I’ll admit, half the reason I wanted to make the trip to Scarborough is because I love the song. I was so excited to start planning this trip! I figured out our dates and started in on the research. The first thing I did was start asking around for advice and recommendations……..
The advice was unanimous: don’t bother. Popular opinion seemed to be that it was old, rundown, and well past its heyday. No one seemed to think there was anything there worth visiting. Whitby, people said, is much better. More to see, more to do, better destination.
It actually turned out to be, at lease partially, great advise. We still went to Scarborough, but we also added a day in Whitby to out itinerary(which will be discussed in a later post). Now, I can see where some would be disillusioned with a trip to Scarborough: It is definitely vintage, which I personally love, but not everyone does. The downtown and immediate seafront area was not really anything special, and had a borderline rundown vibe to it. I did a LOT of additional research to make sure that the places we visited were going to be worth visiting, and we ended up with an incredible trip.
The castle is located up on a cliff, with breathtaking views out over the seaside, and just before the entrance is St Mary’s Church, where Anne Bronte is buried. We spent a lovely afternoon wandering the South Cliff Gardens, and went fossil hunting at Robin Hood Bay(NOT an easy walk down from the parking area, FYI). Finally, we visited the Scarborough Fair Collection, where they have a huge collection of rides and music cars from the original pop-up carnival, much of which still works. (There will be another post ALL about the Scarborough Fair Collection)
On to the photography. Here are some of my favorites from this trip:
Right at the top entrance to the South Cliff Gardens we found this beautiful clock tower. Now, it would be easy to simply walk up to it and snap a photo, and it would still look beautiful, but it wouldn’t be the most interesting photo in the world. In order to engage a viewer you have to do more than document the things you see, you have to create a composition that invites the viewer to stop and stay a while. In this case, leading lines maintain the focus on the clock tower itself, but by placing it way off to the side I am allowing the you to see the context the tower exists within, rather that only being able to focus on the tower. The benches along the walkway make a viewer want to step into the photo and see the view from those seats, while the fact that there is no one already in the picture suggests it will be a peaceful experience, a suggestion that is accentuated by the soft morning light.
This is one of my favorite pictures from this trip. To me, this is everything I think about when I envision a quintessential British beach. The stone walls, and the array of colors on the doors(even though they are doors on a single building instead of the traditional huts), even the overcast skies just scream vintage Britain to me. The truth is, I could analyze this photo to death, but at the end of the day, it has the single most important, and most elusive, element that a photo can have: I just LOVE to look at it. It draws me in and takes me back to the moment I took it and the experience of being in that place and in that time.
I am enough of a book nerd that I could not possibly pass up an opportunity to visit Anne Bronte’s grave, and once I was there I had to take a picture. The headstone itself is beautiful, and the light was perfect to give that soft contrast.
The second picture stands in direct contrast to the first, even though I found them in almost the same place. I happened to notice the street sign right next to the break in the wall. I don’t think the walkway even actually leads down to the beach, but the imagery was just so fitting. Its that little peek at paradise and the sign that just so happened to be perfectly placed to lead you to it. It gives you the feeling of being on the outside looking in at something that either you want and can’t have, or at the very least haven’t gotten to yet.
And then we have Scarborough Castle itself. Of course it is mostly ruins, which can be very difficult to photograph. The problem with ruins is that they are often spread over a site in a way that makes it almost impossible to properly convey the grandeur of the structure that originally stood there. Instead, you often have to find bits and pieces that hint at it. In the first picture, what fascinated me is that the structure in the foreground is the remains to a chapel, but it is so basic and, well, underground, that when I first walked up to it I was expecting the sign to say it was used as a jail or dungeon. I also liked that you could see hints of the view out over the sea, and the bright sky overhead. The second picture is the keep section of the original castle, which was substantially less imposing in real life, but you can sort of fake it by getting a low angle and looking up at it to make it look larger and more towering. The almost full silhouette helps to add to that affect.