Favourite Things: Jackie Housham

Jackie Housham, view towards Robin Hood's Bay from Raven Hall Hotel, Ravenscar.
Jackie Housham, view towards Robin Hood's Bay from Raven Hall Hotel, Ravenscar.

Jackie is a retired teacher who moved to Burniston to marry her partner, William Robertson, in 2016, having lived in Doncaster for over 35 years. She is the secretary of Burniston and Cloughton WI. She has two grown-up sons, Richard and Thomas, and has “inherited” grown-up stepchildren James and Olivia.

I first came to Scarborough in 1963 on a family holiday. Born and brought up in

Waterfall at Hayburn Wyke.

Waterfall at Hayburn Wyke.

Coventry, I lived as far away from the sea as is possible in England so visits to my grandparents in Blackpool and summer trips to the coast were a real highlight of my childhood.

To be honest, I don’t recall much of our stay here at that time but I do remember my mother, a huge Brontë fan, taking me off at the very start of our holiday to pay homage at Anne Brontë’s grave in St Mary’s churchyard. Little did I conceive that over 50 years later, I would be getting married at that same church: a beautiful church with an interesting history and which still retains some of its medieval features and magnificence.

For me, however, the real splendour of the building is its location high above the old town overlooking all of South Bay.

There are few who could fail to be spiritually uplifted, whatever their beliefs, when exiting via the west doors and faced with this amazing vista: the rooftops, church spires, the Grand Hotel, but more than anything, the great sweep of the bay.

The majestic sweep of Scarborough's South Bay

The majestic sweep of Scarborough's South Bay

I would like to think that on our holiday of ’63 we made use of the Scarborough to Whitby railway line which did not close to the public until 1965, but I have no recollection of us doing so. I love trains and would have relished travelling this route and marvelling at its fantastic views.

Imagine, for example, getting off at Ravenscar station, the train departing to reveal the wonderful square and outlook to the sea.

It is fortunate that today the line is still open for pedestrians and cyclists. I have walked most of the so-called Cinder Track at various times, able to stop off for refreshment at Cloughton Station tea rooms, take a

detour to the lovely Hayburn Wyke with its woods and beach waterfall, or sample a stroll through the grounds and afternoon tea at

St Mary's Church and churchyard

St Mary's Church and churchyard

the Raven Hall Hotel in Ravenscar.

Sometimes when I look from the hotel’s mock battlements at the wonderful panorama across to Robin Hood’s Bay, it seems to me like a painted backdrop, almost unreal in its perfection.

I have the same sensation when I drive down to Sandsend and see the cliffs ahead, or when I glance south from the wonderfully positioned putting green near the

Clock Tower on the

Esplanade above South Bay. Putting was always a family holiday favourite.

I suspect we may have given the course a go back in the ’60s – I am not sure my skill has improved in the intervening decades but I am grateful to be able to try it out again in such a stunning spot.

I have lived in Burniston now for just over 18 months and aim never to take for granted that I have my home in these delightful surroundings; the moors, the countryside but above all for this Midlands girl, the cliffs and sea.

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steve.bambridge@jpress.co.uk