Whitby has a celebrated landmark known as the 199 steps. They link the east town to the east cliff top where you can find St. Marys (the Parish Church) with its extensive old graveyard and the nearby remains of Whitby Abbey, an English Heritage site.
The steps have a practical purpose- by road from the Town to the church is a very long winded route and there are resting places along the ascent for the coffin bearers (now convenient benches breaking up the climb).
We climbed it last Sunday and both Grandma Pat and I were pensive, Pat having asthma and me having my knee trouble. Surprisingly, however, the steps were in excellent condition, rather shallow and with the frequent rest benches so we managed without too much trouble.
I noticed as we climbed that the steps were numbered, every 10th step (or so it seemed) had a small metal disc engraved with roman numerals. CXCIX surpassed, we visited the abbey and returned again.
Beside the stairs is a track known as Donkey Road, so steep at the base that it has steps set into the side of it. Ironically, I was overtaken by Donkeys on a staircase leading from the beach when the tide came in later that week…
The top of the cliff can wait for another blogpost. I found an article about the refurbishment of the stairs here.