Week before last I visited my sister who lives on the north-east English (Yorkshire) coast, from whence I myself hail. I took the opportunity to re-visit Whitby, having been there around a dozen times before, mainly in my youth, the last time being about 10 years ago.
It's only about 20 miles from where she lives, an 80-minute bus ride on the coast road.
Whitby, a former thriving fishing port, is a place whose international fame and reputation far belies its small size (pop. less than 14,000) - and is best known for its Abbey ruins as well as the inspiration for Bram Stoker's 'Count Dracula', where Stoker himself was impressed after staying at one of its hotels in 1890.
Whitby 'jet' (or lignite), used as jewellery, is also well known.
It's a popular resort for the British, and in the Summer months I should imagine that its population swells to two or three times that of its residents with the number of visitors it attracts.
In the following photo you may just be able to make out the Abbey at the summit of the hill:-
There are 199 steps leading up to the cliff top where the Abbey ruins are located (wheeze.....puff.....gasp.....):-
There is no lift alternative. The only assistance is provided by a railing to hold. There are no seats or benches for resting. Every 20 steps or so there's a broader step, about three times the breadth of others, called a 'coffin stop' where monks and others used to be able to set down the body of the deceased on the way to requiem mass in the abbey and burial, in order to take a breather in their arduous, burdensome climb.
The Abbey of St Hilda's was, in effect, a double monastery and was established in the year 657 C.E., flourishing with strategic status and position in medieval Christianity until it was sacked and shut down in the 16th century by Henry VIII as part of his dissolution of all the English monasteries, taking the considerable valuables for himself and pouring the gains into the country's revenues.
In the year 664 the Synod of Whitby, an international convocation, had decided on how to determine the date of Easter throughout Christianity (an unwieldy formula which we've been lumbered with ever since), as well as ruling that the Roman-styled tonsure should be adopted for monks universally.
Goodbye to a highly interesting, most historic and attractive, little town:-