Saltwick bay is a little gem of a location on the North Yorkshire coast, situated just south of the fishing port of Whitby. It offers an abundance of photographic opportunities that are all compacted into a relatively small area.
The bay consists of a small sandy beach surrounded by high cliffs and flanked on either side by flat shale shelves. These shelves hold two local icons, ‘Saltwick Nab’ and the probably more well known, ‘Black Nab’.
The ‘Black Nab’ is situated on the southern shelf. It has a distinctive shape similar to that of a submarine coning tower and close to the base of this can be found the remains of the ‘Admiral Von Tromp’, a Scarborough based fishing trawler that ran aground in 1976 with the sad loss of two lives. There is an abundance of rocks in this area that offer interesting abstract compositions and you may also find ammonite fossils which this area is also famous for.
On the northern shelf you will find ‘Saltwick Nab’, a somewhat ‘breeching whale’ shaped rock prominence again surrounded by a shale shelf offering similar textured rocks, some of which have very bizarre patterns and deep grooves that seem almost unreal.
The Bay has another trump card up its sleeve though. The fact that it is North East facing makes it a very unique location because in the height of summer you can capture the sun rising and setting over the sea, quite novel considering you are on the east coast.
So, you could literaly spend all day here from dawn to dusk, tide permitting. Talking of which the location really need to be photographed with a falling tide, there is little beach available at high tide, and to get close to the ‘Back Nab’ and wreck site you need the tide to be almost at low water. Do not photograph the shelves or nabs on a rising tide, there is a real danger of being cut off by the tide. I use the tide tables here http://www.pol.ac.uk/ntslf/tides/?port=0174 but always consult your usual reliable tidal references.
Now, how to get there. The bay is located from Hawksker Lane which is the road that takes you to Whitby Abbey. From there turn left up the lane to Whitby Holiday Park and then park in the layby by the park entrance. To get down to the bay walk along the cliff top towards the holiday park and you will come across the path that leads down to the bay. This path can be quite muddy and slippery in places especially after wet weather so take care and wear good suitable footware.
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