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‘What happened to summer?’ I hear you moan

If anyone asks me what happened to the summer of 2013, I shall know exactly how to answer. It coincided very conveniently with our holiday in Yorkshire. Ten glorious days starting on 1st June, my over-riding memories of which will be the scent of wild garlic, P1080291fields of buttercups, P1080318and stone, both fashioned and destroyed by man (whatever you think of Henry VIII, he did make some magnificent ruins) and by nature.  P1040331

We picked up two main literary threads along the route, the first being that of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better know to the world as the author, Lewis Carroll. Later to become archdeacon of Richmond, the young Charles’s father was first posted at Ripon where, as a boy, Charles sat among wonderfully weird medieval woodcarvings that included griffinsP1040355 – in this case, a griffin chasing a rabbit down a rabbit hole.  

At Whitby, we opted for a room at a hotel where Carroll was known to have stayed (5 East Terrace, now called La Rosa), which, frankly, had the best view of any hotel room I have ever stayed in – one that inspired another novel. But more on that later.P1040634  I have never shared a room with a tapeworm before, but if you are looking for somewhere with a complete absence of chintz, pine and magnolia walls (which surprisingly few establishments offer) this is where you should head. (Also highly recommended is dinner at the White Horse and Griffin and afternoon tea at the Walrus and the Carpenter.)   P1080501We have previously visited Transylvania (something Stoker didn’t get round to), Piccadilly and Jermyn Street. Visible from Sandsend and for much of the route back from Robin’s Hood Bay, the dark silhouette of Whitby Abbey seems almost inescapable. Of all of the ruins we visited, with its cliff-top position and lacing of fog it was certainly the most atmospheric. It was this view, of course, that inspired Bram Stoker’s great Gothic novel, Dracula. Surprisingly little of the novel is set in Whitby, however, re-reading the few chapters in situ made them come to life.P1040636 

Sitting on Lucy’s bench in St Mary’s churchyard (much of which is now cordoned off due to recent rock falls), read how a local told her that the stories written on gravestones were lies. Stand on the shore where the Demeter ran aground, the only remaining crew-member the captain who had lashed himself to the helm –  heady stuff indeed.