John and James take the car back to Middlesbrough and yet another train back to Whitby just in time to go back in time on the steam train to Pickering. We feel like we are overdosing on old railways and it is difficult to avoid clichés, but there really is something alive about a hissing, vibrating, smoking engine. We do all the usual tourist stuff including sticking our head out of the window and then forgetting just how many cinders these things chuck out. We even had sweets to match from the ubiquitous John Bull…peanut brittle, pineapple chunks, rhubarb and custard and cinder toffee. This could be a scene straight from Philip Larkin (if he wrote about sheep instead of weddings) with rural life floating past with the steam and smoke from the engine working hard up the gradient to the top of the moors. We have to stop ourselves slipping into mock Yorkshire (as along with the Chinese, there are probably some real ones on the train) as pretty stone stations complete with porters’ barrows slide past the old BR windows.
Pickering enabled us to top up on some warmer clothes, especially some snoods. They can look a bit like you are wearing underpants on your head, but who cares at sea as long as you are warm. Heydays crew not noted for sartorial elegance on the water. We also got to have a great lunch at the Black Swan including some beer and lager brewed on the premises.
We had to stop at Goathland Station on the way back as it was used for Harry Potter and various daughters/nephews require photos. It also came with a man in a uniform who clearly liked the power of station master; marching up and down shouting at people not to run jump spit smoke or swear. He failed to include heavy petting in his list of restrictions.
The moors are beautiful and we can’t resist a brief hike up…
Forecast for Sunday looking promising for a trip to Amble. This means getting through the swing bridge when it opens tonight at 23.30 and then grabbing a few hours’ kip in the inner harbour before a dawn tide. Wandering through Whitby we come across Magpies Café (along with quite a few others who are queuing outside). Although we are not soviet era Russians we join it anyway. This turns out to be one of the best fish meals we have had so far (apart from our own crab and lobster).
We are the only boat holding up the traffic as we slide past the swing bridge onto a mooring pontoon just a bottle’s throw from the Saturday night hen and stag dos.