Sea frets & Sunsets

SEA FRETS.

Also known as sea haar, sea mist or sea fog, they are a very common occurrence on the east coast of the UK. They are caused as pockets of warm air are cooled as they pass over the cold North sea, coupled with the breeze that blows this condensed air back onto the shore, it is only as the day warms up, that the fret disperses. More info here

Oh yes, I can remember the sea frets that lasted all day when, as a child I spent my summer holidays on Yorkshires’ coast.

We’d walk the half mile down to the beach from my nans’ house, which at the time of leaving, was bathed in sunshine, only to find the whole of the sea front was covered in a fret.

There were several other families in our ‘gang’. Undeterred, we’d all plonk ourselves down on the beach, get the deck chairs out and windbreaks up. The adults sat huddled under blankets, while my friends and I were off building sand castles, which strict instruction, ‘don’t go out of sight’, which sometimes meant almost sitting at our parents feet .

A post sea fret day.

More often than not, the fret would be gone by midday, but I remember times when, well after lunch, and everyone deciding to call it a day, we’d trek back to my nans’ to be told, ‘it’s been sunny here all day’.

So, on my recent holiday on the North east coast, waking up to a sea fret on some of the mornings was the reason we decided to move inland slightly.

SUNSETS

I learnt a little about kelvins (colour temperature) when I did my photography course, and also how light travels, so I’m guessing this has something to do with why sunsets are often red, but I think this article probably explains why.

Even as a small child, I loved looking at photographs of sunsets over the water, all my childhood holidays were on the east coast, and I never really understood why I never got to see one in real time.

In my teens, I went to night class to try to learn how to paint in oils. We had to take a photo/postcard to copy, my choice? a silhouette of Whitby Abbey against a bright red setting sun.

I never really took much notice, until later years when it started to puzzle me, as how an Abbey on the East coast of England had been photographed against a sunset. Quite odd really, and obviously caused by the lie of the land.

Here are my very own east coast sea frets and sunsets.

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A week in Whitby – day seven

SATURDAY 26th MAY

I woke up feeling quite sad, this was the last full day of what had been a truly fantastic week.

What more could anyone have wished for. Earlier this year, we had purchased our motorhome, which for me had been a long standing dream. We were in Yorkshire, for obvious reasons one of my favourite places in the UK, and after almost six weeks of more or less of continual rain, we’d had a week of totally stunning weather.

I could hear the seagulls outside. On the mornings of the sea frets, there had been an eerie silence, so I was hoping this was a good sign, as I reached up and unclipped the blind of the rear window.

I couldn’t have wished for a better sight…………

I unfastened the window and opened it as wide as it would go, reached for my camera to record what my eyes were seeing……….the start of another beautiful day!!!

Much on the same lines as yesterday, we sat outside for breakfast then discussed how we’d spend the final day. We both agreed there was no point in driving anywhere as we had all we wanted on the site.

T had called into a pub in Whitby earlier in the week, and found they would be screening a rugby match he wanted to watch, so his plans for the afternoon were sorted.

Firstly though, Sal and Jasp needed a walk, so we set off along the Cleveland Way in the direction of Robin Hoods Bay. I had viewed this section of the walk through my binoculars the previous evening, and although it wasn’t a proper footpath, it still looked OK for Jasper to cope with.

More a track than a footpath, the various fields were separated by swing gates to walk through, everything was going well, until we came across a flight of wooden steps straddling a ditch, they were far too steep for Jasp to manage, and without a slope at the side, reluctantly we had to turn back, probably a good job anyway, as it was getting quite warm by the time we got back to the van, and both dogs were quite happy to lie in the shade, while T and I sat soaking up the suns rays.

T was quite happy to stay where he was, as he’d be walking the mile into Whitby later,  but I wanted one final walk in the local bay, and as the tide was out, it was a perfect opportunity. Jasp wouldn’t have managed it, but I thought  Sal would enjoy a run on the beach, so grabbing my camera, we set off.

Sal ran almost the full length of the slope down to the beach, leaping off the three foot drop at the bottom, where we’d struggled with Jasp earlier in the week.

I walked out to the rock, which is just visible from this photo and Sal posed for her photo. The campsite is just visible to the top left of this pic.

We spent about an hour wandering around the beach and rocks, then went back up the slope to the site, I can’t believe how steep it was, unlike the other day when we were taking a couple of strides and stopping for Jasp, I had no excuse this time, Sal was already at the top, waiting for me and wagging her tail, by the time I, puffing like I’d just smoked about fifty fags (not that I’ve ever smoked) caught up with her.

Walking back through the campsite site entrance, I got back to the van just in time, as T was waiting to set off into Whitby. “I’ll be back in about two or three hours” he shouted back to me as he walked away.

Both dogs asleep, I’m sat in the sun, watching the world go by, with a bottle of Peroni in my hand………does life get any better?

Suddenly my phone rang…………it’s T……..”Vic, you won’t believe this” he carries on to tell me,  he’d got to the pub, just in time for the start of the game, walked into the lounge, to find a local derby of two Yorkshire football teams on the TV. Being in Yorkshire, with two Yorkshire teams on the TV, he didn’t think it a good idea to ask if he could watch the rugby instead. So he was going for a wander around the town.

After about an hour, thinking he’d probably be on his way back, I decided I’d take the dogs along the coast path to meet him. Half way there, I thought I’d better phone him to tell him what I was doing, just incase he’d decided to find a bus back. It was a good job I did, he was just leaving and his plan was to walk back along the beach. So, change of plan, he set off up Donkey Road to the cliff top path. Sal and Jasp were a picture, they couldn’t believe who they saw walking towards them, and charged up to greet him.

That evening, T had the mixed remains of yesterdays curry, I had beans on toast again, and we finished another bottle of red.

Looking out of the window later in the evening, I saw the beginning of a what I thought would be a beautiful sunset, so grabbing my camera, for the last time this holiday, I set off along the clifftop towards Whitby (again) for my finale photo.

SUNDAY 27th MAY

We had to be off site by 10am, so no leisurely wake up, breakfast etc. it was all hands on deck preparing the van for the off.

Calling to visit my mum in Harrogate on the way back to the midlands, we arrived home at 8pm, exhausted, but happy.

WHAT A FANTASTIC HOLIDAY THAT WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A week in Whitby – day four

WEDNESDAY 23rd MAY

Waking up, bright and early, listening to the sea through the half open roof vents, yeah! life’s good 🙂

‘The sun has got his hat on….hip, hip, hip, hurray………

This tune started humming through my mind, as I opened the blinds to greet the morning.

Huh! Oh no he hasn’t!……..

I peered out, through the rear window at nothing, a grey swirling mass of nothing. Opening the side blinds, I could just about make out one or two shapes of the nearby caravans.

Funnily enough, my mind suddenly stopped singing sunny songs, and I had flashbacks to a film I had seen on the TV a few years previous.

The Fog – It tells the story of a strange, glowing fog that sweeps in over a small coastal town, bringing with it the vengeful ghosts of mariners who were killed in a shipwreck there exactly 100 years earlier.

Luckily, this was just a sea fret, well known on the North East coast, that usually burns off later in the day, though the Whitby area is notoriously stubborn for not doing so.

Never mind, our plan for the day was to go onto the nearby moors, so hopefully we’d escape it anyway.

After a breakfast of cereals, T decided he was going to cook himself a bacon sandwich as well, so I wandered outside into the swirling mass with Sal & Jasp.

Walking round the site, I didn’t see a soul, I was half expecting those ancient mariners to materialise from the eerie atmosphere.

I hurried back, to find T had eaten, washed up and was preparing the van for the short journey inland.

The sea fret had lived up to it’s name, no sooner had we driven up out of Whitby, there was blue sky everywhere, not a cloud in sight.

We knew exactly where we were going…………..well sort of.
Somewhere on the North Yorks moors, between Goathland and Pickering, is a ford, not just any ford, but the one that had an old series Land Rover driving through it, in the opening credits of the Yorkshire TV program Heartbeat.

Me, being the very ‘sad’ person I am, decided a few years ago I wanted to drive my Land Rover through this ford too, so, much to T’s total bewilderment at this odd need I had, we made a few enquiries in Goathland (Aidensfield to Heartbeat fans) and went in search of ‘the ford’.

We found it, in fact two years later in 2008, we found it again, so I could do it for a second time 😳

So, here we were again, driving through Goathland, which incidentally was heaving with sightseers, trying to remember which of the many moorland roads was the one we needed. All moorland roads look the same, plenty of heather and sheep, but not much in the way of landmarks.

I’m sure T has some sort of sat nav programmed into his brain, he tells me it comes from years of driving trucks, but I was totally gobsmacked when after many lefts and rights at various unmarked crossroads, we arrived at ‘my ford’

No, we didn’t drive through it, it hasn’t quite got the same effect with the motorhome, so we parked it up, got the dogs out, and set off for a walk.

The dogs welcomed a cooling drink, in fact, Sal who doesn’t drink much water at all, couldn’t get enough of it.

This was a totally stunning place to walk, the photos I took, just don’t do it justice. There was total silence apart from the stream running over the stones, and the twittering birds.

Hello Mrs sheep and baby lambkin, you certainly live in a beautiful place.

The ford, OK, I know it doesn’t look much. We later found out the area is called Wheeldale, so I guess it’s Wheeldale ford.

We ambled back to the van, put the kettle on, and made ourselves a cuppa, then sat down outside and listened to…………nothing. The sound of silence, wonderful!!

T had also got a request, this was to go to a little place called Beck Hole, where we’d called in after our second ‘ford’ visit. There was a quaint little pub there, and he wanted to re-visit.

