The North Yorks Moors

October and November have been unusual months as we’ve been away a couple of times – in October we went to the  the North Yorks Moors and at the beginning of November we were in the Lake District, where amazingly we had such beautiful sunny weather, cold but sunny with a brilliant blue sky.

Here are a few photos of some of the places we visited whilst staying in an isolated converted barn on the North Yorks Moors. Runswick Bay, and Robin Hood’s Bay are on the east coast near Whitby Abbey. 

Runswick Bay IMG_20191002_155100773_HDR
Runswick Bay

There a few red-roofed houses and cottages clinging to the cliff at Runswick Bay looking down on a long arc of beach. As the east coast is eroding the village is steadily creeping closer to the shore. The AA Mini Guide book – North Yorks Moors records that the village of Runswick, one of the ‘lost’ villages of Yorkshire’s coast, fell into the sea in 1682. The whitewashed house on the headland was the coastguard cottage.

Runswick Bay IMG_20191002_154946600
Runswick Bay

Robin Hood’s Bay is further down the coast. It’s a little fishing village, with a long, steep access road down to the bay, a long stretch of sandy beach with a rocky foreshore.

Robin Hood's Bay IMG_20190930_144925574_HDR
Robin Hood’s Bay

The tide comes in very quickly and we had to dash back to avoid being caught. I did get my feet a bit wet though.

Robin Hood's Bay incoming tide
Robin Hood’s Bay – the tide nearly caught me.

We had a quick look at Whitby Abbey and Whitby itself, but really need to go back to see it properly.

Whitby Abbey IMG_2899
Whitby Abbey

On the way home we stopped at the Angel of the North at Gateshead. I’d seen the Angel of the North from the A1, but we had never stopped to see it up close. It was created by Sir Anthony Gormley. Completed in 1998, it is a steel sculpture of an angel, 20 metres tall, with wings measuring 54 metres across. It is immense – the person walking up to the sculpture gives some idea of just how enormous it is.

Angel of the North IMG_20191003_132615303_HDR
Angel of the North, Gateshead

I zoomed in to have a look at its head.

Angel of the North close up
Angel of the North close up

Of course, all this holidaying and travelling around has meant I am now so very behind with writing about the books I read!

The Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth

We visited the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth a few weeks ago.

Bronte Museum sign P1010267
Bronte Museum sign


Bronte Parsonage Museum P1010266

BPM front P1010269

You can’t take photos inside the museum, so I bought the guide book and a booklet, The Brontes and Haworth to remind me of our visit and you can see some photos on the Bronte Society website. It’s a fascinating house – a recreation of the Brontes’ home, as well as a museum displaying memorabilia, manuscripts, books and artworks. There is so much to see and all in a smaller house (with small rooms) than I had imagined.

I knew that the Brontes wrote their stories and poems in tiny notebooks (about the size of a credit card) in small handwriting but seeing the original manuscripts I was amazed at just how very small it is! And standing next to the display cabinet containing Charlotte Bronte’s dress she wore to set out for her honeymoon tour in Ireland I could see she wasn’t very tall – certainly less than 5ft.

The museum contains some of the Brontes’ paintings and drawings and Emily’s mahogany artist’s box – they really were talented in more than one field. I was intrigued by a large cupboard with 12 panels on the door, each panel containing a painting of one of the 12 apostles. I was even more fascinated by it and wished I’d been able to take a photograph of the cupboard, when later on whilst re-reading  Jane Eyre I came across this description of a cabinet in a room on the third storey of Thornfield Hall:

the doors of a great cabinet opposite – whose front, divided into twelve panels, bore in grim design, the heads of the twelve apostles, each enclosed in its separate panel as in a frame …

According as the shifting obscurity and flickering gleam hovered here or glanced there, it was no the bearded physician, Luke, that bent his brow; now St John’s long hair that waved; and anon the devilish face of Judas, that grew out of the panel, and seemed gathering life and threatening a revelation of the arch-traitor – of Satan himself – in his subordinates form.

I realised that this was the cupboard I had seen in the Museum! I’d stood in front of it for some while wondering what it was as there is nothing in the guide book about it.  Seeing it at night by candlelight must have been very different from standing in a museum looking at it in daylight! Since then I’ve been unable to find out much about this cupboard, apart from a post on the Stubbs Family History blog, which explains how the Museum acquired the cupboard. And you can see a photograph of it here.

I now intend to read more of Charlotte Bronte’s novels and Mrs Gaskell’s biography of her friend, The Life of Charlotte Bronte, first published in 1857 – Charlotte had died in 1855, aged 38.

I’d also like to read a more modern biography, maybe Charlotte Bronte: a Passionate Life by Lyndall Gordon or The Brontes by Juliet Barker about the family.

What would you recommend?