A Road Less Travelled

Robin Hood's Bay

We had planned our trip to England so that we might make the most of every minute of every day. After all, we might never be able to return again, so we did not want to waste time. Nonetheless we had left some leeway with our road trip to York, so when two different people from the area insisted that we travel to Robin Hood’s Bay before returning to the big city we thought it would be a nice diversion. We had little idea how impressive and memorable our little side trip would be.

Robin Hood’s Bay is an old fishing town and historically the site of smugglers and who knows what sort of mischief. It is just a bit more than an hour northeast of London sitting on waters that lead into the North Sea. These days it is a sleepy little place filled with tourists, retired folk, and those who have opted for a quieter way of living. Every inch of the town was filled with flowers and interesting buildings on the day that we visited. The people were open and enthusiastic about welcoming us to their little town so we felt right at home from the start.

We easily found a public car park and began a stroll through a different and lovely way of life. We first encountered a group of older folk playing a game of bowls on a lovely village green. We weren’t quite sure of the rules of the game, but it was fun to watch for a time. Because the lure of adventure was calling we soon continued with our exploration, walking leisurely past beautifully manicured homes and sweet inns were people sat enjoying the glory of a perfectly beautiful day.

Soon we reached a point where the shoreline was surrounded by imposing cliffs and the view appeared to stretch all the way to Norway which we learned was about five hundred miles away as the crow flies. It was quiet and breathtaking there, and we felt compelled to just stand in awe of the striking landscape. Of course we took multiple photos while we contemplated the grandeur of the spot and as we stood frozen in awe my own mind raced to thoughts of the people who had come ashore from places far away as well as those who may have launched their boats in search of fish or some grand excitement. I felt as though I might be willing to stay in that place for the remainder of my days simply enjoying the bounty of nature and the largess of the people in a quiet yet exhilarating respite from the craziness of the world.

We continued our exploration on a pathway that led to inviting little shops and eateries. One place in particular caught our attention. It was a store called Bertie’s that featured unique woolen clothing. The items for sale were quite different from anything we had seen and they were both stunning and reasonably priced. We learned from the proprietor that the styles were all based on the nautical history of the town. The sweaters featured a knit pattern created specifically for the area. In olden times when sailors were lost at sea it was often difficult to identify them after they had been in the water for a time. Their bodies would become bloated and unrecognizable. To be certain that they would be respectfully returned home the women began creating different weaves for different places. The clothing would immediately identify from whence a lost soul had originally come. Then it was a fairly easy matter to determine who the person was.

My sister-in-law Becky and I were particularly taken by the sweaters made of British wool and we decided to each purchase one. She chose an olive green and I wanted one done in burgundy. It had grown quite chilly outside so we decided to wear our lovely new garments while we continued to walk through the town. With her tiny figure and her long dark hair and sunglasses she was exceptionally stunning. 

We strolled all the way to the end of a pathway that meandered through the village where once again met up with the water. What had been a comfortable downhill journey became a bit more difficult when we trudged back up the hill as the day began to draw to a close. At the top of the rise we saw a little eatery boasting that it served the best fish and chips served anywhere. We were unable to resist the delicious aroma wafting in the air and we were famished, so we each procured an order and sat at a picnic table overlooking the enchanting views. The food was indeed as good as advertised and we wolfed it down through animated conversation and lots of laughs. 

We finished our visit by speaking with a resident who had come to Robin Hood’s Bay to live with his son. He was quite an interesting man and we might have tarried longer to hear his story but it was growing late and we knew that our return trip to London would take us almost five hours. It was time to say goodbye to Robin Hood’s Bay even though we hated to leave.

As we rode in the dark we spoke of a dream of one day returning to one of the inns and securing a seaside view. It sounded quite delightful to simply sit for a week or so relaxing and enjoying the landscape. We each carried the image in our minds and reveled in the joy that we had shared on our serendipitous side trip. Our road less travelled had been one of the highlights of the trip and we knew that we would never surely never forget how wonderful it had been.