As with many things of late, none of our planning had been done in advance largely due to the uncertainty with Covid. So the general area of interest around Whitby only started to be investigated the Sunday before we were set to leave on the Tuesday.
We used an app called ‘Park for a Night’ to flesh out a few campsites and wild camping areas in and around the Yorkshire moors, and it’s coastline. We had paid for the professional version of the app and at £8 yearly, it seemed to be worth it.
After working a full day on Tuesday, we left for the first location at 5 PM. At approximately 7.30pm and with no real traffic to contend with we approached our first camping spot . It was a steep climb and we had to drop to first gear for best part of half a mile .The moorland was green, but peppered with an abundance of purple flowers from the heather. Well worth the stress of thinking he wouldn’t make it up the hill.
We arrived at Danby Beacon. an old radar station, high in the moors with 360 views across amazing countryside as far as the coast. The first leg of the journey was complete.
We both had an early night, but were awoken by what we both thought was somebody trying to get into the van. I jumped from the top bunk and slid the side door open, convinced I would be confronted by youths or hooded criminals. How far could I have been from the reality.
Two black faced horned sheep were semi startled when I slid open the door. Not too much I would hasten to add. Just a couple of quick steps away, then a glance round to see what had rudely interrupted their grassy feast. They were obviously used to humans, but as a human I wasn’t used to the horns of sheep scraping against the side of my van early morning.
Over the period of an hour or so Mandy and I had a coffee, shower and decided to have breakfast at the next location, which would be another Park for a Night freebie….Staiths.
The app has an “itinerary”, which basically uses Google Maps to take you directly to the location others have suggested as a place to stay. We arrived without issue in a small car park with very unremarkable views.
However, after breakfast we began to explore we realised that the real gem was hidden in a beautiful harbor cove which sat at sea level a steep walk from our parking spot. Wow.
After a few hours we had a look round, and coffee and an ice cream. We made our way back to the van and both agreed we would move on further north to a place called Saltburn-by-the-Sea. It only took half an hour, and we managed to park on a road called Marine Parade with amazing views of the beach.
Even better we were next to a small well tended garden, so our was a double whammy.
Again, this was found using the camping app, and it seemed too good to be true. Free parking overnight. We were obviously apprehensive at first, but there were no meters or signs regarding limited parking, and there were a fair few campervans dotted around. This was mid afternoon, and it was a little overcast, so we just had a wander around the town. The walk down to the beach was a steep one, so we decided to leave that for the following day. The sunset that evening was epic.
We both slept pretty well. The road wasn’t busy in the evening, the lights along the street didn’t cause any problems during the dark, and what’s more surprising is we weren’t woken up by the din of seagulls, which were really expected being so close to the Sea.
The following day we started the day with coffee, and cereal follows by a warm shower once the boiler had gotten up to temperature. We then set off for the beach down the long path. From there we walked to the pier, chilled for half an hour, then headed round to the Ship Inn.
Mandy and I always joked about the amount of pubs called the Ship Inn on the coast. Almost like the land lords couldn’t be bothered to think of something more creative. I’m sure there is a perfectly good explanation.
At just before midday, we had to wait outside the car park in a small que to be offered into the outdoor seating area. This was our first served meal since before ‘lockdown’, so our first real experience of being hosted with the stringent restrictions that the Covid virus had forced upon the hospitality industry.
To be fair, it was a bit odd being handed a disposable menu from a waitress wearing latex gloves and a visor, but the meal of fish, chips and mushy peas was exceptional. Washed down by Old Mout cider, in the warm sunshine next to the sea, it was one of those moments that we just thought life doesn’t get better! Then we took a meander along the beach before heading up to our campervan.
We stayed a second night at Saltburn, the sunset was equally as epic, and the evening was quite, so we both slept well. We agreed that this place was pretty close to perfect as far as camping on a budget is concerned! Stunning seaside views, handy shops, nice pub serving great food. And no parking fees….. !
