After a good night’s sleep in the Campanile Hotel in Hull, we were ready for day two of our trip. The first day took us from Kilnsea to Bridlington, day two was to be an exciting day on the North Yorkshire coast starting in Flamborough Head and finishing in Whitby.
One reason we were excited about day two was, we brought our pebble from St Bees in Cumbria, the plan was to drop it off in Robin Hood’s bay, which kind of meant we’d done the Coast to Coast – without walking it!
If day one on the Holderness coast was dominated by coastal erosion, day two turned out to be about the parking – read on you’ll see what I mean.
As you read through this post, you might think we had a terrible time. The truth is, we loved this stretch of coast. In one respect, it sums up why accessible tourism is important, moreover, it actually justifies why we started The Bimblers in the first place!
We’d seen Flamborough Head from Bridlington, but nothing prepared us for how truly spectacular it is up close.
But, before we get into that, let me say a few words about the payment machine at Flamborough Head car park:
It is a bloody nightmare, never in all my days have I come across a parking meter so confusing, I have no idea what the local council were thinking when they installed it, it was the cause of at least twenty people queuing, all trying to figure out how to use it?
Rant over, back to Flamborough Head…
Before stepping out on the head, we had a nice breakfast in the cafe. Grab a seat in the conservatory section of the cafe and watch the fantastic wind chimes doing their thing – it’s therapeutic!
There aren’t too many places in the UK where the scene in front of you takes your breath away. The white chalk cliffs, patterns on the beach and sheer majesty of Flamborough Head really does take you by surprise.
I was able to push Bridget to the cliff edge, but no further. Not that I wanted to push her over the edge, but I couldn’t get her down to the beach or onto the headland.
Frankly, it didn’t matter. Sitting on the edge of Britain, peering down into the bay, a backdrop of blue sea and sky, was enough.
It’s not very scientific, but when you utter the words “you could be anywhere in the world” you know you’re looking at something special.
Filey and Country Park
If ever there was a seaside town a victim of itself, it’s got to be Filey!
I’d love to give you an overview of our visit, but I can’t, because we couldn’t stop anywhere. I managed to drive into the town and to the promenade, but I literally could not find one parking space, let alone a disabled parking space.
I followed a sign to a car park at the edge of the town, it was full and people were queuing to get in, when I did get in, the flat, tarmac section was full and we were led to a grassed area which had sunk in the rain, making it impossible to push a wheelchair.
Undeterred, if a little perplexed, I then followed a sign to the recommended extra parking in Filey Country Park. There was plenty of space there, but no way of getting down into the town with a wheelchair.
There is a road leading down to the promenade, it’s steep, getting down would have been possible, but getting back up again just wouldn’t be practical.
Eventually, I left Bridget in the car and walked to the cliff edge to take some photos, again there was a way down to the beach, but via steps.
In the end, Filey was just inaccessible to us. It’s not Filey’s fault, it’s just too popular, we’d love to go back, but it would clearly have to be out of season.
On the way out of Filey, I followed another brown sign. I think it said Cayton Bay View, but can’t be sure, it definitely said Cayton Bay. At the top of the dead end road, we were met with this:
Scarborough is gorgeous, but watch where you park – here we go again with the parking.
Our first glimpse of Scarborough was from a viewing area on the drive in:
I then drove into the town, or so I thought. I had, in fact, found my way to the upper tier of Scarborough (who knew).
I parked in a car park because the on-street parking was full, incidentally, they use a disc system which you can get from tourist offices, shops and hotels.
You can also use a blue badge if you have one. Scarborough council clearly makes the point, Blue Badge holders must pay.
Personally, I have no problem paying for parking, as along as I can find a space big enough to get a wheelchair in and out of the car.
So, I’d inadvertently parked on the top of a cliff…
The way down to the promenade was through South Cliff Gardens, we made our way down a steep but not impossible path, to what I thought was the seafront.
