"It is a most noble ruin..."

Whitby Abbey

This is Whitby Abbey, perched high on the East Cliff overlooking the harbour in this picturesque North Yorkshire fishing town. Although the current building dates back to the 13th century, there were monastic buildings on the site as early as 657 AD. The building has deteriorated over the centuries, but further substantial damage was wrought by the German High Seas Fleet when Whitby was shelled in 1914 during the First World War.

But Whitby has a further claim to fame. After he visited the town in 1890, Bram Stoker was inspired to write his great novel, Dracula. The title of this blog is a quote from chapter 6 where he describes the abbey, town and harbour, and in chapter 7 there is the account of how the schooner 'Demeter' which sailed from Varna, somehow reaches the harbour in a furious storm ladened with "only a small amount of cargo, a great number of wooden boxes filled with mould". The ship's crew are all missing, and the captain is dead, strapped to the wheel, but "an immense dog sprang up on deck from below... and running forward, jumped from the bow on the sand". And so, Dracula arrives! (Bram Stoker's Dracula, Ch. 7).

I wanted to try to create a little of the dramatic nature of that night in this image (although it was taken during the day) and used this passage from ch.7 as my inspiration...

To add to the difficulties and dangers of the time, masses of sea-fog came drifting inland. White, wet clouds, which swept by in ghostly fashion, so dank and damp and cold that it needed but little effort of imagination to think that the spirits of those lost at sea were touching their living brethren with the clammy hands of death, and many a one shuddered at the wreaths of sea-mist swept by.

Oh, and on a lighter note, Whitby serves some of the best fish and chips in the country!