Sunrise, Seagulls and Sealife

As usual, we got up at 7.30am and got ready to go down for breakfast. The weather forecast had told us that Storm Barra was on the way and to expect very strong winds and torrential rain later on, around one o’clock. Today we planned to visit the Sea Life centre, which Google maps told us was 1.7 miles away.

As we took our usual table in the dining room, the sky looked clearer so we were able to get some sunrise photos, as well as a couple of gulls who had landed on the roof outside the dining room, as the proprietor said she often feeds them.

We enjoyed another substantial full English breakfast, then discussed how we would get to the Sea Life centre; we could catch a bus, but that would mean waiting around in the cold. We could take the car, but that could mean that we lost our convenient parking spot outside the hotel. As the weather still looked OK, we opted to walk – at least it would be some good exercise in the brisk sea air.

In fact, it was a very pleasant walk and we enjoyed it a lot. Of course, it was freezing, but we were well wrapped up and there was a great zig-zagging path down the side of the cliff along the sea shore.

As we walked along, we could see the distant Scarborough Castle, and we passed a long row of colourful beach huts for hire; needless to say, none were doing any business. We also came across a sculpture of a man sitting on a bench; a nearby plaque explained it was a statue of Freddie Gilroy, created by sculptor Ray Lonsdale.

Freddie Gilroy was a former soldier who participated in the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and the sculpture depicts him sitting on a bench in his old age. Gilroy was a friend of the sculptor and Lonsdale made the piece partly as a tribute to him, but also as a wider war and Holocaust memorial. Originally intended to sit on the seafront as a 4-week loan in 2011, a local resident donated money to purchase the sculpture for the town.

Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers

We continued on our way, arriving at the Sea Life Centre just before 11.00am, when we were booked in. As we made our way through the car park and round to the entrance, a friendly grey tabby cat darted out from between the parked cars and came over to us, tail held high. She rubbed around our legs and purred loudly, and nearly followed us into the centre! We don’t know where she came from as there weren’t many houses nearby.

Inside the Sea Life Centre we put our Covid masks on and showed our tickets, then followed the one-way system around. It was wonderfully relaxing and calming, watching the colourful array of fishes and other sea creatures swimming around in their dimly-lit tanks to a background sound of soothing music. We were allowed to take photos as long as we didn’t use the flash, so I did exactly that.

Seahorse

As well as the indoor tanks, there were also outdoor areas in which we saw four seals being fed; you could also go in a tunnel under the seal pools so you could see them swimming around. Sea Life Scarborough has a seal sanctuary and hospital, and they rescue and rehabilitate injured or sick seals before releasing them back into the wild. Those seals that are never fit enough to return to the wild remain in the centre where they are well looked after.

We also saw some otters as well as Galápagos penguins, which we’ve actually been lucky enough to see in the wild, during our fantastic Galápagos cruise in 2017.

After we’d spent a couple of hours in the centre and seen everything we wanted to see, we decided to have a cup of coffee in the café before braving the elements once more. It still hadn’t started raining yet; knowing our luck it would start as we were making our way back to our hotel! 🙂

As we emerged from the Sea Life Centre into the cold once again, we decided we’d start walking back; at least the brisk walking would keep us warmer than if we’d been standing waiting at the bus stop. The wind had really increased in strength and we were walking into it, making it hard-going. When we reached the half-way mark, the rain started, stinging as the wind lashed the cold drops into my face. 😦

We decided we’d seek refuge in the first pub or café we came across, but we were practically back into the main town centre before we found anywhere, after a brief look into a large branch of the Boyes shop.

Afterwards, I spotted a shoe shop across the road and couldn’t resist having a look. It was one of those little independent shoe shops that sells unusual shoes and I was delighted to see that they were selling Irregular Choice, my favourite brand! 🙂

I found a fantastic nautical themed pair of wedge sandals, depicting a lighthouse, anchor, lifebelt and rope on the front, and blue and green sea waves decorating the wedge. They were in the sale and reduced to £45.00, so I just had to have them. As I took them to the counter to pay for them, the lady asked if I wanted to try them on; I couldn’t be bothered to take off my trainers and socks and, in any case, I know that IC size 37 always fit me, so I said it was OK. The lady was very patronising and said “Are you sure you’ll be able to walk in them, dear? The heel is very high”. Erm… she obviously doesn’t know me, as these shoes were actually pretty tame compared to some of the pairs I have. 😀

The shoebox was placed into a paper carrier, which I was worried would soon disintegrate in the filthy weather. However, we weren’t far from our hotel now, so Trevor took them and put them into the car, before decided to see if he could get some Scarborough seaside rock to take back as souvenirs for family members. 🙂

I decided I would get the drinks in and wait in the Golden Last for him to come back, rather than stay out in the wind and rain a moment longer.

Inside the pub it was as busy as ever; it seems it doesn’t matter what time of day or evening you go into this place, it’s always packed. Don’t any of the customers have work to go to? The only place I could find to sit was on a stool at the bar, so I took my place and ordered the drinks; a pint for Trevor and a glass of wine for myself.

Afterwards we decided to try the Turk’s Head pub up the road, which we had passed several times and which looked welcoming and cosy. We had one drink in there, looking out at the torrential rain running down the street outside; Storm Barra had well and truly kicked in now.

As we hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast, we opted to go to the Lord Rosebery again, so we zipped up our coats, pulled our hoods tightly over our heads, and ventured outside, where the wind nearly blew us off our feet and the rain pelted down. Whose mad idea was it to come to Scarborough in the winter months?! 😀

Inside Wetherspoon’s we chose a table right at the back, away from the door and the draught, and thankfully removed our wet coats. We used the app to order our meals and drinks; Trevor had a steak and jacket potato and I enjoyed a chicken and chipotle sauce wrap with a side-salad, washed down with some prosecco. We each had a chocolate brownie and ice cream for afters, accompanied by more drinks.

Half way through our meal, a large noisy group of people came in, obviously a works do, and they settled down at some tables adjacent to us, getting louder and more boisterous as the drinks flowed. As they finished their meals, someone thought it was clever to start chucking chips and peas about and several others joined in. As a stray garden pea bounced off my head, I shouted at them and got an apology. Shortly afterwards they left, but the poor barman had to come over with his Henry hoover to clear up the mess; vacuuming up all the chips and peas from all over the chairs and the floor.

We left the pub around 8.30pm to return to our lodgings; there was a documentary at nine o’clock about the sinking of the Costa Concordia that we wanted to watch, so we wanted to be back in time.

After the programme we went over the road to the Golden Last once again for a nightcap, then returned to the Mariners’ House for our final night in Scarborough. It had been a far cry from the Latvian Christmas markets break that we’d originally booked, but at least it was a few days away and a change of scenery. 😀

The guest house we stayed in

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