Monday, 9 December 2013

Staithes weathers storm suge

Staithes emerged relatively unscathed from the storm that battered Britain over December 5 and 6. The biggest effect was from the East Coast tidal surge, which created massively high tides, including surfable waves in the river! The lifeboat station was flooded, along with the 'lower' cottages alongside it; some houses near the river were also awash. Luckily for us, Dunsley (, which sits a fair few metres above the river, was unaffected.
 Guests report tiles flying off roof-tops, howling wind and plenty of action in the harbour. Our weekend guests Keith and Suzanne took this picture of the Cod & Lobster pub, at around 6.30pm on Friday night. It was about an hour after high tide, yet the water and spray, which are normally well below the sea wall, were very close to flooding the pub. The Cod closed early on the Thursday night, just in case...
 Thanks to Keith for this cracking shot; hopefully he didn't get too cold or wet in the process! You have to wonder about the driver who parked a car within inches of the ocean...

Friday, 6 December 2013

Flowers, champagne, action!

Since we opened Dunsley in Staithes to guests in 2011, we have been delighted to host many romantic occasions including wedding anniversaries, birthdays, reunions and honeymoons. But this month, Dunsley saw its first marriage proposal... From the very start, Eddie was eager to create the perfect environment for popping the question to Mariola. So, on his request, we brought champagne from France, and ordered a gorgeous bouquet of flowers in Mariola's favourite colours (our fabulous florist, Liz Wood of Buzy Liz's Floral Design in Kirkbymoorside specialises in weddings).
 When the day came, Duncan dashed over to Dunsley with the freshly-arranged flowers, hid the champagne in the fridge so it was perfectly chilled, and we waited, on tenterhooks...
 After their weekend break, Eddie dropped us a note. "We had a really, really special weekend, I can't thank you enough for all your help. The flowers were beautiful and the champagne went down a treat.
  Staithes is a magical little place and Dunsley was absolutely perfect for what I had planned. We will definitely be back. Again, thank you Judy and Duncan for everything.
Oh, you might want to know what the answer was.....................
She said yes!!!!!! :)

Congratulations, Eddie and Mariola! We couldn't be happier for you both.

Picture: the ceramic heart, modelled on a New Zealand 'kina' or sea urchin, above the bed at Dunsley (

Monday, 4 November 2013

Village Pub of the Year

Congratulations to the Fox & Hounds at Dalehouse, which has been awarded the Village Pub of the Year by the Whitby Gazette. The Fox & Hounds is 900 yards, or a 20 minute stroll, from Dunsley in Staithes (, and serves fabulous food and excellent beer in a cosy bar, a sofa-and-fire corner or the little restaurant.
 We get lots of enquiries from guests wanting news on where they can drink real ale in or near Staithes. Fox & Hounds is high on the list, but we also have the Captain Cook Inn, which has new owners, and is famed for its Real Ale Festivals ( and is a CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) favourite. In the lower village, 50 metres from Dunsley, is the Royal George which serves real ale and bar meals by an open fire; and of course the Cod & Lobster on the harbour which offers real ale and pub food including bistro-style meals, with a sea view.
 Plus, for foodies, we have an award-winning seafood outlet, a brilliant butcher (who also sells homemade preserves), the Cleveland Bistro with its new owners Rob and Sharon, who are pushing the boat out on local produce and even local beer, brewed by Dunsley's neighbours!
 So, Staithes for beer and food: you can't go wrong. See you down there!
Picture: Cod & Lobster, in prime position on the Staithes seafront

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Whale Watching from Whitby

I’ve had a wonderful email from Suzanne, one of Dunsley’s regular guests, who has recently returned from Staithes. She writes “A highlight was whale watching out of Whitby ( It threw it down with rain for 3 out of the 4 hours at sea. It was so cold and blustery, 10 miles out ! We had to resort to the skipper's emergency ponchos but I can honestly say the discomfort evaporated in an instant at the first sight of the whales. Absolutely wonderful... better than cream teas at Falling Foss tea garden !! Can't wait to return to Dunsley in December, the Victorian weekend at Robin Hoods Bay, cooking in your super kitchen with a lovely open fire to keep us snug... bliss!”
 I was so tickled by this description that I asked for more detail, thinking you might enjoy it too. Here it is: “September/October  is the optimum time for the whale watching, simply because the herrings spawn at that time, so we were told. The guy that took us showed us on the monitor where the shoal was and we were literally sat on top of it. Because its so easy for the seals to feast on the fish they were bobbing about in the water looking completely stuffed and where there are seals (especially fat, sleepy ones) there are usually whales. The record for sightings was 35 seals and 17 whales surrounding the boat one afternoon. Incredible ! Just hope no joker starts doing the Jaws theme tune !!  Actually, it's better to go on a dull day because the glare makes staring at the sea uncomfortable after a while.  That said, it must be nice to be able to get off the boat and still be able to feel your limbs ! The boat carries just 12 people plus crew so you have a great all round view of everything. Hope you get to go soon.”
 Many thanks to Suzanne!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

