5:30 wake up calls are rarely fun, but as I fumbled about with the doors (desperately trying not to make that loud click that always reverberates around the flat) I felt, honestly, invigorated and also slightly melancholy. It was a strange mixture of emotions – one the one hand, I was gearing up for my very first completely solo trip (never mind the fact that Whitby is only 5 hours away by train), but on the other hand, I was leaving a flat of people I was just really starting to know properly, and a whole weekend away seemed a waste of get-to-know-everyone potential.
Now something you must know about Lancaster is that despite it being a mere hour and a half away from bustling Manchester, it is a damn bother to get around anywhere other than a main city. In fact, to make this journey to Whitby, Yorkshire, I had to catch 5 different trains – stopped off at Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield, York and Middlesbrough before making it to Whitby!
I won’t sugar coat it – I was scared, but determined. I know that sounds cliché, but it honestly is the only way I can describe exactly how embarking on your first solo trip really feels. I eventually found my B&B (I highly recommend a B&B experience and will pop a post on the blog soon about this!) and set off exploring immediately. I had been alerted by my B&B owner that there were some Australia ties to darling old Whitby, in that Captain Cook, who founded Australia in 1788, was born here. A little ashamed to have not known that poignant fact, I bounced down the hill to the Captain Cook memorial statue, and the infamous Whitby whale bones – two ceramic whale bones acting as a gate for the walk down to the beach. Tantalisingly close from my perch up here by good ol’ Capt. Cook was my first view of Whitby Abbey.
It’s important at this point in our story to stop, and mention that I was conducting this trip in February, when the temperatures in Whitby were a mere 4 or 5 degrees at best. A trip to the beach seems a ridiculous notion, I’m sure, but honestly I found it invigorating to wander along the lighthouse wharf and down to the miles of turbulent seas fringing the beaches. I walked for a good hour, before I honestly saw my body freezing up in the near future if I didn’t pop off and find somewhere indoors to eat. Being the beach, I ticked off an item on my British bucket-list, and ate fish and chips, of course!
The rest of this first day passed in a drizzly haze, wherein I found myself wandering Pannett Park and its adjoining museum and art gallery overlooking the entire town (and met a dapper young toddler who took me around explaining the paintings and how they visited each other – very Hogwarts if you ask me!)
TO BE CONTINUED: Pop back over here in a couple of days to hear about my foray into Robin’s Hood Bay, Whitby Abbey and a wonderful Cliffside walk…