North Yorkshire Coast #2

[ Photo Gallery # 79 ]

Moving further along the North Sea coast of Yorkshire from the scenes of the villages north of Whitby in my previous Photo Gallery ( # 78), I post below just a selection of my photographs of two seaside towns, Saltburn and Redcar.

Both were and still are holiday resorts, once much more popular as such than they are today.   Both still maintain a small, if much diminished, fishing fleet and still do their utmost to attract visitors.  Their great glory is the beautiful 8 mile long beach, one of the longest unbroken stretches in the United Kingdom, running from South Gare, at the mouth of the River Tees, southwards, along the seafront of Redcar, past Marske-by-the-Sea, to Huntcliffe at Saltburn.

01 saltburn

SALTBURN: Huntcliffe,Cat Nab & the Ship Inn.

02 saltburn

SALTBURN: The view south from the entrance to the funicular cliff railway and Huntcliffe,

03 SaltburnSurfers

Saltburn is one of the original centres of the north-east surfing scene

04 saltburn

The funicular railway at Saltburn began operating in 1884 and is the oldest operating water-balance cliff lift in the United Kingdom.

05 saltburn

A misty view upwards showing the balanced ascending and descending carriages

06 saltburn

Saltburn pier, first opened in 1869, is now the last pier remaining in Yorkshire.  It has itself been frequently damaged in the past by North Sea storms, but remains a popular attraction.

06a Saltburn

View from the pier southwards to Huntcliffe

06b Saltburn

Saltburn Pier – looking due East to the North Sea

07 redcar

The view to sea from REDCAR.  Not what I had expected to see, 10 years after my previous visit!

08 redcar

REDCAR: Wind Turbines – now detracting from the view of the North Sea

09 redcar

Even the re-designed and modern seafront promenade now has wind turbines as a backdrop

10 redcar

REDCAR  . . .  and the fishing boats now have these to contend with too!

11 redcar

REDCAR BEACON:  Now sporting  a seafront helter-skelter – Sorry, NO, it is apparently a Vertical Pier, with its own restaurant and giving beautiful views along the Yorkshire coastline. 

12 redcar

REDCAR:  . . . and sand sculptures to enhance the view!?




Whitby #3

[ Photo Gallery # 77 ]

A further (last – for the time being anyway) selection of my photographs of Whitby taken on my frequent visits there  in the past . . .

Whitby (1)

Whitby – as the River Esk enters the North Sea – view from East Cliff

Whitby (2)

Harbour Entrance   1

Whitby (3)

Harbour Entrance 2

Whitby (4)

Harbour Entrance 3

Whitby (5)

The ruins of Whitby Abbey atop East Cliff

Whitby (6)

Whitby Town – view from the top of the 199 Steps

Whitby (7)

Caedmon’s Cross and Whitby Town – View from the Churchyard of St.Mary’s 

Whitby (8)

Old gravestones in the churchyard – a prominent setting for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ story.

Whitby (9)

A Weathered Gravestone

Whitby (10)

By the entrance to the church – Memorial to John Storr, the Coxwain of the Whitby lifeboat, and eleven others who lost their lives on the lifeboat in 1861.

Whitby (11)

A modern day street puppeteer with organ grinder on the Whitby harbour-side

Whitby (12)



WHITBY – North Yorkshire

[  Photo Blog # 75  ]

Moving from my visits to the coastal areas of the far south-west of England over the past few weeks, I now wish to post over the next few Thursdays a number of galleries of my photographs from the opposite, North-Eastern, coasts of England.  This particular photograph collection is of the historic North Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby.  I have visited there before in a number of my earlier blogs.

The photographs below cover a variety of different scenes within the town . . .

Whitby (0) OS Map



Whitby (1)

The jawbones of a whale, framing the ancient Abbey and church on top of the cliffs on the southern bank of the River Esk as it meets the North Sea.  In the 18th and 19th centuries the whaling industry was thriving in Whitby.  Dozens of ships braved the Arctic seas off Greenland to hunt these elusive leviathans for their lucrative whale oil.  Many of the crews never came back.

Whitby (2)

A similar view, but this time showing the statue of Captain James Cook, gazing out to the North Sea, from where Cook first set out to sea in ships transporting coal to London and the River Thames. 

Whitby (3)

Close up view of the Cook Memorial

Whitby (4)

Looking North along the Yorkshire coast towards Sandsend

Whitby (5)

The sea entrance to Whitby Harbour

Whitby (6)

Modern reproduction of  HMS Endeavour, the British Royal Navy research vessel that Lieutenant James Cook commanded on his first voyage of discovery, to Australia and New Zealand, from 1769 to 1771.

Whitby (7)

Whitby Inner Harbour looking south to the ruins of Whitby Abbey

Whitby (8)

The modern ‘Endeavour’s’ figurehead

Whitby (9)

Modern-day street entertainer at the entrance to one of Whitby’s many ancient ‘Yards’.   Visit my poem about this particular historic Whitby spot at:  ‘Argument’s Yard’ 

Whitby (10)

Queuing for entry to Whitby’s famous ‘Magpie Cafe’, renowned for its fresh fish and chip meals.

