Monday, 24 December 2012

Staithes Christmas tree

Staithes' Christmas tree is in its usual place by the harbour, just above the beach and beside the Cod & Lobster pub. It looks wonderful, especially at night when it's all lit up. If we get lucky and have a clear sky on the next full moon, on December 28, it'll be even better.
 Happy Christmas to all, especially our wonderful guests at Dunsley ( who have enjoyed the village's hospitality and friendly welcome in 2012. We hope to see some of you again next year! all the best, from Judy and Duncan

Friday, 14 December 2012

Captain Cook: Staithes to New Zealand

Duncan and I have just returned to Yorkshire from a trip to New Zealand, visiting my family. While there, we visited Ship's Cove, a beautiful bay in the remote Marlborough Sounds, at the top of the South Island. It was one of Captain James Cook's favourite places in New Zealand, and he visited it five times: in 1770 with Endeavour, and four more times between 1773 and 1777 with Resolution. It was quite a thrill to make the link between our little house - Dunsley in Staithes ( - in the tiny village where Cook was a youngster and spent his first days at sea, and my home country. Sitting on the long flight back to Britain this week, I thought of his many years of maritime discovery; the comparison made a 14-hour flight from Singapore seem a bit shorter! The pics show Ship's Cove with a view into Queen Charlotte Sound, the Cook monument and a close-up of the plaque giving his dates.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Staithes beer festival

The Captain Cook Inn at the top of the bank, above the harbour, had a Halloween-themed beer festival this weekend. We counted 13 real ales - our favourite was Pretty Witch - and 3 special ciders, plus the usual beers. It's definitely the destination for real ale lovers, added to by a coal fire, sea views and relaxed atmosphere. Next beer festival is between Christmas and New Year, with pale ale and pork pies! Dunsley ( is booked over that period, but there's still availability in January - a perfect excuse to wind down after Xmas excess...

Monday, 17 September 2012

BBC filming in Staithes

Excitement at the harbour this week: the BBC are filming again. Through September they'll be shooting Old Jack's Boat, for release on CBeebies at Christmas. It was ironic to see a pretend ice-cream stall set up within arm's reach of the real Beacon Farm ice-cream van! Fingers crossed that this new film is better than the last one: The Body Farm, a crime drama series with scenes filmed in Staithes last September (2011) was widely regarded as a disaster. This time the producers are probably hoping that you can't go wrong with a story about a boat....

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Steve catches biggest fish

The annual competition for the biggest cod caught from a Staithes boat, run by the Cod & Lobster pub, is hotting up. Steve Burke, who did much of the renovation work at Dunsley ( including building the wonderful front yard and wall, has set the bar high, catching a massive 30lb cod. Duncan and I met him on the water this weekend, when we were out in our sea kayaks. He showed us the best of that day's catch, a huge ling (see picture), caught by line from his beautiful coble Rose of England. There are a few fish dinners in that one, for sure!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Sea kayaks and surf at Staithes

As we sea kayaked out of the Staithes harbour on Saturday, surfers were playing hard on the surf break. It's somewhat surreal to be paddling on calm water just metres from crashing waves! Staithes has a low-tide surf break just south-side of the harbour entrance, and the waves were coming in high and hard this weekend. We kayaked far out to sea to get around the surf, making our way down to Runswick Bay for coffee and cakes at the tea shop, then had a fun run back to Staithes. We popped our heads into Dunsley ( to say hi to our guests, a young couple on honeymoon! who were having a lovely, relaxing time in the sunshine.
 Pics below show paddling out of the Staithes harbour, heading south along the cliffs, kayaking in to Runswick Bay and the run back to Staithes at 6pm.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Staithes Art Festival poster

Rob Shaw, artist in residence for the Staithes Art Gallery, and working from the chapel beside Dunsley ( has just sent us the new poster, for the first Staithes Art Festival. It's going to be a fantastic weekend. We've offered Dunsley's front yard for an artwork installation, so the cottage will be part of the action. In fact, we still have availability for that weekend, September 21-24, and they are the only free dates for the whole month! We'd book it for ourselves, but we'll be away working... So far there are 45 artists and their work booked in to exhibit at, in and on various locations in the village. As well as unique artworks, Rob has organised live music, guided walks, shipwreck finds, workshops... truly a weekend not to be missed!