BBC Countryfile at Staithes

Hot news: there is more to Staithes on the silver screen than Old Jack's Boat: Staithes is being featured on BBC Countryfile, with a piece on the port's traditional cobles. Our friend Steve, who did much of the renovation work on Dunsley holiday cottage ( owns the last working coble in Staithes. Last week he hosted Ellie Harrison ("the bubbly blonde one"!) on his beautiful Rose of England, explaining the heritage of the coble. As the BBC's insurance policy wouldn't let him take Ellie out to sea they had to pootle around the harbour... The programme is scheduled to be screened on Sunday September 8th: mark the date!
 Here's a picture of Steve standing at the helm of Rose of England, in Staithes harbour (although not with Ellie...)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Staithes Lifeboat Weekend coming up!

Staithes will be buzzing this weekend, with the much-loved Staithes & Runswick RNLI Lifeboat Weekend taking over the village and harbour. The weather forecast is fabulous, with sunshine and a busy breeze, promoting plenty of action on and off the water. There are events planned in both Runswick (a 90-minute walk from Staithes, along the Cleveland Way) and Staithes, and even one in between: the Runswick Bay yacht club usually have a race between the two harbours. Duncan actually won this last year in a sea kayak but was disqualified for taking a short cut beneath the cliffs while everyone else went around the buoys!! I think he should have got a special award for effort... Anyway, it should be a fun weekend; Dunsley ( is busy with guests but we're hoping to nip over for the day. So, we might see you there!

Picture: the Staithes lifeboat on its new ramp on the west side of the harbour; the pale yellow building on the far side of the harbour is the Cod & Lobster pub... the perfect location for a glass of something refreshing!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Staithes Pop-Up Restaurant

We've just had the most wonderful evening in Staithes, sampling the summer menu for Lisa@The Gallery's seasonal pop-up restaurant. First up was Pimms, canap├ęs and a tour of the gallery (we bought yet another piece for Dunsley holiday cottage, a fabulous print on antique linen, of a John Dory, by acclaimed local artist Ian Burke). Then we adjourned upstairs for a three-course meal with wine, with 18 of us sitting around two large tables. Ian Burke was at our table; he's just had a piece accepted into the Royal Academy so it was a pleasant surprise to see him in Staithes. The menu had a choice of three for each course: fish, meat, vegetarian. I chose the hot crab ramekin as a starter, half a Staithes lobster with hot garlic, herb and butter sauce and salad for main, and Lisa's gloriously silky chocolate panna cotta for desert. Duncan had tomato, basil and local feta to start, and guinea fowl breast for main; again, delicious. Afterward we repaired to the Cod & Lobster for a late glass of wine (or pint of beer), leaning against the harbour railings, watching the tide ebb. What an absolute joy: we must do it again sometime! Details of dates for the next pop-up are on our website, on the What's On page. See you there!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Staithes Festival 2013

After it's successful launch in 2012, the second Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage is to be held on the weekend of September 14-15, 2013. The action takes in the whole village, with pop-up galleries, workshops, demonstrations, talks and guided walks. Cottages will be opened as art installations, and live music takes place in the evenings. We have availability at Dunsley holiday cottage ( for the week from September 13, or for a weekend short break (Friday to Monday, covering the festival). For more info on the festival, go to

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

50 Best Holiday Cottages includes Dunsley in Staithes

It's official: Dunsley in Staithes is one of Britain's best holiday cottages. This weekend Dunsley featured in the Independent on Saturday's selection of 'the 50 Best' , as part of the Romantic Hideaways group (18/05/2013). It was one of just three selected in North Yorkshire, with destinations ranging widely from northern Scotland to southern England and Wales.
 Judges were travel writer William Gray, authors David Else and Jim Manthorpe, travel journalist Emma Gregg and Alastair Sawday, founder of the guide to special places to stay.
 We are really delighted at Dunsley's inclusion, which adds even more weight to the wonderful feedback from our guests, both first-timers and regulars. Thank you all!
Dunsley's Kitchen/Diner: this picture was included in the Independent on Saturday's guide to The 50 Best Holiday Cottages