So, back into Goathland, which was still heaving with visitors, turn left and half a mile down a steep hill, we were back in Beck Hole.

We parked on the side of the road and walked over the bridge to the Birch Hall Inn.

What an amazing little pub this is, walking in from the road, was like walking into the past. Stone flags on the floor, wooden church pew style seating, and a serving hatch to order the drinks from.

We’d left Sal and Jasp in the van, mainly because Jasps legs had almost seized up, but found they’d have been more than welcome there. Every dog visitor gets a dog biscuit, served with their owners drinks.

T insisted I took his photo, so he could show his mates where he’d been.

After a most refreshing drink, we slowly wandered back to the motorhome, I grabbed a quick pic from under the bridge, looking back towards the pub on the other side.

A short drive back to the site, and we were soon settled, ready for our free delivery of fish & chips from one of the local Whitby chippies.

We later watched the sun go down over Whitby Abbey. A very odd occurrence. Here we are sat on the North East coast, watching the sun set over the sea. 😮

Day four, and we have the evening bed making plan working to a T (literally), as I popped down to have a shower. 😉

The end to another fantastic day!!

A week in Whitby – day three

TUESDAY 22nd MAY

Wow, was this weather really happening for us. I’d just opened the blinds, to be confronted by totally BLUE skies.

The day started very much on the same lines as yesterday, feed the dogs, put the bedding away, though this time T joined me with cereals for breakfast, before we took S & J  for their morning constitutional.

We thought we’d go and check out the local Saltwick Bay, which was two minutes walk from where we were parked, down the winding, well trodden path.

Halfway down we were confronted with steps again, not proper steps, but about twenty, dug into the cliff face and held into shape by planks of wood. Oh decisions, decisions, do we continue down, so the dogs can have a walk on the beach, or do we go back up again.

We decided to continue down, in places Jasper could walk on the grass at the side, and he was moving well, especially after yesterdays step disaster.

Slowly we edged our way to the bottom of the cliff……….. yeah, nearly there……..hmmm, perhaps not!! the final few yards meant either walking over five massive boulders, or a three foot drop. The boulders were definitely out, so we edged over to the drop. T jumped down, I held onto J to stop him trying the same.

We’re going to have to ‘float’ him down. ‘Float’ is my word for getting him out of the back of the discovery, whereby I hold him by his harness and under his belly, and telling him to ‘float’ as I lift him out, he then floats to the ground with the help of gravity.

Now he’s never floated from anything higher than the back of the motor, so this was a challenge. There’s T, waiting, arms outstretched holding onto J’s harness and rear end, as I position him on the edge…….ready, steady, f..l..o..a..t. and 34kg of dog is now standing on the sand, Yeah!!!, were down.

All the time this is going on, Sal had found a playmate on the beach, and was having a whale of a time.

We spent about an hour down there, wandering along the waters edge, sitting on the rocks, and basically enjoying the whole experience.

We’d been putting off getting back up, but it had to be done, so we went back to the drop, I stood on the edge, while T lifted Jasp up enough for me to grab his harness and hoist him up, then it was a slow climb back to the top. Jasp is so tolerant of all this manhandling, and just takes it in his stride.

It was then back to the motorhome for a well earned rest and a cuppa.

We decided we’d go to Robin Hoods Bay in the afternoon.

Now I’d have liked nothing more than to walk it, but five miles along the Cleveland way cliff top walk, was way over anything I’d expect J to do, so we unhooked the motorhome, tidied a few things away, and drove there.

Anyone who has ever visited this bay, will know that vehicles are nor permitted down the road to the bottom, so parking at the top, we set off down another steep descent.

View from the top, across the bay.

Walking down the narrow winding streets, re-ignited many childhood memories, of walking down with my parents. I remember being fascinated by all the mice that had been carved on the wooden gates and doors that lined the street, the signature of a local wood carver Robert Thompson, known as the Mouseman of Kilburn. Sadly there weren’t any mice to be seen anymore, but I expect he died many years ago, taking his craft with him.

At the bottom, T, S & J, heading for the seats outside The Bay Hotel, where we spent almost two hours watching the world go by.


This photo was taken from almost the same place as the one above, but just turning to my right for the view over the bay.

Oh, such happy memories of childhood innocence, when my dad and I would go rock pooling over those rocks.

Suitably rested, we were ready for the long climb back to the top, which Jasper coped with admirably.

A plaque at the top, which had gone un-noticed on our way down, tells of an amazing rescue performed by Whitby lifeboat.

Returning to the motorhome, it was a short trip back to the site.


We ordered a curry take away for free delivery, and later sat finishing off another bottle of red, watching the sun go down.

The bed for tonight?, yes T wanted to make up the double again, so I left him to it and went down to the immaculate shower block, returning to find my bed waiting for me to flop into.

This seemed a far more ciivilised idea to me 🙂