Google Analytics

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Trains and Boats

We are just back from a week in Whitby where we stayed in a third-floor riverside apartment watching the clockwork of the tides, Northern Rail and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR). It was not the usual kind of country cottage we stay in, but a wonderful location nevertheless, and an unexpected family holiday in a year when the offspring had planned things of their own. 

Here are some pictures of the NYMR post-lockdown ‘Optimist’ service arriving from and departing for Pickering:

D7628 ‘Sybilla’ arriving at Whitby 18 Aug 2020 11.00 a.m.
Arriving with heritage diesel-electric locomotive D7628 ‘Sybilla’ at 11.00 on 18th August

926 ‘Repton’ leaving Whitby 19 Aug 2020 at 16.30
Leaving with 4-4-0 steam locomotive 926 ‘Repton’at 16.30 on the 19th August

825 leaving Whitby 21 Aug 2020 at 16.30
Leaving with the unnamed 4-6-0 locomotive 825 at 16.30 on the 21st  August

I love the NYMR heritage railway. It runs for eighteen miles through the North York Moors National Park from Pickering to Grosmont. At the northern end, trains can then join Network Rail tracks to run the six miles from Grosmont through to Whitby. Regrettably, the eight miles of track connecting Pickering to Malton at the southern end was lifted after the Beeching cuts of the nineteen-sixties. If still in place, trains would be able to run all the way from York to Whitby without having to go round by Middlesbrough, which would be very popular. Hopefully, one day it will happen. 

In past years we have had many happy days out on the NYMR. We have driven to Pickering, caught the train to Grosmont, eaten in the pub, walked back to Goathland and returned on the train to Pickering. We have done a similar walk between Newton Dale Halt and Levisham station. We once used it to visit to Whitby. A lot of people like to visit Goathland as the location of Aidensfield in the television series ‘Heartbeat’ which is set in the nineteen-sixties, and its railway station appears in the ‘Harry Potter’ films as Hogsmeade station. 

You can do all of this, of course, by car, which costs a lot less, but that way you don’t get to ride on a steam train. Some love it so much they just travel back and forth along the line. We’ve done that too. I could spend all day just watching the wooden railway gates at Grosmont: proper swinging gates that make a satisfying clunk when they come to rest against their wedges. Here are some past pictures.

NYRM Deltic Weekend, Grosmont, 2002
Grosmont, August 2002

NYRM 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley Goathland 2014
Goathland, July 2014

NYRM Grosmont 2014
Grosmont, July 2014

NYRM 61264 Grosmont 2017
Grosmont, July 2017

Last week was the first time we have stayed in the area without visiting the railway. They have had to introduce COVID-safe restrictions, such as non-stop services and pre-booked seats only, making it difficult and inconvenient. I don’t know whether there is any more risk of catching the virus on a train than in walking the crowded streets of Whitby, Scarborough or Staithes, which we did. If, say, one in twenty thousand people is infectious, then you would be unlucky to encounter it at all, and even unluckier to catch it.

The trouble is that lots of small risks combine to make bigger risks, so that if an infectious person is around in the community they could easily infect someone, somewhere. You just have to hope it won’t be you. I suppose that one infected person on a train could infect several others, whereas in the street, provided you and most others are sensible, you would only be near that person for one brief moment in which you are unlikely to get it. I really do not want to catch it. Even those with so-called mild cases, such as the son of one of my cousins, a fit young man in his thirties, have had unpleasant and worrying symptoms persisting for months.

Anyway, I didn’t just think about trains. I thought about boats as well. Even Mrs. D. was fascinated by the activities on the river and in the boatyard:

“Look! There’s a gap now next to the greeny-yellow one. I wish we’d seen them lifting it back into the water. And there’s a chap with a hose pipe on top of that black and white one [see first picture]. And that couple are still on the white boat this morning. They must have been there all night.” 

What fun to have a little boat moored at Whitby to live on board whenever you fancy a few days away. 

I became especially interested in the boat resting on the mud bank in the first picture. She usually re-floated at high tide but not always. One morning she stayed on the bottom with water over the sides and spouted like a leaking kettle as the tide went out. But hoo-ray and up she rises come the next tide.

SD403 Our Mellissa, Whitby, 20th August 2020
06:00 a.m. 20th August

SD403 Our Mellissa, Whitby, 20th August 2020
Later the same morning - 09:30 a.m. 20th August

SD403 Our Mellissa, Whitby, 21st August 2020
The following day - 07:00 a.m. 21st August

Ignoring ridicule from my family (“Oh no! He’s obsessed with clapped out boats as well as clapped out trains!”), I walked round over Whitby swing bridge to take a closer look. The boat turned out to be Sunderland-registered trammel net trawler SD403 ‘Our Mellissa’, built in Denmark in 1979, previously named the Norlan and the Kraefrihed, which seems to have been active in Whitby until around 2016. Here she is with our ‘Whitehall Landing’ apartments across the river (on the site of a former shipyard, they were supposedly designed to look like traditional dockside warehouses), and in happier times in Whitby Harbour in 2010.

SD403 Our Mellissa, Whitby, 20th August 2020
SD403 Our Mellissa at Whitby, 20th August 2020

SD403 Our Mellissa, Whitby, 2010
SD403 Our Mellissa in Whitby Harbour 2010

I didn’t just think about boats either. The North York Moors around Whitby is wonderful walking country, but that’s another post.