After, a coffee and a shower we decided to depart for Whitby just before 9am. We only had half an hours drive, but we weren’t sure how busy it got, so didn’t want to find ourselves having to park too far away from the main attractions as we only planned for a couple of hours browsing.
We parked in the quayside and there turned out to be plenty of spaces so there was no real need to rush. We had breakfast in the van and started our own tour of the popular areas. We had a coffee in Sherlock’s Coffee Shop which was amazing and far from the usual cafe, and cheaper restaurant options.
From this point I would say that mind’s eye perception of Whitby as a place to visit was one of commercialization, and not particularly the thing that ticked a box for me as a seasoned traveler. That said, I must confess, it was quite nice. I wouldn’t rush to go back there again (the last time we went was the week before the the Tour de France started in Yorkshire)! So based on that, once every six years seems to be the acceptable duration.
Our next camp over was at a campsite called Chester Villas in Thornton Dale, Pickering . We struggled to find the site at first but used the what3words app to get there in the end by putting in january.treaty.travels . The campsite was basic, but offered a separate price for EHU (£15) or just a pitch (£12). This suited us perfectly as all we needed was to empty the toilet and fill up the water tank.
The electric pitches were near the farm building just off the road. The none electric pitches at the far end of the field near a stream. Suffice to say it was really idyllic and peaceful. The couple looking after the campsite were really friendly and lived in their campervan. Usually they travelled to the continent to look after campsites abroad during the summer season. However, due to COVID they couldn’t do that this year, so were helping a friend out in the UK at Chester Villas. So the following morning we sorted the van out and waved goodby to our hosts.
We had a brief stop at Thornton by Dale village, but due to the inclement weather we just had a coffee and headed off to Filey which was only a 40 minute drive away. During which time the weather took a turn for the better and the rain cleared.
We parked at a council car park on the top of the hill with great views of the coastline and had a walk down to the seafront after a bite to eat. On the Park 4 a Night app it gave us the impression we could camp there overnight if we paid the £9 for 24 hour parking.
However, later on that afternoon we were approached by a security guard who said we would be ticketed if we stayed. Another couple that were camping close to us in a VW T25 came over to see what the issue was. They were steadfast in their resolve to camp overnight with the same argument we had that you shouldn’t be able to pay for 24 hour parking if you can’t stay for that duration. also the signage wasn’t as obvious stating no camping. The security guard said that the people camping on the campsite close to the carpark had complained that they were paying a lot more and it was unfair that we were paying less. We both got up in the morning with a parking ticket, which we decided to appeal with Scarborough Borough Council. Watch this space.
Once we had gotten over the excitement of getting a ticket we decided to have a wander into the town centre. The weather was glorious and we were both in high spirits. We walked down to the beach and found a nice restaurant called Downcliff House. Cafe Del Mar was playing in the background and it really felt like we were abroad. Even though it was just before midday i decided to have a pint of beer.
We got back to the van early afternoon and headed for our next destination after consulting the oracle, the Park 4 a Night app. This was a at South Moor Farm in Dalby Forest. We were beset by similar issues to the campsite at Chester Villa inasmuch as the postcode took us initially to the neighbours farm a mile or so up the road, but we eventually made it to the correct location. This was only £10 per night and we were staying really just to get rid of our waste and top op the water tank. But the location was pleasant and there and we were just happy to chill and enjoy the views.
The following morning we left for what would be the final location of the holiday. This was at Pocklington lock, owned by the Canal and River Trust. The drive there was amazing as it took us from the campsite straight into the Dalby Forest with some of the best roads I’ve driven on in the UK.
The last night was another free camp over. Really nice location at the end of a section of canal that were in the process of raising funds to get the locks restored. We had no issues with staying there as we were members of the Canal and River Trust and there are places you can stay if your a member of the Trust. This pretty much concluded what was a really nice week away.