The small town of Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast lays claim to much history, from being the home town of Captain Cook (albeit for a year), many years of mineral mining, a huge fishing industry and even the occasional ghost sighting.
Today the sheltered harbour of Staithes has seen the fishing boats replaced by day boats for the weekend crowd. Many of the fisherman’s cottages are now converted to holiday homes and B&B’s as tourism is now the town’s main money-spinner.
At low tide a rocky seabed is uncovered in the sheltered harbour which is very popular with children exploring the rock pools.
When the tide retreats bright green seaweed slime and wildlife such as limpets are revealed creating colourful and fascinating patterns on the rocks.
In the 18th and 19th century the Staithes fishing industry employed around a thousand people. Today there is little sign of such industry other than the stacked piles of lobster cages on the quayside.
A regular sight are barefoot daytrippers, trousers rolled up to their knees with fishing nets and buckets in hand ready to catch crabs and other fruits of the sea.
The Cod and Lobster Pub on the Staithes quayside is a great place to look out to sea and enjoy a pint and a hearty portion of fish and chips.
I’ve now visited Staithes twice and had very different experiences each time. The first time around 14 years ago the weather was blowing a gale and water lashed against the sea wall, very dramatic but quite inhospitable. My second visit the weather was on our side making an enjoyable afternoon outing.
by Si Salter