James Herriot world-famous author of books based on his biographical writings of his life as a veterinary surgeon, in the Yorkshire Dales, recounts his time visiting Whitby in North Yorkshire.

James Herriot was and the pseudonym with his real name being Alf Wight, studying at Glasgows veterinary college. During the Second World War he spent time in the RAF after which he moved to Yorkshire from which he never left. In later life he became famous through his bestselling books which then became a highly successful BBC1 television series called All Creatures Great and Small  

Christopher Timothy (as James Herriot) Peter Davison (as Tristan Farnon) Robert Hardy (as Siegfried Farnon) Carol Drinkwater (as Helen Herriot; Series 1-3, Xmas 83 and 85) Lynda Bellingham (as Helen Herriot; Series 4-7 Xmas 90)
These are Alf Whites (James Herriot) memories of visiting Whitby.

"We came to Whitby by the coast road but I always think the best way to approach the town is over the two moorland roads from Pickering and Guisborough. First, the sea comes into view, next the abbey on its precipitous cliff and then you almost tumble out of the heather into the town.

On our Cook expedition we drove first to the West Cliff, the modern part and surely one of the most striking seaside towns in England. To see it on a summer day, lying high and airy, with the sun glittering on the white fronts of the hotels and the sweep of grass above the miles of golden sand is enough to lift anybody's spirits.
But this most attractive and picturesque resort is something James Cook never saw.

The Whitby he knew was the old town on the other side of the Esk. This river, after winding through its beautiful valley, cuts right through Whitby to the sea and on the east side the old houses cover all the lower slopes of the hill.

As we rounded the corner of West Cliff we came suddenly upon the statue of Captain Cook overlooking this superb view. The rows of smart hotels were forgotten and we were gazing down on a scene that could not have been very unlike that which the great sailor saw when he journeyed up this way.

Those houses climbing towards the twelfth-century church of St. Mary with the dark dots of the gravestones by its side and the renowned 199 steps straggling up the green. And right on the cliff top, the abbey ruins. My long held theory that the monks always chose warm, sheltered spots to build their great churches was exploded when first saw Whitby Abbey, because it would be difficult to find a bleaker or more exposed place than that cliff top facing out to the cold North Sea".


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