Robin Hood Bay
Large bay bordered by steep cliffs and therefore a common occurrence in this area where the North York Moors national park meets the North Sea. The combination of the moors and cliffs and the sea provide stunning natural beauties in this area and Robin Hood Bay is a jewel within this richness. If this wouldn´t be enough the little fishing village – to be precise: former fishing village, nowadays it is mainly a tourist attraction – at the centre of the bay adds extra charm. Small fancy houses cling together at the steep flanks of the hill along a narrow and fairly steep street that leads down to the little harbour. Despite the small size of the town you´ll find plenty of restaurants and shops, most of them set up to please visitors and tourists.
According to the legends the Bay (and town) is named after a story of Robin Hood encountering French pirates who came to pillage the fisherman's boats and the northeast coast. The pirates surrendered and Robin Hood returned the loot to the poor people in the village that is now called Robin Hood's Bay. The existence of Robin Hood is still not confirmed though.
What is confirmed, that Norwegians and Danes played a major role in settling the area around the year 1000. The town also has a big “tradition” of smuggling mainly in the late 18th century when mainly alcoholics from the continent where shipped here tax free. Besides smuggling fishing had been the main source of income until the end of the 19th century.
The bay is completely submerged at high tide but at low tide large parts of it fall dry. Then there is a mixture of flat rocks – the so-called Scars that define the whole coast in the area – and sandy patches. The scars in the middle of the bay and the ones at the cliffs can transform North Sea swells into surf-able waves. But surfing here is a tricky thing, as small changes in the tides alter the waves in very short times due to the flat reefs. The bay is nevertheless worth visiting during winter storms when the high cliffs to the north give some well needed protection from the wind while big swells bring alive some exciting waves.
Up on the – caution: very unstable – cliffs runs the “Cleveland Way” trail that follows the coast and runs for about 110 miles (177 km) between Helmsley and the Brigg at Filey, skirting the North York Moors National Park. This trail offers very nice views on the bay.
For more impressions check the galleries (Robin Hood Bay gallery and pictures from a stormy January 2017)