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Daffodil Walk near Staithes

Spring has finally sprung, and the daffodils are out on the North York Moors. The most famous patch is in Farndale, just 40 minutes’ drive from Staithes and Dunsley holiday cottage (  Small wild daffodils grow in profusion along the river Dove, and the sight draws visitors from all over Britain. The best way to enjoy this wonderful sight is by walking along the footpath from Low Mill to Church Houses. It’s about 2.5km (1.5 miles) each way if you go all the way to Church Houses. The path is mostly level and very well made (it used to be quite boggy but a lot of work has been done on it in recent years), We enjoyed it one evening this week, stopping for a fantastic bar meal (homemade rabbit pie, chips and veg for under £10, really excellent food and great value) at the Feversham Arms at Church Houses. More on the Daffy Walk at but you need to go soon, before the daffodils disappear for another year! The best route from Staithes to Farndale is to drive over the moors via Grinkle Park, Danby and Castleton to Blakey Rigg, turning right down the steep bank into Farndale just after the Lion Inn pub. You can park at Church Houses (in a field just past the pub) and walk to Low Mill and back, or drive down the dale to Low Mill (which also has a car park) and walk up to Church Houses. Both car parks charge £2 for the day.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Mountain biking near Staithes

While Britain has been covered in blizzards, Staithes and our corner of the North Yorkshire coast has had its own weather window. Duncan and I took the chance to go mountain biking from Dunsley holiday cottage (, heading inland to explore for a change. We started a couple of kilometres from Staithes at Loftus. A well-kept bridleway took us past the cemetery, over fields and alongside a beck, to Warren Wood (parallel with Grinkle Lane). Then on a farm track via Handale, crossing a steep-sided beck (good descent! Hard little climb!) up to Liverton. On the far side of the beck the bridleway had been diverted around a farmyard but on our old map it showed straight across a field, which was full of very curious horses... we had a good chat with the farmer, who says walkers who are rude get sent back around the diversion! Into Moorsholm, then turned left up the road., The plan was to ride up to the main A171 but the wind was strong and the mud was deep, so we cut across to Mill Beck, along a bridleway that had been used by offroad motorbikes. What a mess. I ended up pushing most of the way through Spring Wood because the mud was just too deep. The hawthorn woods had been flailed and by the time we crossed the stream and climbed up to farmland, we had six punctures between us... finally made it to Moorsholm and rode the tarmac back to Loftus. If we’d done the full route, and escaped the mud and punctures, it would be a great route, so we’ll have another crack at it if summer ever comes. I'll post more routes once the ground dries out...
Duncan is an expert at puncture repair... after Spring Wood

Mud, glorious mud! approaching Moorsholm

Monday, 4 March 2013

Super surfing at Staithes

It's been a cracking weekend for surfers at Staithes (2-3 March). Saturday featured big waves in regular sets, providing long rides on decent swells. Sunday looked calmer, but in fact the waves were just as good, with sets being less regular and with more potential for spills! The most action was to the north, with sea access from the harbour reef because of the very low tide, but there were plenty also riding the break to the south, direction Runswick Bay.
Surfers crowded in both days; it's rare to see people running down Staithes' street at 9am, but that was the case on Saturday and Sunday! We were staying at Dunsley cottage ( and had gone out early to move the car up to the free parking on Cowbar Nab; I've never seen so many vans parked up there, all with surfers frantically climbing into wetsuits. Weather conditions - Saturday was incredible: clear blue sky, no wind. Sunday was duller but quite mild.
 Pictures taken from Cowbar Nab looking north on Saturday, and one from the street looking over the harbour, although the sea state isn't obvious from a distance!

Friday, 8 February 2013

It's snow time

Winter weather has been hammering the North York Moors, with snowdrifts and flurries for extra atmosphere.  Recent guests at Dunsley ( were hoping for snow on the beach at Staithes; they just missed it, by a couple of days! Driving to Dunsley over the moor via Blakey Ridge this week, we were nearly trapped in snow on the road, and despite Staithes' famous micro-climate, there was snow on the beach, although briefly.
 This picture is of Ralph's Cross, on the moors above Staithes near Blakey. By the time it was dark that evening, there was about 6 inches on the road!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Cleveland Way tea shop!

Walking from Dunsley in Staithes ( to Runswick Bay on the Cleveland Way clifftop path last weekend, we followed the recommendation of a guest and made the short detour (400m from the coast) to the Ship Inn in Port Mulgrave. What a wonderful place! Once a pub, it is now a cosy tea shop with antiques for sale. It features eclectic pine furniture and comfy sofas, with nice lighting, newspapers and a warm welcome from owners Jane and Tom Gatson. We had roast tomato soup and a bread roll (£3.50), a good chat and a warm-up. It’s open weekends and Bank Holidays 1-6pm in winter, and most of the time in summer.