Whitby harbour, River Esk, North York Moors
Whitby harbour, River Esk, North York Moors

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Whitby abbey steps, top step number
The 199th step

National Parks


Yorkshire Day 1 August

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Route No. 304 - Saturday 1 August 2009
(Also walked Thursday 30 July 2009)
Whitby, Gnipe Howe(nr. Hawsker),
Cleveland Way, Saltwick Bay circuit - 12km
North York Moors. . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base.
View the route in Google Earth

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL27 North York Moors Eastern area at 1:25000


Full size replica of the man'o war, The Grand Turk
Full size replica of the man'o war, "The Grand Turk"

Today we met at the visitor centre in the town at map ref. NZ899108 at about 10.15 am.We set off past the "Grand Turk" full size replica of the sailing ship moored in the harbour.

This morning my wife and I drove to Whitby to meet a group of friends for our regular monthly walk. I had checked the route out on my own on the previous Thusday, 30 July when the weather early in the day was very pleasant.

Cobbled Whitby street leading to the Abbey Steps
Cobbled Whitby street leading to the Abbey Steps

The start of the Abbey Steps
The start of the Abbey Steps

Over the bridge we turned left up a cobbled side street leading to the foot of the Abbey Steps at map ref. NZ900113. We climbed the steps, all 199 of them. They are numbered with a little round metal plaque on every tenth step.

The weather forecast was poor but there seemed to be a chance of missing the worst of the rain passing across the country today. We crossed the bridge over the harbour (River Esk).

Step number 140 (CXL)
Step number 140 (CXL)

Looking across Whitby harbour from about half way up the Abbey Steps
Looking across Whitby harbour from about half way up the Abbey Steps

Whitby Parish Church, St Mary's
Whitby Parish Church, St Mary's

Just beyond the church is the entrance to the ruins of Whitby Abbey, which are surrounded by a high stone wall.

At the top of the steps is the Whitby parish church, St Mary's. If you know where to look there are the graves of two pirates with the skull & crossed bones carved on the head stones.


The ruins of Whitby Abbey

Looking back to Whitby Abbey from the Cleveland Way
Looking back to Whitby Abbey from the Cleveland Way cliff top path

Male Vapourer, day-flying moth
Male Vapourer, day-flying moth

Looking inland from the track at Brook House
Looking inland from the track at Brook House

We continued along the cliff path for about 1.5km to the caravan site at Saltwick Bay. Saltwick Bay was the site of the wreck of the Rohilla in 1914, a hospital ship caught in a terrible storm.

We followed the footpath around the outside of the wall for about 200m to map ref. NZ903112. Here we turned left off the road to follow the Cleveland Way path down a short farm access road and out to the cliff top.

Harebells by the path
Harebells by the path


Straw bales by an old barn at Ling Hill Farm

Hen with a well camouflaged brood in the grass
Hen with a well camouflaged brood in the grass

Looking NW from Ling Hill Farm
Looking NW from Ling Hill Farm

Here we turned on to the access road first to Brook House, and then after about 1.3km to a series of buildings and Ling Hill Farm.

We left the Cleveland Way here and walked along the caravan site access road to a public road at map ref. NZ913102. We followed the road for about 250m to a farm access road on the left.

Female large white butterfly - the male has no spots
Female large white butterfly - the male has no spots

Looking back to the coast from the path to Beacon Hill
Looking back to the coast from the path to Beacon Hill

Looking inland from the track to Gnipe Howe farm
Looking inland from the track to Gnipe Howe farm

Painted Lady butterfly on some blackberry flowers
Painted Lady butterfly on some blackberry flowers

We turned left here on to a farm track which we followed for about 1.5km to Gnipe Howe farm at map ref. NZ933084.

At Ling Hill Farm we turned right off the access road to follow a path across the fields to Beacon Hill and Whitby Laithes farm at map ref. NZ925095.

The Cleveland Way path below Gnipe Howe
The Cleveland Way path below Gnipe Howe

Looking NW along the Cleveland Way path from the bank below Gnipe Howe
Looking NW along the Cleveland Way path from the bank below Gnipe Howe

Our lunch stop on the bank below Gnipe Howe
Our lunch stop on the bank below Gnipe Howe

liffs from the Cleveland way path
Cliffs from the Cleveland way path

Cleveland Way path crossing a gulley
Cleveland Way path crossing a gulley

So far the weather had kept fine but as we were finishing our break a shower caught up with us and we had to get the wet weather gear out. After just a few minutes the rain stopped and there was no more until had returned to Whitby.

At the farm we took a path across the field and down the slope to the Cleveland Way coastal path on the cliff top at map ref. NZ936086. There is a steep bank down to the Cleveland Way and we sat on the bank with a pleasant view over the sea to have our lunch.

Cliffs from the Cleveland way path
Cliffs from the Cleveland way path

One of the many small boats moving along the coast
One of the many small boats moving along the coast

Cleveland Way path crossing a gulley
Cleveland Way path crossing a gulley

Looking SE along the Cleveland Way cliff top path
Looking SE along the Cleveland Way cliff top path

Whitby Lighthouse
Whitby Lighthouse

The old Whitby Fog Horn
The old Whitby Fog Horn

and a few yards further on, the old fog-horn building. They're all holiday cottages now.

We followed the Cleveland Way along the cliff top to the lighthouse

Kittiwake colony on the cliff near the lighthouse
Kittiwake colony on the cliff near the lighthouse

Approaching Saltwick Bay
Approaching Saltwick Bay

Saltwick Bay, scene of the wreck of the Rohilla in 1914
Saltwick Bay, scene of the wreck of the hospital ship, Rohilla, in 1914

Rocky outcrop in Saltwick Bay
Rocky outcrop in Saltwick Bay

Looking NW from Whitby Abbey
Looking NW from Whitby Abbey

We bought some Whitby kippers and a side of smoked salmon - absolutely delicious! We found a cafe near the station for a coffee and a toasted teacake before heading for home. The whole walk had been about 12km and it had taken us about four hours to walk including our lunch stop.

From the fog horn building we continued along the Cleveland way back to Saltwick Bay. From there we retraced our steps to Whitby Abbey and back down the steps to the town. At the bottom of the steps we turned right to walk about 100m to the kipper smoke house

A newly fledged kestrel on the cliffs
A newly fledged kestrel on the cliffs

Whitby kippers in the smoke house near the Abbey steps
Whitby kippers in the smoke house near the Abbey steps