildings.

Technical details: Nikon D5 camera and Nikon 12-24mm lens with an exposure of 1/250th @ f10, ISO 80.