22 comments:

  1. Whitby is a special place and it's nice that you and your family got to have a happy break there. However, it's all very well going on about trains and boats and suchlike but what about the fish and chips? Did you dine in "The Magpie Cafe"? Next time I go to Whitby I want to find my own ammonite on the south beach before the tide sweeps me away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually we went the whole week without having fish and chips once, not counting scampi. We have decent fish and chips at home, unlike Sheffield where what they give you is more like ammonite and chips.

      Delete
    2. You are now officially barred from Sheffield. The border police have been informed.

      Delete
  2. Yes, Whitby is a special place, and I would love to go back there some time; haven't been in well over 10 years but have fond memories.
    Steve and I took a day trip to Pickering one day, and saw the NYMR there. It was packed and (I believe) rather expensive for us at the time, so we didn't go aboard, but I always think of that holiday when I watch Harry Potter and see the Hogwarts Express.
    Now I am looking forward to your post about the moors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forgot to mention the James Cook museum, where my sister-in-law and her family were so absorbed in the exhibits and history around them that they managed to get themselves locked in and almost had to spend the night there.

      Delete
    2. It must be a really good museum to be able to re-create the authentic experience of being sent to Botany Bay.
      Yes, the NYMR is on the expensive side, but we've found that once we've swallowed hard and paid it has always been worth it.

      Delete
  3. You must have had a wonderful time, did not know you were such a train enthusiast. Spoilt for choice with fish and chips. Last visit there for us was when my daughter rented a flat for her family in Flowergate. We arrived with Lucy, spaniel, who could not get up the stairs. Someone came out with a whole packet of ham, but in the end my daughter carried Lucy up all the stairs. The views were of roof tops.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The flat was what was available at fairly short notice, so it was pure luck to have such a good view of life going on. We once rented a cottage in Staithes where the only views were of rooftops and seagulls nesting. Now that's a place to get fit with all the slopes and steps down to the harbour and up to the car park.

      Delete
  4. Must say I have a love of old steam trains and fond memories of traveling on them when they were part of the rolling stock. But it certainly makes sad sense these days to avoid those historic rides. Glad you were able to take a bit of a holiday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember steam trains in service too, and hours spent at Selby station watching the East Coast Main Line trains which used to have to slow down for the swing bridge.
      The only service NYMR has at the moment is twice a day from Pickering to Whitby not stopping at any other stations. You have to sit in the same seats both ways and get two and three quarter hours in Whitby. Interestingly, it means that at 1.45 p.m. there are two NYMR trains in Whitby station at the same time and they have shunt the second across to the other platform after the first has returned so as order to allow Northern Rail services to use the correct platform. I didn't get to see that because we were always out at that time.

      Delete
  5. You look to have had a really good week around there - you didn't end up buying that sad little boat did you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, but I've been looking on the internet to see how much you can get one of those little cabin cruisers for - I like the white one in the third picture. And then there are are mooring fees. Nice idea, too much work. It was a good weather week - we only got wet once, and then only briefly.

      Delete
  6. How nice that you and your family had a holiday! I love all of your pictures, especially the trains. We have mainly freight trains here with not too many passenger trains available. I would love to travel on one of the old steam trains! It sounds like you really enjoyed watching all the boats and the activities on the river. A wonderful week for you all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder whether heritage railways are a particularly British thing. They do have them in other countries, I know (Joanne below says there is one near her), but there are rather a lot of them here.

      Delete
  7. There is a short historic line in my valley. Their cars are the red and yellow of the cars on top. They have bought and refurbished some passenger cars that were the brown further down. Just common colors, I suppose. Once a year they bring on a coal fired steam locomotive. Oh, is it impressive. Half the county shows to see it run. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Trains are still a thrill to children, all the way up to folks who may have hopped one, once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are definitely impressive, and frightening if you think of them as 25 foot-long high pressure kettles. There are quite a lot of preserve railways in Britain, all run by volunteers, mainly men of a certain age.

      Delete
  8. Oooh, a steam train! I've only had the pleasure of seeing them about twenty years ago in SW Germany when they were all out running for a special event. How special to have a heritage rail in your country. I've been to Whitby; I recall very much enjoying my stay. I've also been to York. I can imagine how lovely it would be to take a steam train directly between the two places!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As mentioned to Joanne, above, there are a lot of heritage steam railways here, although the fares are rarely cheap.

      Delete
  9. We stopped off for a few days on our way down from Scotland last time we took the motorhome out (2017). Morr walking wasn't on the agenda, but my husband loves the Railway and we planned to spend more time in North Yorkshire the following year - except we didn't make it anywhere as that was the year of tests and scans culminating in my husband's triple bypass.
    This year was kyboshed by Covid, and the discovery of some dodgy woodwork on the bus that needs replacing. Maybe next year the railway will be ready for us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope we are all able to visit the railway in a normal way soon - getting on and off at different stations, travelling back and forth, going for walks between stations. Hope that includes you, your husband and motorhome too.

      Delete
  10. So you were in Whitby when we were in Scarborough. I love Whitby and we usually at least visit it but not this year. I was concerned it would be busy, too crowded. Glad you had a much better time in the apartment than in the awful Filey cottage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And we went to Scarborough on the Tuesday. Too busy. And the Dragon Pedallos were booked up all day.

      Delete

I welcome comments and usually respond the same day (unless it looks like you are trying to advertise something).