A ‘Zero’ hiking day. From Levisham station to Whitby on the historical steam railway. Chips and seagulls, disappointment and an expensive loss.
My feet are sore and I have a blister after my first two days walking (I blame that long Roman road yesterday) so a day away from hiking seems a good idea and I have been looking forward to travelling in style on the volunteer run line between Pickering and Whitby.
A short walk down into Newton Dale to Levisham station which is the first stop after Pickering, to buy the expensive ticket, but that’s OK, coal isn’t cheap. There is time to sketch the little signalbox and level crossing before the train pulls in.
I do the trainspotter thing and get a quick video of the locomotive steaming in and then have to rush to the guards van because all the carriage doors have already been shut and it’s the only one open. The NYMR doesn’t have individually booked seats but many of the carriages have reserved signs on them and it seems that a couple of very large groups have booked most of the train. There are no window seats left anywhere and few aisle seats available at all outside the reserved sections so I sit in one of those until the dark stares of the occupants make me uncomfortable and I move to an unreserved carriage. I soon realise that I am actually sitting with a family who are spread both sides of the aisle, so for the rest of the journey I pretend I am not listening to them and they just talk across me anyway. I think how different that would be in Ireland – I would be one of the family in seconds.
Whitby on a Saturday is crammed full of day trippers, probably from the conurbations of Middlesbrough and Teesside. Bad planning on my part and it starts to drizzle too. I head to the quieter up-town streets away from the crowded harbourside, Old Town and Abbey. Pannett Art Gallery has some good local work but I don’t bother with the museum.
I eat a good lunch in the bizarrely named ‘Rusty Shears’ tea shop and sketch in their pretty courtyard sheltering under a huge parasol and wrapping one of their colourful blankets over my shoulders for warmth.
Back down to the harbour and I find somewhere not too busy to sketch the view while doing my best to ignore the people looking over my shoulder and the seagulls targeting it from above. I get “Are you an Artist?” several times. There is no real answer to that but I have taken to replying “Yes, and so are you”, but not to the seagulls, although they probably are in a way.
I take a photo of the view for reference later and that is the last one I take on my precious, expensive, relatively new Sony RX100M4 camera. Next time I need it it isn’t there. Not on my wrist, not in my bag, not in my waist-bag, not in my pocket. Nowhere. It’s gone and I never see it again. Since then I have reported it to the Police (online, they don’t man the minor stations these days), re-visited all the places I can remember visiting and thought over and over again where it can have gone. But it’s gone.
All in all, Whitby on this Saturday in May is a memorable mix of occasional drizzle, adults eating chips, kids and dogs eating chips, seagulls eating chips and a big chip on my shoulders. My knees and feet hurt too but the sketches turn out OK don’t you think?