The bus from York to Scarborough is double-decker. On the trip out, almost every seat was filled, because it was mid-morning on a fairly sunny day during Easter break; excited children bounced up and down and teased each other and ate crisps. Riders on the upper level were treated to occasional scrapes of the bus roof against tree branches; it also gave the best (hair-raising) views of tight corner turns on the narrow country roads. Scarborough beach
In fact, since this York Coastliner bus often leaves the main highway to pick up and deposit passengers in the small towns along the way, skillful maneuvering is required, as well as a certain aggression when re-entering a stream of traffic which is not interested in giving way. All in all, we arrived at Scarborough about twenty minutes late, largely because the last ten minutes into town were spent following a tractor uphill.
We felt closer to the farmyards from a bus than in a speeding train. Everything in England is free range; donkeys, cows, goats, horses, sheep and pigs, with brown hens running around dodging everybody else's feet. This is lambing time (as we heard recently from a cousin in Missouri) and the cute little black and white critters were gamboling about. There were lots of twins. We passed the turnoff to Thirsk, where James Herriot placed the events of All Creatures Great and Small.
Leaving the flat Ouse Valley around York, we found some gently rolling hills, with here and there a mysterious monument or tower in the distance, and occasionally a stately home, with perhaps a Lord or Lady of the Manor in residence. One intriguing sign pointed to the site of Wharram Percy Medieval Deserted Village. The names of the nearby villages seem fictional: Scagglethorpe, Stockton-on-the-Forest, Pocklington. Side by side with the ancient are the modern creations, including an immense factory (pork packing house?) near the area of most pigs, and a golf course where the rough was really rough -- large clumps of gorse surrounding the fairways. Grand Hotel, Scarborough
Scarborough itself resembles all the other towns of its size that we have visited, with several pedestrian-only shopping streets, a thriving indoor shopping mall with two floors of stores, a number of pubs and cafes. In the Tourist information center were racks of literature on scenic walks, shopping walks, circular walks, ghost walks, seaside walks, hillside walks, history walks, agricultural walks . . . We were already on foot, though. Just a few blocks beyond the railroad station and bus stop was the esplanade along the beach front. The dark brown sandy beach was uncrowded, but there are signs that furious activity will be commencing soon. Several horses were ready for beach riding, a motorized replica of a schooner was reaching port with its cargo of visitors, and the small amusement park was in action. There's a short funicular from the cliff top to the beach, and a host of large Victorian hotels. Dominating the landscape beyond the amusement park is the ruin of Scarborough Castle, home to Richard III.
Lunch was fish and chips in a beach cafe, where the locals enjoy coffee and scones. Overheard: "She was getting anemic, so they made her go to an ornithologist." No doubt a sapsucker is at fault.