Staithes Lifeboat Weekend 2012

What a gorgeous weekend for the annual Staithes Lifeboat extravaganza. Duncan paddled his sea kayak to the Staithes harbour (see picture) from Runswick Bay with the Runswick Bay Sailing Club - he didn't realise it was a race, until he won it! Sadly, he was disqualified for not having sails... Staithes was packed with people having fun in the sun. York canoe club had a load of canoes for 'having a go' so the harbour was chaos with people playing in the boats. A great weekend as usual, and apparently the fireworks on the Saturday night were excellent. I missed all the action (I was working away) but will definitely be there next year. Dunsley's guests this week certainly chose the right time to visit.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Dunsley's Gate

Finally! Fanfare of trumpets, please... Duncan's new gate, complete with brass lifting knob, has been installed, to complete the front yard. It's been a year in the making, but it's worth it. Bead-blasted stainless steel to prevent rust and avoid repainting, custom-made, so strong that NASA can have it for a Mars landing if Dunsley ever didn't need it. The shape mirrors the railings between Dunsley ( and the Chapel. I caught Duncan in the picture, in his kayak gear, looking rightly proud of his handiwork!

Sea Kayaking from Staithes

Well, what a wonderful weekend to launch a sea kayak from Staithes harbour, with a super-low tide due to the full moon. We paddled out of a nearly-empty harbour and turned left, to follow the cliffs toward Saltburn. Boulby Cliffs are the highest in England and looked absolutely spectacular, with the red striations picked out by the sun. The wildlife was incredible too: we got very close to 2 seals, paddled alongside a guillemot with a chick (first time we'd seen one up close), and watched the Fish Olympics! Three sea trout - each at least 60cm long - leaping vertically out of the sea in front of our bows, clearing the surface by at least four feet. We thought they were being chased by something even bigger, but our fishing friend Steve told us they were more likely dealing with sea lice in their gills, leaping up in order to crash down and flush them out. A big, confused swell meant we didn't go too far around the coast, and gave us an exciting surf back to the harbour. Fantastic fun all round.
These pics were taken in the harbour on our return: the tide was about half-in by this time, not quite enough to paddle up the river to take out by Dunsley (, so we landed on the beach instead.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Staithes Art Festival

Staithes Festival  - a unique celebration of art, heritage and the community of Staithes - is taking place over the weekend of 22-23 September. Village homes and public venues will be thrown open to visitors as pop-up galleries and exhibition spaces. Set around the historic fishing village, the festival will feature film shows and collections of photographs.  A fishing village for over 500 years, Staithes also has a long connection with art. In the last century Harold and Laura Knight spearheaded the Staithes Group of impressionist painters here. Today Staithes is among the most-painted places in Britain, and is a centre for contemporary art.  Rob Shaw, a driving force behind the festival, is the resident artist at the Chapel, next door to Dunsley in Chapel Yard.
The weekend is still available at Dunsley as a Friday-Monday short break (the rest of September is fully booked), and makes the perfect base for enjoying the festival and discovering Staithes. To book Dunsley, go to, and for more on the festival click on

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Duncan + Welding Torch = Gate!

Duncan has taken time out of his day job (he designs and fabricates frames and components for pre-1965 Tiger Cub trials motorbikes) has started making the gate, for Dunsley's beautiful front yard. It's a labour of love: he is fabricating the hinges (seen in this picture), long latch and the gate itself, to make a completely unique entrance to Dunsley ( The gate will mirror the arched railings leading to the old chapel. We're hoping to have it ready to install shortly.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Olympic Torch Relay passes Staithes

On Monday June 18, the Olympic Flame passes Staithes on its way from Athens to London. Starting Day 31 of the torch relay in Middlesbrough, the flame visits Saltburn-by-the-Sea, enters the North York Moors national park at Loftus, then passes Staithes Bank Top on its way to Hinderwell, Lythe, Sandsend and Whitby. Here, it boards the steam train to travel to Pickering, then heads back to the coast at Scarborough and ends the day in Hull. For more details click on and then Torch Relay. Dunsley has availability for the weekend short break of June 15-18, so you'd have time to watch the relay after checking out at 10.30am! More details at

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Summer in Staithes...

The summer patio furniture is now installed at Dunsley! After a chilly start to the season we've bitten the bullet and replaced the winter bench with the table and chairs, for al-fresco dining. Fingers crossed it'll soon be warm enough to use it. There's always the option of staying warm indoors and opening the stable half-door to watch the world go by from the comfort of the sofa, of course!
 We've also set up a new website -  - to partner . Both are active, it's just to make it even easier to remember and access.
 We've had feedback already from our new QR code (see previous post), which is displayed in the yard so the technology seems to be working!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Hi-Tech Dunsley

New developments in high-technology at Dunsley... Our friend Wendy recently alerted us to QR Codes: quick response bar codes that are scanned by a mobile phone, using a free App (eg QR Code City), to give instant access to a website. We are often contacted by visitors to Staithes who have seen Dunsley from the outside and want more information, so we have generated a QR code which will be fixed to the letterbox, near the front yard gate. This way, passers-by who like the look of our lovely little cottage can scan the code on their phones and have instant access to our website. It's all part of our mission to keep Dunsley fresh, lively and relevant. Here's the code, or you can go direct to the website from this blog: