Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Friday, 18th May, 2007, North Yorkshire


I DON’T READ MUCH FICTION - I always seem to have a pile of non-fiction to catch up with – so, when I do, it has to be for relaxation and I never feel the urge to pick up anything too demanding. Sherlock Holmes has a perennial appeal for me and I remember as a student being alone in a tent in Iceland for several weeks, with nothing to read but a field guide to wild flowers and a book on the weather, promising myself that when I got home I’d indulge in some reading for pleasure and that I’d finally get around to reading the Sherlock Holmes stories.

It took me 25 years before I actually got around to reading them. You know how it is.

So how could I resist Sherlock’s Café in Flowergate, Whitby? Home-made scones still warm from the oven with jam and clotted cream and a caffe latte. And with the interior wittily dressed to resemble 221B Baker Street, there's plenty to draw.

market square Whitby
The old market square, Whitby.


Whitby churchUnfortunately, we’re returning home today but we do have time to stop for lunch at Helmsley on the way. While Barbara and her mum look around the market I have an hour to look around the castle which is just a few minutes walk away but, oddly, not visible from the centre of town.

It’s an English Heritage site so, in addition to the guide book and information boards, there’s a sound guide. This is my favourite way to learn about a castle; instead of having my nose in a guide book or having to punctuate my walk to scan the information boards, I can be looking at the castle the whole time. I didn’t have time to do the full tour as I wanted to hear all the supplementary pieces of information, such as about Walter Espec, the Norman baron and Justicar of the Forests who was, apparently, nicknamed ‘Walter the Woodpecker’.

Unfortunately I didn't have time to draw. That's Whitby church (left), as seen from the co-op car park yesterday.