Category Archives: Saltwick Bay

Gullible’s Travels to Saltwick Bay

Ever conscious that the blog is still getting neglected, I have decided to write an occasional piece on our travels.

The sun sets and rises in the sea at Saltwick Bay for a few weeks either side of the longest day, so this is a really good opportunity to capture a shot with the setting sun illuminating this spectacular scene. However a bit of research is needed as the access is limited by the tide, so consulting my tide tables revealed that there was a window of opportunity early this week. Add in the complication of needing the weather to cooperate and the window of opportunity closes even further. Looking at the weather forecast, I reckoned that Monday was a good bet and would still leave Tuesday and Wednesday if the weather didn’t play ball.

As I arrived in Whitby on Monday afternoon, the sky was clear and bright, then suddenly clouded over around 5.30. Still I headed over to the car park at the top of the cliff in the hope it would clear again. I’d brought my tent in order to be able to capture the sunrise the following morning, so had about 30kgs of kit to lug down the cliff path. Once the tent was pitched, I was able to have a leisurely meal whilst relaxing to the sound of the crashing waves. Not a bad life really! Meal over and I met up with my good friend John Potter and his friend Keith Foster and we all had a good chat whilst waiting for the sunrise to happen. Considering how few opportunities there are each year to capture this scene, I was actually very surprised that we were the only photographers there that night. Last year I had to queue at the wreck!


Keith favoured a position on the slab rock to capture the sun just poking round the cliff, whilst John and I set up nearer the wreck. As 9 pm approached (Sunset at 9.40) things started to get interesting and we thought we were in for something special. The sky did get good for a while, but ultimately the afterglow failed to light up the sky, so the show was all over before 10 o’clock.


Show over and John returned to his camper van whilst I bedded down in my tent, with the remarkably loud noise of the crashing waves to lull me to sleep. It actually was quite soothing and sleeping on soft sand is quite comfortable, even so I didn’t actually sleep very soundly.


It rained overnight and 3.30am soon came around! Sticking my head out of the tent showed it was very dull, so I went back to sleep for another hour. It was still dull at 4.30, but I was awake by now so it was time for action. In the end I busied myself taking some long exposures which I am actually quite pleased with, so it was worth staying overnight after all.


Part of the reason for camping was to test my gear for more remote adventures, so I busied myself making porridge and coffee, both of which were a success. John had obviously decided to have a lie in and the sky was still dull, so it was time to break camp. Camping on sand may be comfortable, but the sand gets everywhere and it’s a nightmare to pack up both the sleeping bag and tent when they are full of sand. Lugging 30kgs of gear back up that hill didn’t fill me with a great deal of enthusiasm either!

All in all a moderate success and I’m now looking forward to my next camping trip.

Saltwick Bay Revisited

Saturday evening saw us take small but select groups to Whitby steps and Saltwick bay.

People often ask me why I keep returning to such a well photographed location as Saltwick, well the short answer is that the light is always different and there’s always a chance you might capture that stand out image.

We all met at the abbey car park on what looked a most un-promising evening having passed through heavy showers on the way over the Whitby moors. However by 7.30 the sky was clearing so we all made our way to our respective locations. Once on location I wanted to do something a bit different to the standard nab and wreck shots, so thanks to Jim for showing me the “muffins tops”, where we were greeted by some lovely light.

As the sunset approached we gravitated back towards the wreck and we were treated to an interesting sunset.

One thing I have learnt over the years is that if you are going to re-visit a location in the hope of improving on previous photographs, then it pays to study your previous efforts and noting how you should approach your new shots. This was something I failed to do this year and it’s resulted in me not getting in close enough to the wreck. A past mentor once said to us “If your photos aren’t interesting, then you’re not close enough” and he was right!

Last Wednesday evening saw a party of 10 photographers descend Saltwick Bay for the sunset. As we drove over towards Whitby the weather looked decidedly un-promising with gathering cloud and the prospect of a shower, but as we made our way to the wreck the sky was a bit overcast, but showing a bit more promise. With our party and quite a few other photographers making the most of this mid-summer opportunity we were almost into queuing for the best vantage points, but it all sorted out amicably.

Everyone spent a happy couple of hours snapping away, but as 9.30 approached the sky looked a little dull and it looked unlikely that we would get a good sunset, then unexpectedly just on sunset the sun broke through a gap in the clouds and shone out beyond the Nab and the sky just lit up! Suddenly it was just like the paparazzi had landed! All you could here was the chatter of shutters firing! 10 minutes later it had faded, but everyone went away happy they had waited around for the final act. There’s nothing more galling than seeing a great sunset in your rear view mirror as you drive home!

Colin, Helen, Richard, Eddie, Tim and John all waiting for the light! Photograph by Colleen Nicoll

Just after the sun went down the sky turned a glorious red.