18. Unique Skinningrove !
Part 1 Skinningrove village
Scenes of Cleveland, North East England
18.-19. Walking from Skinningrove to Cowbar via Boulby Cliffs on a coastal part of the Cleveland Way long distance footpath - but spend a little time imbibing the atmosphere and history of Skinningrove and the majesty of Boulby Cliffs.
In its later history Skinningrove was an important centre for ironstone mining and, with Loftus, associated with important alum quarries.
The view down to Skinningrove Harbour from the minor road from Loftus, what you see in terms of history is a settlement derived from a medieval fishing village, a farming community, redeveloped in the 16th and 17th centuries (buildings of orange-brown local sandstone) and finally the massive 19th century impact of the industrial growth of the mining and ironworks industries in the area. Historically Skinningrove is linked to the A174 connecting the ancient ports of Yam and Whitby. You can walk in both directions along the coast, but circular routes are awkward - though it is possible to return to Loftus or the Skinningrove turn-off via bus.
The now disused harbour facilities ending with the rusting iron bulwarks. Skinningrove is first mentioned in 1273 as 'Scinergreve', in 1301 as Skynnergreve and by 1579 Skynnyngrave, which is pretty close to its current name. The name is from Old Norse personal name Skinnari, meaning a tanner, i.e. a worker involved in leather production. The manor of Skinningrove belonged to the de Brus family of Skelton Castle then the Thwengs of Kilton Castle (xref - Kilton Beck which runs down the ravine in which Skinningrove is situated). By 19th C the lands were owned by the Earl of Zetland.
First a little saunter across the bridge to the west side of Skinningrove. Note the reddish-orange-brown colour of the rocks and water due to the presence of iron mineral compounds. In 1848 ironstone mining took off in a big way with the opening of the Loftus drift mines. Together with the growing railway connections bringing materials in, the ironstone was shipped out of Skinningrove, initially to Tyneside blast furnaces and later to ironworks in Middlesbrough and County Durham - the small 'medieval' fishing and farming community drastically changed in appearance!
One of the old fishing cobbles WY220 (once Whitby registered) and called THE REPUS now converted to a base for the wooden sculptured figures of fishermen.
Graffiti at Skinningrove
Above the old industrial jetty the waste slag from the old iron works that has eroded to look like natural sedimentary rock cliffs.
Looking across Skinningrove harbour south-east to the high cliffs of Boulby - the dark silhouette in the distance.
The old jetty from whose Staithes materials were transported in and out of Skinningrove via the bank in the foreground. This is sometimes called 'Skinningrove Pier' as well as 'Skinningrove Jetty'. The jetty has since been refurbished - see near end of page.
The Cleveland way heads north-west above the beach along the coast to Saltburn-by-the-Sea. along by Cattersty Sands.
Cattersty Sands beach northwest of Skinningrove jetty.
Cattersty Sands and Skinningrove jetty from Cattersty Viewpoint on the Cleveland Way
An old concrete blockhouse from World War II on Cattersty Sands beach
The cliffs above Cattersty Sands
The 'light coloured' building on the distant left is the ruins of the Guibal Fanhouse (details below)
Just further along from the Guibal Fanhouse on Green Turf, below Warsett Hill is an attractive iron sculpture reminding people of the ironstone mining heritage.
Views south-east and north-west from where the 'road' ran above the coastal track and down to the jetty.
Returning back past THE REPUS and further potter around Skinningrove - a unique place, I don't know anything else quite like it, it has character all of its own and well worth a visit! The story of THE REPUS is told on a plaque by the boat.
The Repus is a traditional fishing cobble that has been restored and fitted out with two carved figures as a memorial to all those lost at sea off the Grove - very simple, very beautiful and very fitting for the location - thanks lads! and the rest of the friendly people of Skinningrove.
A little saunter up the road brings you to some of the older buildings, which thankfully, have not been demolished. Above is one section of an L shaped lines of houses called STONE ROW some of which are Grade II listed buildings.
There doesn't seem to be too many holiday cottages and I believe there is strong local community spirit.
A fine looking very early 18th century Grade II listed building in Mill Lane, Skinningrove, now a pub and coffee house cafe called TIMMS, and was once a manor house (dated 1704 on the sun-dial).
Sheila's 'village' store is a fine building and, not exactly attractive, but the shop is as equally useful as the Beach Road Fisheries for a really good fish and chips!
THE POWER HOUSE of the CLEVELAND IRONSTONE MINING MUSEUM which is situated at the top of the Skinningrove road where it meets the Loftus - Skelton road.
Anyway, back down to the coast and walk to Boulby Cliffs.
Some of the still used cobbles and other fishing boats hauled up by tractors and parked between the river and the beach. The occupations of Skinningrove's inhabitants have ranged from fishing, agriculture, sandstone quarrying, ironstone mining, alum manufacture and not to mention the odd bit of smuggling!
Skinningrove Village below, Corus Steelworks above and note on the upper-left the sharp peak of a waste tip from the now defunct Liverton Mines. In 1600 Skinningrove was just a little fishing village and a manor house. By 1850, this was all changed, iron ore was mined in e.g. Liverton and Skinningrove Ironstone Mines and an iron works was in full production where the Corus Steel Plant is today - hence the curious 'rock' formations on the north-west cliffs.
The Corus Steel Plant can be seen above Skinningrove on top-left. This steelworks, sitting on Carlin How, has along industrial history, but what is its future in 2009? This picture is taken from looking down from the Cleveland Way footpath at the start of the stretch to Boulby Cliffs and Cowbar.
The wonderful coast walk can be pursued north-west if you so choose, but we head south-east for Boulby Cliffs. On the centre-left are the dark patches of the 'unnatural' cliffs formed from slag waste of the 19th century iron works.
The breakwater at Skinningrove, once a port and quay for shipping in or out materials to do with the iron works that once stood on top of the cliffs - part of which are made from slag from the iron making furnaces. Construction work is ongoing (October 2015) to improve the coastal defences.
The refurbished old industrial jetty - pier at Skinningrove
Thousands of tons of Norwegian granite has been dumped to protect the shoreline southeast of the Skinningrove jetty.
Looking landwards along the Skinningrove jetty.
Some old rusting pipes at the end of Skinningrove jetty.
Skinningrove 'bay' from the remnants of the industrial runway to the old jetty.
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