We actually ended up on a bridge overlooking the beach, seafront and unusual subway. In fairness, the view of the beach, bay and headland were pretty good:
But, I now had a dilemma.
Either, figure out a way to get down off the bridge to the front or go back up the hill to get the car then figure out a way to drive down to the seafront, I settled on the latter.
Coming down the hill was relatively stress-free, but going back up was stupid.
Picture this: A middle-aged asthmatic man, pushing a heavy wheelchair up a very steep hill. It was so steep, I was almost at a vertical angle pushing the chair.
Bridget was understandably nervous/terrified, the hill had the potential to kill me, which in turn meant I’d let go of the wheelchair and she’d inevitably roll down backwards, who knows what would happen next.
I must say, one helpful lady jogger (jogging up the hill) did offer to help me push Bridget, I was very grateful but too proud to accept so carried on regardless.
We made it to the top only to find out that, at the other end of the cliff was a lift. I know, who’d of thought it – a lift up the side of the cliff! Apparently, this lift which opened in 1875 is Britain’s oldest cliff lift.
Sadly, due to this episode, we abandoned Scarborough and didn’t get to Scarborough Fair, we’ve put it on the “to do” list. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to visit again.
Robin Hood’s Bay
For us, Robin Hood’s Bay was to be the highlight of this section of coast. When we visited Cumbria, we dropped into St Bees to collect a pebble. St Bees is the start of the coast to coast walk, and it finishes in Robin Hood’s Bay.
It’s customary to take a pebble from one coast then drop it off on the other, so that’s what we planned to do.
Try parking in Robin Hood’s Bay, you guessed it, bloody nightmare!!!
After driving around for 20 minutes, I found space. Travelling with a wheelchair means you can’t just dump the car, you actually need a space big enough and safe enough to get a wheelchair in and out.
To complete our task we needed to put our Cumbrian pebble on the beach, one slight problem… the beach is at the bottom of a very steep hill in the lower bay, we had to park in the upper bay.
On the day, the traffic sign suggested there is no access to the lower bay for cars. I’ve since found out, you can drive down to offload, but understandably there’s not much room if any for parking so cars need to be returned to the upper bay car parks.
Big Massive Fail for us…!!!
The pebble now lives on a window sill at home, every time I look at it, it reminds me how difficult travelling in a wheelchair can be!
Robin Hood’s Bay Resources
The final destination of the day was Whitby. I’ll be honest, Whitby meant fish and chips, and I fully intended to stuff myself with them.
Whitby must have had a busy day because the pavements were strewn with fish and chips, burger wrappers and what seemed like an endless river of ketchup.
I started thinking, Whitby is a bit scruffy!
But, it didn’t take long to figure out what was going on… as we walked along, at least 3 people were dive bombed by seagulls. Their food ended up in the seagull or on the floor – problem solved!
If you’ve read any other posts on this blog, you’ll know Bridget doesn’t like birds (yet I keep taking her to the coast), so our time in Whitby was short lived.
Bridget started getting a bit agitated because as she says – “I can hardly get up and run away from a seagull”.
There are more fish and chip restaurants in Whitby than you can shake a stick at, and judging by the queues to get in them, the food must be good!
Needless to say, it had been a long and frustrating day, we decided Whitby would have to wait and we set off to the hotel for a well-earned rest.
Visiting the North Yorkshire Coast
I said at the beginning of this post, we loved the North Yorkshire coast. It has stunning sea views, fantastic seaside towns, typically English villages, history and culture. It would seem we are not the only one’s who love it because it was busy right along the coast.
From what I could see, tourism in North Yorkshire is thriving. With regards to access, I’m confident we’d have had no problem getting around in a wheelchair out of season.
There simply were too many visitors, which, for the most part, made it either very difficult or impossible to explore because we couldn’t get out of the car and bimble!
Would I recommend you visit the North Yorkshire Coast – absolutely!
Will we be returning – yes, we definitely will and I hope it’s not too long before we do.