The next day, Friday, we were up early to make our pilgrimage to Whitby. We’d been to Whitby before, on a previous trip a few years ago with our two daughters, and loved it. On that trip we visited Great Ayton and Staithes as well. The bus from Middlesbrough wound through the countryside, and up and over the moors. Next visit, if there is one, I would like to allow time to do some walking in these wild areas.
Our first stop in Whitby was to view the Endeavour Replica from the quay, a new addition since our last trip. Eager for exercise, we then walked up to the Abbey, and wandered the cliffs and the Abbey grounds enjoying the coastal and river views, the roofscapes, and the archaeological displays in the visitor centre. After lunch we visited the Captain Cook Memorial Museum with its displays showing what life was like for James Cook during his apprenticeship, plus paintings, maps and items from his voyages. Very well presented and interesting, even for the non-enthusiasts! The exhibition in the attic, “Whitby in the Time of Cook”, added historical context to create a fuller picture of Cook’s early life. After the museum we wandered the cobbled streets of the quayside, and up to the Cook Statue on the headland, where all photos have a resident bird perched atop. Whitby’s steep, cobbled streets, little shops and narrow houses are full of atmosphere and character.
The trip back to Middlesbrough by train wanders through the Esk valley with glorious views of forests and fields. A lovely end to our day trip. Note: Do not get off the train at Marton expecting to be able to get a taxi back to the hotel. There is nothing at all at the station.
When we eventually got back to the hotel, the welcoming committee was there to greet us with badges and introductions and stories. A very warm start to the conference continued over dinner later that evening. Conversation was relaxed and chatty, even though we had not met any of the other members before. After dinner we all retired to the Yarm Suite upstairs for further introductions and a run through of how the conference would proceed the next day. Car-pooling was organised for the morning; then weary travellers retired for the night.