Monday, June 16, 2014

British Isles #8: Staithes

View of Village from Cowbar Nab, a windy, seaside cliff head.

Staithes is a sleepy seaside village in North Yorkshire, England on the Jurassic Coast, so named because of  its wealth of fossils millions of years old. Staithes' most famous resident was explorer, Captain James Cook who may have picked up his penchant for wild uncharted seas here. Old town Staithes is built entirely on a steep cliff, the way you might see an Italian of Greek town on the Mediterranean. And if the sky had been blue and the sun blazing it would have resembled such a village. In the summer, this is probably a happenin' place but Staithes, under a curtain of cold, steady rain, was all but deserted.
Visitors must park up at the top of the hill in pay and park lot (I found you must pay to park almost anywhere in Britain) and then walk down the hill to the old village. The town is small, walkable (if you're up for some hills), has a few restaurants and art galleries, but we were there for the incredible views. We walked around the deserted streets for a bit then crossed to the other side of the harbor and made our way up to Cowbar Nab, a National Trust property open to the public. It is steep hill walk to get there and muddy, rough, and windy once you're up there. Do be careful - you are on a cliff. The view in one direction is of the wide ocean and cliffs along the coast. The view to the other direction is the colorful collection of cottages that make up the village of Staithes. It looks storybook, unreal, like tiny model houses of someone's dream out of some other time. With all of the daily trappings of the modern age, I relish moments that offer me a glimpse of another time, a simpler time. Staithes delivered this to me briefly; I had to snatch it from the sideways, cliff top rain.
Staithes storied buildings and tiny alleys through which you can sometimes spy the ocean.

The quiet, cobbled streets of Staithes.
A lovely letter box on a door in town, wished I had something to slip into it.

Waymarker to Cowbar Nab near the entrance gate.

View opposite the village from Cowbar Nab cliff head.

View of village and harbor from Cowbar Nar cliff head.

View of Staithes Harbor at the base of the hill.


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