Whitby (11)

Goths in Whitby for one of its regular Goth Weekends’, a celebration of the fact that Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ novel begins its story near the ancient Abbey here.

Whitby (12)

More of Whitby’s Goths


West Cornwall #3

[  Photo Blog # 74  ]

Below is a further selection of the many photographs I took on my visits to South-West Cornwall and the Lizard Peninsular between 2006 and 2008.

CornwallSep06 StIves01

Beach at St.Ives

CornwallSep06 StIves4

A good day for yachting at St.Ives

CornwallSep06 StIves08

Will You Marry Me’  (No question mark!).  I trust Julie was pleased.

CornwallSep06 StIves09

Porthgwidden Beach, St.Ives

CornwallSep06 StIves12-Tate

The view from Tate St. Ives Art Gallery

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View from the Church of St Just in Roseland

CornwallSep06 Trebah2

View from Trebah Gardens over to the Helford River

CornwallSep06 Trebah3

View from Trebah Gardens out to the English Channel

CornwallSep06 Trebah6

Another View from Trebah Gardens

CornwallSep06 Trelissick05

A Tree (species unknown to me) in Trelissick Gardens

CornwallSep06 Trelissick08

View from Trelissick Gardens towards the River Fal

The Red Chesters



“Shall I collect the red chesters?”,
The caretaker said to me.
He’d said it so often I didn’t demur;
I grimaced and just let it be.

For him to take care of a school,
That was a daily trial.
He’d disappear for hours on end;
Complaints just met with denial.

‘Thruppence short of half a crown’,
Was how we described him then;
But that was being so unkind
To a minnow amongst men.

He shuffled around from place to place
Carrying brush and pan,
Picking up what others dropped,
Doing it because he can.

When needed to open a stockroom door
He went to find the key.
Two hours later he appeared
To set the prisoner free.

He stoked the boiler from time to time
To keep the heating on,
But never remembered to turn it off
When wintertime had gone.

He swept the playground with a broom
The way he’d always done.
You couldn’t see the difference
From when he had begun.

Cleaning out the long jump pit
Was just a task too far.
He couldn’t tell a pile of sand
From half a ton of tar.

And as for adding up I found,
He wasn’t the wisest of men.
When asked to count milk bottles up
He could never get past ten.

I asked him once how many chairs
He’d set out in the hall.
He told me, about ten rows, plus two,
He’d put against the wall.

And as for cleaning out latrines,
He didn’t find that easy.
He couldn’t wash a basin out
Without him feeling queasy.

So why, you ask, did I appoint him,
Choose him before another?
Sorry, but I do admit,
He was my dearest brother.




N.B.  ‘Red Chesters’ is the way some people mispronounce the word ‘Registers’, which are the daily attendance records maintained in each class of UK schools.



West Cornwall # 2

[  Photo Blog # 73  ]

Below is a further selection of the many photographs I took on my visits to South-West Cornwall and the Lizard Peninsular between 2006 and 2008.

Cornwall Map

Map of South-West Cornwall

CornwallSep06 Mousehole03

Low Tide – The Harbour at Mousehole (pronounced “Mowzel”) 

CornwallSep06 Mousehole04

Low Tide – The Harbour at Mousehole – close-up view

CornwallSep06 MullionCove1

On the Lizard Peninsular – Mullion Cove – 1

CornwallSep06 MullionCove3

Mullion Cove – 2

CornwallSep06 MullionCove5

Mullion Cove – 3

CornwallSep06 PoldhuCove02

The Lizard Peninsular – Beach at Poldhu

CornwallSep06 PoldhuCove03

Beach at Poldhu – Shoe Rack

CornwallSep06 PoldhuCove05

Beach at Poldhu

CornwallSep06 PoldhuCove06

Early Evening  at Poldhu Beach

CornwallSep06 PoldhuCove07

Poldhu Beach

CornwallSep06 PoldhuCove08

Poldhu Beach


CornwallSep06 PoldhuCove14Marconi

The coast and the Marconi mPoldhu

CornwallSep06 PoldhuCove17Marconi

Poldhu – The site is famous as the location of Poldhu Wireless Station, Guglielmo Marconi’s transmitter for the first transatlantic radio message on 12 December 1901 to his temporary receiving station on Signal Hill, St.John’s, Newfoundland. 

CornwallSep06 PoldhuCove18Marconi

Poldhu – Marconi’s Commemoration Plaque


The (Very) Outer Hebrides

From time to time I intend to reproduce, usually with minor changes, a few of my earliest WordPress posts from ‘Roland’s Ragbag’.  These will be ones which were, and are still, of particular import to me and which most of my current followers and readers will not have seen or read before.  For those of you who may have come across the earlier versions, I do hope you will consider them to be worthy of a second airing.


