Last week I took a sketchbook, a handful of sketching tools, and a back pack full of cereal bars on a bus ride to Whitby. Amazingly, both the sketchbook and I survived the trip, so you can see what came of it.
Over three days, I walked from Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay along the cliffs, and back again, staying in hostels at either end. Unfortunately, I got sunstroke quite a lot because I was sharing my water bottle with the water colour palette and forgot to drink much.
On the first day I walked to Robin Hood’s Bay, to stay in the Boggle Hole. I took a picture of this place, tucked away on the beach, but the light was so bright it burned out my film. The only sketch I have of this first day was done in the evening when, having eaten some cereal bars, I walked along the cliffs away from the town, just when the sun was setting.
The next day I walked back along the cliffs to Whitby again. It wasn’t as hot, and I stopped more often to sketch. This is a view of Robin Hood’s Bay from the North cliff path:
A few miles along I stopped at the top of a steep drop for lunch:
Then, about a mile out from Whitby, I climbed down to a rocky beach. It was so windy that, having sat down to sketch, when I stood up half my face was caked in sand. The sketches from the beach are rushed for this reason, and I had to add water colour washes later, in the windless parlour of the Whitby Abbey hostel.
That evening I went for fish and chips at The Magpie cafe in Whitby. I have never enjoyed a meal so much in my life, after a few days of living off cereal bars. I took my sketchbook with me for company and drew this cave from memory of my walk:
The waitress seemed to like it, anyway.
I walked off my giant tea with a stroll down the pier, where I sat on a bench and battled the growing wind to produce this masterpiece (my hands had become a little numb by this point):
After giving up on that view, I went down to the beach for a long walk, and on the way back to town I sketched the pier.
Just as it was getting dark, I climbed the 199 steps up to the abbey and the hostel, then sat next to St Mary’s church to take this charcoal sketch. By then I had lost my pencils on the beach, and only had willow charcoal left, which got very messy very quickly.
Finally, I holed up in a drawing room in the hostel with a book until curfew, when I tried to get some sleep in the supposedly haunted hostel. I didn’t see any ghosts, but the next morning I did see vikings!
I bought my ticket to visit Whitby Abbey and wandered, sketchbook in hand, onto the site. I was a bit surprised when, instead of emerging from the entrance into an abbey ruin, I ended up in the middle of a viking camp. One viking looked up at me from where he was cooking his breakfast in a copper cauldron and looked very confused. I just held up my sketchbook, pointed at the ruins, and walked forward. No one had warned me that a viking reenactment group were staying at the Abbey.
Despite a few curious vikings, this is the result of my trip to the Abbey:
Unfortunately, the vikings wouldn’t sit still long enough for me to sketch them, too. They were too busy running around with swords and axes.
And that was my first sketching trip, of which you can see some of the results.