It’s Thursday 26th April 18 and after a great night’s rest and breakfast at the wonderful Leeway Hotel, Scarborough, it’s time for me and Dave Evans to walk the penultimate leg of our 4 day coastal walk in North Yorkshire. Today we are walking the small section from Scarborough to Filey, before I catch my train home back down South. Dave however is staying up for a few more days to visit friends in Pickering.

Scarborough has had a very troubled past over the years and has long been an important gateway to north-east England. It was reportedly founded around 966 AD as Skarðaborg by Thorgils Skarthi a Viking raider, although there is no archaeological evidence to support these claims and recently this has been questioned. An alternative Anglo-Saxon derivation for the name Scarborough as ‘the hill with the fort’ has been suggested. In the 4th Century there was a Roman signal station here and there is evidence of earlier Stone Age and Bronze age settlements. For many years rival bands of Viking raiders fought over it, namely, Tosti (Tostig Godwinson), Lord of Falsgrave, and Harald III of Norway. Scarborough was also devastated in 1066 when it was attacked by Harald Hardrada, King of Norway who sought to claim the throne of England. His fleet arrived off Scarborough in September 1066 and, when he met stiff local resistance, occupied the headland and bombarded the town below. The settlement may have been completely destroyed as Scarborough disappeared from the historical record for the next century and very little remained to be recorded in the domesday survey of 1085. Hardrada himself was defeated and killed at the Battle Of Stamford Bridge in 1066 by king Harold.In 1318, the Scots burnt the town under Sir James Douglas following the capture of Berwick upon Tweed and the castle changed hands seven times between Royalists and Parliamentarians during the English Civil War of the 1640s, enduring two lengthy and violent sieges, following the civil war, much of the town lay in ruins. During the First World War the town was bombarded by the German warships Derfflinger and Von der Tann.  During that short period over 500 shells rained down on the town and castle, an act which shocked the British.  So I think it’s fair to say that Scarborians have had their fair share of troubles over the years.

Scarborough is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast and is dominated by the rocky headland that supports the 11th-century ruins of Scarborough Castle. This same promontory divides the seafront into two bays, north and south, but the south side is the site of the original medieval settlement and harbour. The south side, “Old Town”, remains the main tourist area, with cafés, amusements, arcades, theatres and entertainment facilities.  The north side has traditionally been the more peaceful end of the resort.