ON . . .  Flannan Isle, St.Kilda, and ‘Coffin Road’


The Outer Hebrides – showing Flannan Isle


In 2012, on a Round Britain cruise, I passed close to the Flannan Isles and to St.Kilda.  This was, for me, meant to be the highlight of the cruise, as I had in the past read much about both these remote places – the outermost islands of the Outer Hebrides – St.Kilda in fact being the furthest west point of the whole British Isles.  Unfortunately, the weather, as is often the case in those parts, was not good.  The sea was rough and the islands shrouded in mist.  I did manage a few photographs of St.Kilda, covered in mist and seabirds, but that was it. . .



St.Kilda in the mist … Photos by WHB – 2012

Flannan Isle is in fact a small archipelago of seven rocks, sometimes known as ‘The Seven Hunters’.  It has held great interest for me ever since, way back in my school days, just about my first introduction to narrative poetry was through the re-telling, by Wilfred Wilson Gibson, of the story of the three missing lighthouse men in his poem  ‘Flannan Isle’ (q.v.).  The story, for those not familiar with it, has echoes of the story of the missing crew of the ‘Mary Celeste’.

The Flannan Isle lighthouse was constructed in 1899 by David and Charles Stevenson.  Just a year later, when investigating why the light was not lit, 3 men landed on the isle but could find no trace of the 3 lighthouse keepers.  Although the table in the lighthouse was set with food, and although the rules of procedure insisted that one man should always remain in the lighthouse, no trace of any of them was ever found.   The full story is recounted in Gibson’s poem.  I have always remembered in particular the emotive last verse:

‘We seem’d to stand for an endless while,  Though still no word was said,
Three men alive on Flannan Isle,  Who thought on three men dead.’


The whole story was brought vividly back to me when I recently read Peter May‘s 2016 book, ‘Coffin Road’.   Gripping from the very beginning, It is a top-quality read – the best book I have read for a long long time.

‘A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, barely alive. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road.’

Flannan Isle itself, and the story of the three lighthouse men, are central to the story. There is a very strong plot and, as well as being a first-class thriller, the story has a cogent environmental message concerning the dangers of science being exploited for profit unrestrained by ethics.  As in others of his books, Peter May brings the Hebridean landscape to vivid life in all its rugged beauty, as well as realistically conveying the wildness of both the Hebridean sea and its weather.

I also learnt a lot about Bees from ‘The Coffin Road’ !!!   I thoroughly recommend it.



Houses of God



Stowe, Buckinghamshire

Strength in stone,
Hope in height,
Testament in time
Prove its lasting might.


Selworthy, Somerset

To those with faith,
Those who believe,
Those who rejoice,
And those who grieve.

3St Justin Church-Cornwall

St Just’s Church, St. Just in Roseland, Cornwall

Here present hope
And future need,
Through prayer and praise
Help fears recede.

4Yorks-Lastingham-Blacksmiths Arms

Lastingham, North Yorkshire

Church and chapel
Hold their place
In loving hearts,
With God’s good grace.

5Salisbury Sunset

Cathedral, Chichester, West Sussex

Cathedral cloisters,
Calm retreat,
Where stress and pain
With courage meet.


St.Colman’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Cobh, Eire

Houses of God,
Built for prayer,
For those with faith,
Somehow, somewhere.


Churchyard Blues– Five HAIKU

Yorks-Haworth Churchyard-1983

Haworth Churchyard, Yorkshire.  The Brontes are buried in a vault inside the church , except Anne who was buried at Scarborough.   Pen & Ink Sketch – WHB, 1983    ©





Cradle of their births,
Shrouds for their future demise;
A place to belong. 



To those with belief
Death does not come as an end;
With faith no one dies.



Stay, hear, be silent;
Listen to the song thrush bring
Hope to the living



Know, amongst these stones,
That life always precedes death;
Make the most of it.



If only God’s faith
Would strike my doubt ridden soul
I would die content.

Yorks-Aysgarth Church-1981_preview

Aysgarth Churchyard, Yorkshire – Pen & Ink Sketch – WHB, 1981   ©




[ Photo Blog  #68 ]


Zakynthos, or Zante,  is a Greek island in the Mediterranean’s southern Ionian Sea. The island’s capital is the coastal city, which is itself called Zakynthos.  It is centred around the waterfront area of Solomos Square.  I visited the island in 2006 and include below some of the photographs of the island and its capital which I took at that time.

Zakinthos (1)

Approaching Zakinthos from the sea

Zakinthos (2)

Rainbow over the island

Zakinthos (3)


Zakinthos (4)

Cypress trees in the wooded hills above the island’s capital

Zakinthos (5)

One of the island’s many tourist beaches

Zakinthos (6)

Harbour side – Fish fresh from the sea

Zakinthos (7)

Colourful fishing nets

Zakinthos (8)

Zakinthos (9)

A Bougainvillea-clad house in Solomos Square 

Zakinthos (15)

Bronze bust of a Greek Orthodox bishop outside the Church of St Agios Dionysios, Zakynthos

Zakinthos (16)

Statue of Liberty on Solomos square in Zakynthos city 

Zakinthos (17)

Close-up of ‘Liberty’

Zakinthos (18)

Jason’s long-lost and battered Argo perhaps !?

Zakinthos (19)

Zante’s turquoise sea

Zakinthos (20)

Zakinthos (21)

P&O ‘Arcadia’ at Zakinthos