Monday, 29 September 2014

Old Jack's Boat and Dunsley!

Old Jack’s Boat, the popular children’s show on CBeebie’s digital TV channel, has been filming again in Staithes. Last week (September 2014) the crew were shooting on the steps from Roxby Beck and in Chapel Yard, outside Dunsley Cottage. “It was a 1930s scene, so we propped fishing nets against any visible modern things like electric junction boxes,” they explained.
 Old Jack’s Boat, first aired in 2013, has enjoyed one full series and some Special episodes. The current filming is for a Special to be aired in March 2015, and there is a good chance Dunsley will feature, even if only in the background...
 The TV show features Bernard Cribbins as Old Jack, a retired fisherman who lives in a little village on the North Yorkshire Coast. Helped along by a cast of colourful characters, Old Jack tells tall stories from inside his old fishing boat ‘Rainbow’. The series is a mix of live action and animation which allows Old Jack to wander along the seabed, visit tropical islands and fly high in the air on balloons always accompanied by his faithful dog, Salty (a Hungarian Vizsla, whose real name is Scuzz).
 Bernard Cribben said: “I’ve filmed in a lot of locations throughout my career, but there’s something about the sea air, the beauty and the friendliness in Staithes that makes it a special place to be.”
 The producers added: “Staithes is a wonderful backdrop to the series and we have retained its name as we wanted the programme to feel rooted in a real place. Every story that Old Jack tells begins with the words , “Once upon a twinkly time The Rainbow set off from Staithes, waved goodbye to Whitby and headed off over the horizon…”

Staithes' ageless jigsaw of houses

The cobbled main street makes Staithes a perfect 1930s location
Boats in Staithes' harbour: not Old Jack's though!

Dunsley Cottage, Chapel Yard

Monday, 8 September 2014

Fabulous heather season

From its position on the edge of the North York Moors national park, Staithes and Dunsley ( are perfectly placed for easy access onto the moors. The heather display is always worth seeing: our moors are the largest expanse of heather moorland in the United Kingdom. This year, it is particularly good, due to lots of warm weather that has created an incredible growing season on all levels. This photo was taken this week from Blakey Ridge, of the view into Farndale. It's a 20 minute drive from Dunsley, and there are some really good walks from here. Options include easy strolls along the disused railway line around the heads of Rosedale and Farndale (with refreshments at the Lions Inn on Blakey Ridge, the highest pub in England), or more strenuous hikes into and across the valleys. My book - North York Moors, Freedom to Roam - outlines several in this area; there is a copy in Dunsley's bookshelf.
 The heather will last well into September this year, so there's still a chance to enjoy the purple glory!